I knew I wanted to be a Marine by the time I was 16.
I was inspired by my uncle, who was a door gunner in Vietnam for two tours. He never really talked about it, but I always knew how proud he was to be a Marine. People told me that I couldn't or wouldn’t join -- but that only made me more determined.
So, on the afternoon of the day after my 17th birthday, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. That day happened to be September 11, 2001.
I was deployed to southwest Afghanistan in 2004 and served as a radar repairman with ballistic missile defense. It was there, just outside of Kandahar, where I injured my back for the first time.
Then, I was accepted into the competitive Marine Security Guard School and served as a guard at American embassies across the world -- throughout that time, my back was injured again and again. I also acquired severe insomnia from shift work and survived a sexual assault that made me feel isolated.
These injuries left me in constant pain. Along with experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, I endured some of the darkest times in my life.
But soon, I found an opportunity that gave me hope.
I took a position at DAV (Disabled American Veterans), an organization that empowers disabled veterans and their families to lead their lives with the full range of benefits available to them. Today, I serve as a National Service Officer, where I get to draw on my own experiences to help other disabled veterans with their recovery, through compassion and empathy.
In this work, I have seen firsthand how President Obama's efforts to serve veterans have made an impact. I appreciate his actions to ensure that the backlog of disability claims and appeals gets addressed. And I personally saw the number of mental health professionals increase in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Addressing mental health for veterans still needs work, but it's better than it was.
That's why I'm proud to welcome President Obama at the Disabled Veterans Convention today in Atlanta, Georgia, where he'll speak about the progress we've made for veterans and the ways we can continue expanding opportunities for our service members, veterans, and their families. I hope you'll watch along with me at 1:35 pm Eastern.
I feel that I've survived what I've survived for a reason: to learn that my real strength comes from helping others. I absolutely love that I get to wake up every day and help change people's lives. Not many people can say that.
Thanks for listening,
National Area Supervisor at DAV
National Area Supervisor at DAV
|A Amazônia precisa de você! Sabia que o Rio Tapajós, lar do povo indígena Munduruku e de milhares de espécies de animais, está gravemente ameaçado pela construção de hidrelétricas? O governo quer construir 43 usinas na região.|
A principal delas poderá destruir diretamente cerca de 400 km² de floresta,acabando com o modo de vida das populações tradicionais e afetando animais já ameaçados de extinção ou até mesmo ainda não classificados pela ciência.Não deixe que isso aconteça! Você pode nos ajudar assinando esta petição para que o governo não destrua o coração da Amazônia. Temos pouco tempo, mas não podemos desistir! Acompanhe e mostre o seu apoio às florestas e aos povos do Brasil.
|As informações coletadas pelos meios acima descritos em hipótese alguma serão vendidas ou compartilhadas com quaisquer outras instituições, empresas ou pessoas. Somente funcionários autorizados do Greenpeace têm acesso a essas informações. Nenhum dado é divulgado, seja em nosso site, seja em nossas publicações, sem que tal possibilidade seja devidamente explicitada no momento de seu fornecimento. Mesmo no caso das seções onde é prevista a divulgação de mensagens, somente o nome e a localidade do remetente são divulgados, não sendo expostos dados como endereços, físico ou de e-mail, ou telefones de contato.|