Have you ever heard the saying, “Pain can fuel your passion?” I love this quote for many reasons, mostly because it shows GRIT.
Sometimes life punches us square in the mouth, and if we are mentally unprepared, the pain can derail us. It’s how we handle that pain that makes us who we are.
At 23 years old, I felt untouchable. My enlistment with the Army was ending, and I was going to be free again, living as a civilian.
During my four-year enlistment, I had the privilege to be involved in many historic events and attend many specialized schools, which left me feeling very significant while in uniform. With my experiences, and position in the Army I assumed transitioning into the civilian world would not only be smooth, but a breeze.
I returned home to Grand Rapids, Michigan and got right to work…washing windows.
You see, one of the most influential men in my life, Chris Fisher, owned a cleaning company that I worked for prior to my enlistment which he allowed me to return to. I was very thankful, and felt very insignificant.
Over the next nine years, I really struggled with post-traumatic stress and transition. During this time, I lost a home to foreclosure, had multiple cars repossessed, struggled to hold onto a job, and was in financial ruins. I heavily abused prescription drugs, drank too much, was malnourished and sick.
My silver lining during this time: Is that I married my best friend Tara, who held everything together for our family.
My wife is the most humble, gritty woman you’ll ever meet. She has been dragged through so many tough years in her life, and yet remains so faithful, loving and unbelievably strong. Tara deserves ALL the credit for keeping our family together during those difficult years, and yet all the attention was on me. She is the unsung hero— my hero.
THREE WISE MEN
In 2013, I met three men who I grew to really respect: Jason West, Dee Hutchins and Chris Estes. These men were driven, successful, humble, great husbands and fathers, financially stable, and equally important: these men were givers.
They started breathing life into my wife and I as they encouraged us to climb. Over the next five years, our family began to grow as people. We took our personal development, health, spiritual life, and finances seriously. We intentionally surrounded ourselves with people better than us, and we learned.
I will forever be thankful to these three men for being the leaders and mentors they are to me.
VETGR IS BORN
What was the defining moment in my life that allowed me to grow? It is a very simple answer: when I found significance and purpose.
I found what truly made me feel again, and that was helping people become the best they can be.
Tara and I wanted to do something that would continue impacting lives even after we are gone. We wanted to create a place where veterans, first responders, and their families could come and feel respected, valued, and heard. We wanted to help veterans find their true significance and purpose again as they transitioned back into civilian life.
We also wanted to create the very best in veteran services, where veterans and their families would be treated like the heroes they truly are. We wanted to provide presidential treatment for all of our guests, where nothing would be spared; a place where our veterans are finally treated like royalty.
We are proud to say we have done it.
Have a question for us? Send it to info@VetGR.org and we will answer it live on Facebook Thursday at noon.