I remember when the idea for this book was presented to me by a good friend. I remember where I was and the thoughts that raced through my mind. Helping fellow veterans in need has always been on my mind; however, the manner in which I could help evaded me. Once the foundation of The Fire Within was placed at my feet it clicked---this book is going to help change someone’s life for the better.
I grew up in Helena Montana, a great place to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible.
Hunting all over the state, backpacking through the remote Bob Marshall wilderness, and fishing glacial lakes for cutthroat trout. I graduated high school in 2005 and knew I wanted to join the Marine Corps. After two combat deployments to the Sandbox (Iraq) and four years of service, I came home to Montana. Attempting to embed myself in college, the itch to stay on the move had not subsided. In 2010 the world of security contracting appealed to me enough to join up with the ranks and has been my life for the past seven years. In between those years I picked up mountain climbing after summiting Kilimanjaro (19,341ft) in Africa with my soon to be wife Lyndsey in 2014, she’s a wildcat! Climbing has taken me to technical peaks in Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
I currently reside in Bozeman Montana with my beautiful fiancée, Lyndsey. She works as a Dental Hygienist, and I haven’t given up on the back and forth life of security contracting yet. I am continuing to work toward my BA in Business. My hope is that our stories in the book can reach as many in need as possible, as well as bring peace to whatever is troubling them.
AN EXCERPT FROM JAKE'S STORY
THE SOUNDS OF FURY
“INCOMING! EVERYONE STAY THE HELL INSIDE, STAY AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS, TAKE COVER, INCOMING!”
The whole sky started falling in on our heads as we dove for whatever cover we could find, either inside the half-finished brick house that made up our patrol base or outside, next to sandbags or concrete fixtures. We were hoping and praying that the next one wouldn’t draw a bead on the cover we decided to take as our asylum. I sat there for a few seconds with the world spinning on its head as I choked on chalk-like dust and tried to gather my hearing after the blasts. Wearing only shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops, the ensuing chaos erupted into a battle charge to throw on flak vests, Kevlar helmets and boots, followed by grabbing rifles and radios. The squad leaders still inside were sending Marines up on the rooftop to plus-up the augmented positions (positions only manned in combat situations). As I awaited placement on the rooftop our Lieutenant came rushing through the doorway with blood on his helmet and face. All I remember was a Marine asking our Lieutenant if we had casualties outside and how many, to which our Lieutenant responded with, “Yes, it’s a mess, everybody’s hit.”
The symptoms associated with PTSD are vast and varied. They can be anywhere from intrusive/unwanted memories, avoidance of the subject, hopelessness, changes in emotional reactions like irritability, aggressiveness or depression and even overwhelming shame or guilt. Many of the symptoms aren't visible at first, but later manifest into visible symptoms like alcohol and prescription drug dependency. Generally, you will not find us digging a chest deep fighting hole in the front yard while wearing dog tags as Hollywood would have you believe.