Growing up in a very patriotic family encouraged a deep love for our country and American values, I remember walking to lunch with friends in high school when the Twin Towers fell. A week after graduation, I enlisted in the Army and left for boot camp in Fort Benning, Georgia. While deployed in Iraq, I realized the actuality of war and the power of loyalty and brotherhood. On Jan. 24, 2007, I was shot in the chest by a sniper and sent home to recuperate. The only thing I could think of was “why am I here when my brothers are still there?” Two weeks later, I was back downrange to finish our remaining 10 months in Iraq.
When I returned home after deployment, I thought everything was going to be fine – I had this arrogant invincible feeling that was completely unnecessary stateside. Every stress back home seemed so petty compared to combat. In turn, I acted out almost like I wanted things to get out of hand. I’ll never forget the time my sister pulled me aside one night and asked where her brother had gone. I realized that I never really dealt with the things I endured while in active duty. I received the Purple Heart for my physical injuries but had no way of dealing with the aggravated invisible wounds I chose to ignore.
As a military vet, there is a perception of being weak if you seek treatment. There is no active outreach, no follow-up. In fact, it's sometimes perceived as career suicide for those currently enlisted - or those considering re-enlistment. Not to mention the difficulty in making a personal connection with doctors in the system. I finally found a doctor who was straightforward with me and treated my PTSD by being blunt and brutally honest. It was shocking how quickly I began to regain control of my life. I began to search for alternative ways to deal with the sometimes jarring transition back into civilian life.
We want Range 2.14 to be a warm, welcoming place and an easy step for any veteran to take on the path to recovery. We want you to be here, and we are with you every step of the way.