A Warrior’s Voice is brought to you by Operation Enduring Warrior, an organization dedicated to honoring, empowering, and motivating wounded veterans. Back in October of 2012, I was enduring my injuries sustained from an RPG, finalizing a divorce, struggling with depression and PTSD. I had a hard time seeking help from anyone to cope with the stress. In March of 2016, I wanted to get back into obstacle course racing and various marathons in hopes that fitness would be some sort of motivation for me. I came across Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW) during the All-American Marathon packet pickup. The former president of OEW, Scott Blough, confronted me as I walked by the vendors and told me about the organization. During our conversation, I told him the story of my unit being ambushed outside of a village, myself being hit by a RPG and medevac’d off the battlefield. I shared with him the struggles of being home and suffering from survivor’s guilt, PTSD and TBI. Until meeting Scott and OEW, I felt that no one cared to listen to me. Since being introduced to OEW I have learned ways to empower myself and to realize that there are others just like me. In them I have found a brotherhood I never knew existed beyond the military.
Scott then invited me to meet with a few adaptive athletes after the race, Earl Granville (last week’s featured story) being the first one I met. I did not realize that one organization could have such a huge impact on someone who has suffered through so much. I was immediately convinced and started the program. My first race was the Fort Benning Spartan Sprint. It was amazing to know that others would not leave you behind and have nothing but motivation and dedication to help you along the way. For my second OCR, I was asked to be an honoree at the Ultimate Challenge Mud Run outside of Columbia, SC. It was motivating to be in the spotlight of everything with others like me while being honored and cheered on for your sacrifice. Having my brothers and sisters of the organization are enriching in my life. I do not believe in free handouts; only that having each other holds more value than materialistic things. My wife also supports OEW as it has made a tremendous impact in her life. I have also motivated and caught the interest of my family members. Since being with the organization for the last year, I have participated in outreach to a few colleges such as UNCW and CrossFit organizations such as Evolution Athletic. I am working on various projects to increase awareness for OEW, such as an adaptive athlete CrossFit program and campus program to help raise money to honor, empower and motivate the beneficiaries of this great organization.