I have always been focused on sports; especially football. As a high school football player, I took pride in being a team member of a championship team. After highschool, I walked onto the Darton College football team and received a scholoarship. Sadly, my lack of focus and discipline as a student caused me to fail at football; I just couldn't make the grades because I was more focused on having fun than being a serious student.
After dropping out of college, I made a life altering decision to join the Marines. I became a Corporal squad leader of a regimental combat team, in support of Operation Iraqui Freedom II. As a combat soldier, I was involved in numerous enemy improvised explosive device attacks, small arms ambushes, and indirect fire attacks; a bomb actually blew up 5 feet away from me. Thankfully, God kept me safe and allowed me to become the acting Platoon Sergeant after my Platoon Commander was wounded.
During a 3-day period I led my men through 2 significant enemy attacks. God gave me courage and the leadership skills to lead my marines in the successful evacuation of 12 casualties from the platoon. As a result of my actions, I was awarded with Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a Commendation from the United States Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy.
After returning to civilian life, I found myself becoming very distressed by many things that reminded me of the war; I startled easily, couldn't sleep well, had flashbacks and a lot of unresolved anger. At the time, I did not know I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I had no way of coping with my feelings; resulting in 10 arrests for fighting and disorderly conduct in a 3-year period. I went from being a hero to being a criminal; my life was out of control.
By God's grace, the military sent me to a 6-months rehabilitation program that helped me address the anger issues and alcohol problems in my life. I still have symptoms of PTSD, but now I have coping skills and maintain a well-balanced life. After becoming clean an sober, I was able to walk onto the Valdosta State Varsity Football Championship Team; this time I was a changed man. I earned a BA in Kinesiology, and in 2012 I became a COGI Certified Personal Trainer. Now, after all of my failures, my life has turned completely around-- I am the high school Defensive Co-ordinator Coach for football and Coach of the the track team in Perry, FL. I am living proof that you can change your life and achieve your dreams. It is my honor to help others achieve their dreams in life and fitness.