I had no intentions of contributing to this book as an author but rather as an editor. After reading/editing the stories from a few of these amazing authors there was literally a fire inside of me and I had to put pen to paper to get my thoughts recorded. That's how powerful this book is, I literally couldn’t resist getting these words out. I sent what I wrote to Mat (a brother I served with from 2004 - 2009) along with the edited stories and the decision was made to include my thoughts in this book - raw emotion at its finest.
Born in the wonderful suburbs of Chicago, I enlisted in the Army shortly after high school as a Scout (19D). Everyone has their reasons as to why they join military. Mine was selfish, I wanted to go to college and needed a way to pay for it. Little did I know that during my enlistment I would form bonds and relationships with my fellow soldiers that are stronger than I could have imagined. Those that I served with directly are forever my battles, my brothers.
After my time as an active duty soldier I transitioned to the Illinois National Guard and attended college. I double majored and graduated in 3 years. I approached college similar to the way I approached going on a mission overseas, I was there to do a job. I have a great job working for a technology company as a member of the sales team.
As a young man still in high school I lost my older sister to suicide. My family and I have since been very involved in supporting suicide prevention and awareness programs locally. It truly breaks my heart when I hear of soldiers who take their own life. Knowing the effects of suicide on the survivors first hand I've decided to donate to TAPS - Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. It's a great organization and I encourage you to take a look at their mission statement.
I still have a very militaresque way of thinking and approaching tasks and actions I need to complete at work and home. I learned a lot about what I was capable of accomplishing during my time in the military, I know I can do just about anything. Remember folks, failure is not an option.
I currently reside in Chicago with my amazingly talented and beautiful wife and daughter.