Inspiring Veterans to Greatness
While recovering from life threatening congestive heart failure and a severe injury to my C-spine incurred while deployed to Ramadi Iraq, I had no idea if I would ever live a normal life again. My heart was damaged and I was in constant pain from the compression of my spinal cord in my neck and upper back. I sometimes struggled to walk and spent days in my bed or on my couch. I was deeply depressed and dealing with a broken body and spirit. But being a Marine meant that I was never alone even if I thought I was. I was surrounded by Marines. My friends, my nurse care manager and recovery care coordinator. There were Marines at the rehab clinic. There were Marines at my pain management clinic. There were Marines at my PTSD group. Marines and soldiers, sailors and airmen were all around me and all of them were struggling too.
I began to get inspired by the double amputees learning to run again. I was inspired by the Wounded Warriors that were out starting businesses and writing books about their experiences in war. I was inspired by the veterans at the paraolympics and the Wounded Warrior games and by how they were excelling despite injuries that were devastating. I was inspired by the older veterans mentoring the younger ones through their nightmares and flashbacks and by the families fighting to make a new life out of the shredded remains of their old one. I decided to find a way to move forward in a dramatic way that would inspire others the way I was inspired. I decided that a world record was the way to do it. I looked for something I was capable of yet demanding enough that it would be a reach. It finally came down to riding a jet ski across the Atlantic Ocean and then my journey really began.