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I was born in Milwaukee and grew up on the northwest side. My childhood was like many others, hanging out with neighborhood friends and playing sports and getting into our mischief. I graduated from Milwaukee Madison HS in 1993, went to Carthage College, but at the time I was only worried about playing football and not engaging in class like I should’ve been. I worked for a couple years prior to enlisting in the Army as a medic, the best job I ever had. At my first duty station in 2000, I worked in the ER at FLW, MO, there was no better place for me to be. I learned the skills that would help me in combat later on. I spent 55 months between Iraq and Afghanistan, there were good days and bad. After I finished my time in Active Duty, I went home for the birth of my daughter and transitioned to the Reserves. During my time in the reserves, I became an instructor, but my transition to the civilian world was not so good. I had many underlying issues that I hadn’t dealt with. I am an alcoholic who got three OWI’s, which is way less than I should’ve.
After my third OWI, I went to inpatient rehab at the VA and spent seven months in jail. After my release, I began working for the Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Support Program with the Medical College of Wisconsin. I have since become a Certified Peer Specialist and take my experiences and try to help those who need help. I also share my story so that they don’t follow my poor choices. I have found my purpose again in life because of the programs and work that I do now.
DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.