Go to triangular compass
Left arrow

Row Your Ocean: Part 1

Active Military
Active Military
Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
September 4, 2019
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on Linkedin
Copy Link

Stay Up to Date on American Grit

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

It was right before Memorial Day this past year that I found out. I'd applied to be part of the Fight Oar Die rowing team, a group of all U.S. veterans who were undertaking the task of rowing a 28-foot carbon fiber boat across the Atlantic Ocean. The 2018 team had been successful in their venture, getting across in 54 days 9 hours and some odd minutes. Just before Memorial Day, I found out I'd be part of the team.Why did I feel the need to do this thing? This unfathomable feat? I guess the simple answer would be the most honest. I still felt I needed to prove something. To myself, to wasn't just enough to exist anymore, I had to thrive and go bigger until I'd made my point.What point? The point that if you fight back against your pain, against whatever demons that you brought home from war, the loss, the survivor's guilt, the physical wounds...whatever it was...if you fought back and worked towards living a happy, or even fulfilled could do it. I mean hell if I could do it, you can too.I am above all else, average. And there is a reason I'm sharing all of this with you. See, I was an average high school student, an average Marine, an average athlete in college (if even that), but I was an exceptional worker...when I wanted to be.In 2015, everything from my four years in the Marine Corps came to a boiling point. I missed my friends, I felt like I could have done more to keep them from dying, felt like I'd failed at being a man, a Marine, and a brother to those we'd lost, couple that with the difficulties of finding a job even after I'd graduated with my undergraduate degree...I'd had treatment several times, but I always...kept it on the surface and convinced myself that I was fine.Until in October 2015, Jon Jones, Tyler Vaughn, and Neil Frustaglio had to keep me from taking my own life.For the next two years, I struggled with depression and still finding a career. I felt like a robot and a useless one at that. Had I endured everything in life up until this point to just keep going through the motions enduring the pain? Until...I made a decision that altered everything in my life. I went, with a mild death wish to Hurricane Harvey. While in college I'd obtained credentials as a Swiftwater rescue technician at the local Volunteer Fire Department in McQueeny, TX and I wanted to help as much as I could, even if it killed me.I was still depressed and angry and bearing guilt that wasn't mine to bear. So I quit my job and went to Houston, figuring that if I died there, nobody would know that I was still wishing for death, they'd see me as brave and courageous and my family and friends wouldn't know my secret shame.I figured if I died saving someone, that maybe it'd make up for my inability to save my brothers in Iraq. It'd make up for my perceived impotence as a Marine.Something different happened, but I'll leave that for Part 2. (spoiler alert, I'm obviously still here, so don't get worried).

send a letter to congress
Adds section
Next Up
No items found.