Where did you serve and what did you do?
I served in Iraq in 2004-2005 as a part of the C7 (Corps Level Engineers) Our company was responsible for the Mine & Explosive Ordnance Center. I worked as the US Military Liaison with NGO’s doing explosive clearance operations, an Instructor for the Explosive Hazards Awareness Team that traveled throughout the theater training coalition forces how to deal with the TTPs of the IED threat. I also had the opportunity to work with Trailblazers and the fielding and training they had with the MRAP Equipment in order to conduct counter IED operations.
Tell us how your dog is helping you continue #StillServing in your community.
My Service Dog JJ has helped me continue to stay active in our State School Counseling Association, serve as an active moderator for a Veterans only group for our state, I also continue to volunteer and testify at state legislative hearings to advocate for Veteran’s rights whenever possible. I am a Life Member of both VFW and DAV.
Why do you do it?
I still stay active because can still serve. For almost a decade after returning from Iraq I stayed extremely isolated. I didn’t realize that there had been anything different than any other Veteran returning home. I didn’t have any visible injuries but eventually found out I had had Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD/CTSD which was slowly putting my life into a downward spiral of isolation and depression leading to multiple attempts at ending it and me resigning my commission. JJ was part of my team along with the VA, my family, and my brothers (fellow veterans) that have allowed me to begin finding a way to still serve. JJ has become that constant guardian to look out for me and help me realize that I am in the here and now and things are ok.