Brian served his country for 20 years in the US Army, retiring in 2007. During his service he deployed to Iraq three times. Each time he participated in engagements that continue to haunt him to this day: IEDs, being in the direct line of fire, losing friends and brothers.
Brian’s job in the military was transportation/logistics, placing him “outside the wire” in the midst of dangerous territory on almost a daily basis. He supported the 1st armored division from Kuwait to Iraq when they were searching for Saddam Hussein. He also spent time escorting third country nationals throughout Iraq (Al-Asaad). These areas were dangerous to say the least. So much so that he often found himself having to backtrack to “round up” whomever he was escorting as they did not want to enter the territories, particularly Fallujah. Brian also spent a considerable amount of time escorting American civilians to deliver mail throughout Iraq. He ran two exhausting convoys each day, in daylight and rush hour. Prime time for enemy attacks.
Brian was exposed to multiple IED explosions during his tours. On his very first mission in Iraq, Brian was separated from the convoy after enemy contact. He was out of his truck and had shots fired at and around him. His truck ended up in unfamiliar areas, clearly increasing the risks. If that wasn’t enough, rocks and bottles were thrown at them by Iraqi civilians. He continues to have anxiety while driving. He suffers with panic attacks, especially if he feels he is lost or is uncertain about where he is going. This continues today, 13 years later.
Due to multiple IED explosions, particularly during his second tour, Brian suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He continues to struggle with difficulties in his memory, concentration, reading and writing. He has trouble retaining information. Despite these obstacles, after retiring Brian returned to school and ultimately earned his Bachelor’s degree. This was no small feat. Brian’s school path was certainly not without struggle. He initially failed his classes and required cognitive rehabilitation in order to learn how to learn again, due to his symptoms of TBI. Today, Brian continues to push through these obstacles and is working towards his Masters in Outdoor Adventure Expedition Leadership. He only has his thesis to complete to earn his degree. However, writing and focusing continue to be a struggle that he battles daily. Nonetheless, Brian continues to fight his battles and is determined to complete the Masters program.
Brian began participating in therapy shortly after his retirement, in 2008. He continues to attend both individual and group sessions with other veterans. He has good days. But he also has bad days when he does not want to get out of bed. His kids, 5 of them between the ages of 14 and 24, are his inspiration.
Brian is hopeful that this journey will help him to continue to overcome the effects of his experiences. As evident from his story, he is a fighter and looks for ways to continue to improve. Brian has been interested in walking the Camino for a few years and has been aware of the potential healing such a journey could bring. Welcome Brian. We hope the Camino brings you further along in your journey to peace and recovery.