My active duty time came to an end on September 1st of 2001 ten days before 9/11 , during my service I was lucky enough to serve with some of the greatest men and women I will ever meet. I also was both lucky enough and unfortunate to serve overseas in Kosovo in 1999, during which I saw what the evil in the world was truly capable of.
When I finished my time I came home and like most of us buried what I had seen and what I had gone through. Ten days after I came home that would change. On 9/12 I received my first of what would be 3 Frost calls from the reserve unit I checked into. Since we were not getting activated at that point on 9/13 I packed up my rescue equipment that I had acquired from my time with the Jacksonville rescue squad and the onslow county SIRT and traveled to ground zero from my home in NJ. For 3 days I dug through rebel with some of the bravest and most selfless first responders I have ever met. I met people from all over the world and all over the country hurricane to New York to simply do their best to help.
Growing up, we always approached feelings in what I like to call the "John Wayne" method we didn't talk about our feelings, we buried them or we drowned them in a bottle like most Irishmen.
For years I battled depression, and suffered from PTSD but I never realized how bad it was until I was in a car accident in 2004 with my best friend. We were hit by a drink driving illegal alien and my best friend and love if my life died on the way to the hospital. I myself spent 28 days in a coma, broke 19 bones, lacerated my spline, brushed my heart and collapsed both lungs. After I woke up I was told about my accident and that my best friend had died. I fell into a depression that lasted months. I drank almost every night just to be able to sleep. I slept at most 2 hours at a time because my nightmares would wake me up. I thought about ending my life more times than I could count. I floundered and suffered for years until I was lucky enough to meet some great men and go through a certain program to deal with my issues. After which I came home and co founded a great organization with two Marine brothers. We started the Ma Deuce Deuce or MA22 to help vets deal with PTSD and CRS and to help end the 22a day suicide epidemic.
From when we have started just over three years ago to today we have raised over 150,000.00 to help our local veteran community and do our best to end the 22 a day. When I read why you were starting the happy bean coffee shop I had to support such a great company and as well as a fellow Marine and veteran. I hope there are great things for you in the future and you succeed in all that you take on!