M-SPAN at Michigan Medicine

In 2007 I enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard I wanted to be the person to hopefully give back to my community in some capacity. I Enlisted and United States Marine Corps back in 2005 straight out of high school I call myself fall 2006 in Ramadi Iraq, I heard the Marine Corps was the toughest out there So, of course I had to go there. I had a degree in Middle East and North African Studies in Arabic. Nobody was interested I had nine hundred dollars a month in student loans and no job So Uncle Sam was kind enough to tell me that you know, I could sign up with him for four years and uh I was in for pretty rude awakening the military part hits you pretty much as soon as you step off the bus at boot camp and For me and the sacrifice part hits when you miss your first holidays with your family my first 20 months I spent a total three weeks home. I’m leaving in two days I don’t know if I’m going somewhere hot But I have to get on the plane and go men and women when they sign up to serve they don’t always know Exactly what they’re getting into Nobody tells you the horror of seeing a friend blown away Nobody tells you that you’re gonna have to haul a body for a quarter of a mile. Pick up body parts And put them in a bag Nobody tells you you’re gonna lose Friend It hit me like a ton of bricks interesting stressful absolutely tough Our job basically was to get him I went from feeling like I was 21 to 40. You never know What’s gonna happen in Murphy’s Law is a hell of a thing. It changes you to your core and we shot a missile and dropped a bomb on a Van like a I don’t know like a panel van and the door the Panel vans on fire the doors open up people start running. So you’re chasing them. You’re now flying around to kind of follow them to Shoot again, and there’s the driver with no legs. I mean he’s bleeding I bet you’re coming around so you can kill his buddies. You don’t even really think about it anymore You’re just you’re just doing it. It’s another day. Just another day. I was either shot at or mortared Every day I was there then you get about six months to a year out and then it’s holy shit. What did I do? when I came home from Afghanistan one of the more shocking experiences for me in my military experience was The fact that my daughter didn’t know who I was she was afraid of me My oldest daughter wrote this speech for Veterans Day My dad was deployed for three years now Then back to your school pictures three years ago Tell me nothing else changed That’s the true test of patriotism the sacrifice When you go into the military They take six eight ten twelve weeks to train you how to operate in that milieu You don’t get that same amount of training when you get out. One of our families has talked about this phenomenon often of Even when the parade is over Even when everyone else goes home I closed the door and war is still inside My home war is hell coming back isn’t much better Most people want to go back to small-town USA right wherever they joined They want to go home to you can’t go home Home is not the same as it was when you left and you’re not the same as you were when you left Your up here and the world is down here You don’t know what to do with yourself You can’t sit still you’re kind of putting on a scratchy sweater in the sense that you’re never really comfortable you take the uniform off and It’s something that you can’t prepare for you’re Crying yourself to sleep because you used to be so amazing and now nobody will look at you when you leave the service you’re atomized These military men and women are determined to take care of their business Unfortunately, they don’t really understand what that what what what they’re facing. I didn’t have the tools to recognize That my emotions had control I didn’t have control One of the things we’ve work to do at University of Michigan is to create these Innovative and exciting programs to help service members veterans and their family make these transitions Power appears can cannot be Overstated buddy-buddy is a group of veteran volunteers that help other veterans throughout the state. We have trained more than 350 volunteer veterans on how to reach out and connect your resources Since 2001 2.7 million veterans have returned to higher education and the one should go to school Now you have to have add on the transition of starting college in some capacity The specific program that was valuable for me was paved there’s resources available and there’s people who want to help One out of three children who have experienced a military deployment will report symptoms that are clinically significant strong families works to help parents reconnect with their children around bonding and attachment Being able to read each other’s cues and being able to respond in ways that promote healthy relationships Homefront strong is an eight-week intervention that we offer in a group format and focuses very Specifically on what the spouse is experiencing or what the partner is experiencing and how can we assure that person up? Research is coming out showing that our female veterans are struggling and they’re struggling mightily and all I knew is I was super depressed and I wanted to run my car into a tree they’re struggling more with suicide more with alcohol use and abuse and in general with their Transition back to the civilian world. One of the programs I work on is Near and dear to my heart because it’s specifically for female veterans. They knew where I was talking about. They knew that struggle with Transition and finding a job keeping a job. I constantly reflect what my life would have been like had there been a program like this it gave me a ladder out of the hole that I was in the the young people that volunteered today and Signed on a piece of paper that they’re willing to sacrifice their life for their country We can’t lose another veteran MEMS man is poised to make an even greater impact throughout the country we’re seeing with this generation of veterans a true commitment to Continuing to give it’d be a shame to go through all these challenges and I’ve been through Most of them and not be able to share this information with somebody else That’s coming through that doesn’t know that these challenges are waiting for them It’s been it’s been great to be able to help people I hope to do more of it

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