In March of 2008 I returned from a combat tour in the Anbar Province of Iraq. Almost immediately I felt out of place, but I carried on with what I thought everyone around me expected me to do. Things were suddenly more complicated, even while the world around me seemed to have a much slower pace. I found it practically impossible to find purpose or to have any sense of self-worth. I became angry over everything, and found myself looking for trouble around every corner. I found it very easy to shut out the world around me, and to only interact with others as much as I had to, and did what I could to fake a smile and pretend everything was alright. I tried talking to different people about it; counselors, pastors, mentors, but no one understood what I meant when I told them I could be alone in a crowd, or how deeply I distrusted others.
Upon attending my first meeting at Point Man, I found the camaraderie that I had missed and that I need so desperately. Hearing others speak exactly what I felt led me to realize that I am not alone, and that while these are not the men that I walked alongside daily in Iraq, our experiences have had much of the same impacts on us all. Point Man gave me a place to belong, and a safe place where I can finally put my guard down, because I know that someone is always watching out for me here.
I have carried a strong conviction to serve Veterans since my tour in Iraq, and Point Man has allowed me the opportunity to fulfill that. I have also learned that through helping other Veterans, I too am able to heal. I have seen firsthand the difference this organization has made in the lives of many veterans and look forward to seeing many more.