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Warriors of Camp Southern Ground



John is a Warrior Week and Warrior PATHH alum. He grew up in New York and joined the Air Force at 18 years old. This is his story.

I grew up in Macedon, NY a suburb of Rochester in western New York. I joined the U.S. Air Force at 18 and served for 21 years and three days.

As an aircrew member, I got to travel the world and work with all the services. I got to “see the world” both good and bad. Good stuff like the miracles of nature. The bad stuff, like military bureaucracy, and the worst of stuff (war).

Transitioning out of the military was hard. I had a rough go of it. I thought I had a plan – four years of college, get a job, transition done! Ha, not so much. There were four years of college, but it was 7 years and 4 jobs before I found a place that I “belonged” and used my talents. Transition for me was like being lost in the woods. Pick a direction, figure out it’s the wrong one, pick a new way to go, oops!… try again.

Now, I’m doing ok. Still struggling with PTS, though it has definitely improved over time through hard work and therapy (and never forget PATHH and Warrior Week). For me, financial security is the one thing that makes me feel secure. I know for some people it’s the social or purpose driven things that give them a sense of groundedness and certainty. But for me, those things only work for me when I’m not worried about money.

My biggest lesson learned is decide and choose every day that everything counts. Live your life in such a manner that makes that as true as possible. Tell the truth, even if the consequences suck, because then you can look at yourself in the mirror every day. Life is hard, try to not let it make you hard, be resilient instead. I live every day by the following values: Integrity, Respect, Courage, Compassion, Honor, Honesty, and Duty.

Help us make a difference in the lives of more veterans like John.