David B. Pelley served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983 to 2006 and retired as a first sergeant.
He was stationed all over the United States, first in Florida at Cecil Field, then in Knoxville, Tennessee, and finally in California. Pelley participated in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991, was a Marine Corps drill instructor from 1992 to 1994 and completed his service in Quantico and Norfolk, both in Virginia, between 1995 and 2006.
Pelley now lives in Gilbert, South Carolina, where he is #StillServing as a VFW member-at-large.
After retiring from the Marines in 2006, he became a JROTC instructor at a local high school.
“Working as an instructor was rewarding. It was especially great to see young men and women go out and make a life for themselves, either in college, the workforce or the military,” he said.
In 2019, Pelley decided it was time to go back to college himself.
“I attained a Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling and turned my attention toward our military members and first responders, who are struggling with anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS),” he said.
Pelley works at Crossroads Counseling in Lexington, South Carolina, assisting clients with a variety of cognitive disorders.
“In addition to my work there, I’m an intern in Charleston, South Carolina, working with ketamine and veterans,” he said. “Ketamine is a Schedule III drug, which means it has some limited medical use. As a ketamine-assisted psychotherapist (KAP), I have seen remarkable changes in clients who suffer with depression, anxiety or PTS.”
Pelley says that his attention is now fully devoted to helping veterans and first responders with their mental struggles.
“By working with a therapist or seeking other support, individuals can change their lives for the better,” he said.
Pelley recently started a group in his town called Lexington Leathernecks and Friends. Anyone, not just veterans, can attend meetings.
“The purpose of this group is to connect individuals who are not getting out or engaging with friends or who feel as if they have no way to meet others,” Pelley said. “Social interaction and connections have been my key takeaway from starting the Leathernecks. I look forward to these meals just as much as the next person.”