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Let’s Get Some Things Straight…

Cause you’re probably wondering who the tattooed guy is?

In 1999—Just Like The Prince Song—I Joined The Military

Prior to joining the Army, I grew up in Oklahoma and was set to attend college at Oklahoma State University (where I eventually graduated after dropping out 3 times. War is hell, ya know?). But then September 11th, 2001 hit and my military career and life took a different turn.

While overseas, I earned my enemy marksmanship award (the Purple Heart) for wounds received in action while deployed to Afghanistan. I also earned a Bronze Star and two Army Commendation Medals for my actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I stayed enlisted for the eleven years I was in the U.S. Army and fought in Ramadi, Iraq during the most violent portion of the war (2006-2007). I also ending up losing my best friend, Kyle, during combat operations.

In 1999—Just Like The Prince Song—I Joined The Military

Prior to joining the Army, I grew up in Oklahoma and was set to attend college at Oklahoma State University (where I eventually graduated after dropping out 3 times. War is hell, ya know?). But then September 11th, 2001 hit and my military career and life took a different turn.

While overseas, I earned my enemy marksmanship award (the Purple Heart) for wounds received in action while deployed to Afghanistan. I also earned a Bronze Star and two Army Commendation Medals for my actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I stayed enlisted for the eleven years I was in the U.S. Army and fought in Ramadi, Iraq during the most violent portion of the war (2006-2007). I also ending up losing my best friend, Kyle, during combat operations.

But Also, let's Set the record Straight

People without a military background have wrongly assumed I was part of Special Forces. While I did serve most of my time under Special Operations (Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command) and attended Defense Language Institute as well as the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, there is a major difference between Tier 1 operators and the work I did with a local and indigenous population.

now you're a professional writer?

From a young age, I’ve been captivated by storytelling. As a 3rd grader, I penned a tale about a mutant snowflake with Rambo-like traits, which landed me in the principal’s office. While I had a knack for stories, my writing skills left much to be desired. It wasn’t until later, when I sought guidance from one of my closest friends—a Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author—that my curiosity and enthusiasm for the craft truly flourished. For years after, I honed my skills in solitude, reading stories aloud to my cat. Today, with over 48,000 readers on Medium, numerous viral essays, and contributions to esteemed publications and businesses under my belt, I’ve established myself as a respected voice in the literary world. These events helped secure a book deal in 2020 with a prominent publisher, resulting in the publication of my war memoir, Where Cowards Go To Die. The book has since garnered widespread critical acclaim and been honored with seven prestigious literary awards. These days, I continue to write for numerous publications and outlets, while also dedicating a significant portion of my time to ghostwriting projects.

Plus You’re Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Professional Speaker, And A Mental Health Specialist?

I view art through numerous mediums. I love designing and the web and have spent well over a decade as a Creative Director in some capacity or form. Some of my artwork has been featured in two New York Times Best-Selling novels, TIME Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, and CNN. Speaking began as a way to educate businesses, non-profits, and churches, but I also fell in love with that craft as a different medium to storytelling and have been lucky enough to speak at several high-level events.

My passion for mental health began when I saw my brothers and sisters in arms struggling to readjust after returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Having faced my own challenges in reintegrating into civilian life, I recognized the shortcomings in the support systems for veterans and the broader mental health landscape. This realization fueled my determination to contribute to the healing journey of both veterans and society at large grappling with mental health issues.

Certifications

Military Awards

What About your personal Life?

I’m married to an amazing woman named Emily who is—and remains—my muse. I have a daughter, Adelaide, who loves hiking and skiing with her old man in addition to ju jitsu and big cuddles in the morning before school. My son, Aidan, is partially named after my best friend, who was killed in action while I was in Afghanistan. The kid seriously thinks he’s a dinosaur (or the Incredible Hulk) and runs around the house, stomping everywhere he goes, roaring at me, or “HULK SMASH”ing his dad.

Besides my family, I love the mountains, which has brought me much respite after so many years at war. My faith is vital to that peace and allows me to treat the poor, marginalized, and oppressed with dignity and compassion. I really do love people and believe there’s hope for even the most broken. Now that I’m 40+, I’ve also had to decide whether I want to get into smoking meats or WWII history. I chose BBQ.

Last, I’m obsessed with anything pumpkin spice. Seriously. I can out white girl the best white girl in fall y’all.