This post was produced by the Wounded Warrior Project.
Being a soldier means making tremendous sacrifices.
Unfortunately, for many veterans, an end to combat life isn’t an end to hardship. When these veterans encountered new challenges after coming home, here’s what inspired them to persevere.
1. Bill Geiger
What inspires him: “My wife! I have never been around someone with such a tough, strong-willed personality [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][and] a huge caring heart. She has been the glue that holds our family together during rough times. She inspires me to do better every day because I see how loving she is with the kids, how she talks to them in a gentle tone, and how she takes a vested interest in their stories. If I can be half the father that she is a mother, I’ll be amazing.”
2. Taniki Richard
What inspires her: “Sharing the journey toward full recovery with the people I love and those I encounter in my community is not a leisure-filled, stress-free hayride. However, inspiration exists in the bonds of those relationships, giving me hope for positive change. To witness and be a part of true support in my journey is where I draw my strength in love through adversity.”
3. Paul Delacerda
What inspires him: “Seeing the success of other veterans after combat inspires me daily. Getting to watch a warrior with disabilities transition into a successful career and meaningful future helps me and others seek the same.”
4. Bill Jones
What inspires him: “As far as what inspires me, it is actually … other warriors. I once saw myself as broken — and therefore useless and undesirable. I have learned through numerous personal experiences with other veterans, many of whom are far more disabled than I am, that every person has a purpose. Every experience, good or bad, can be something useful in helping someone else through their struggles. I have been helped by those I felt I was supposed to be helping. The more I help others, the more I heal. I live by the example of those who put their lives on hold to bring me back to the surface. They rescued me.”
5. Lisa Crutch
What inspires her: “What inspires me is the love from family and friends. It is unchanging.”
6. Shane Kruchten
What inspires him: “The thing that inspires me the most is being the best person, father, and individual in daily life. Ensuring that tomorrow’s generation can see the benefits of the military service that I provided, Freedom isn’t free. But I’ll gladly ensure that the next generation will be free.”
7. Charles “Dozer“ Reed
What inspires him: “What inspires me is the heart of the warrior when the chips are down. I’ve witnessed warriors overcoming adversity and defeating obstacles like champions. The best part: They never doubted they could do it!”
8. Angela Peacock
What inspires her: “I suffered enough [by] living through horrible things I saw or that happened to me. Now is my time to heal, love, and dream. To create the life I want and deserve. This takes courage. To let go of past stuff while growing into the unknown to discover who I am without the things that tried to kill me.”
9. Frank Sonntag
What inspires him: “I have two mantras that have sustained me: ‘Tough knows that failure is simply a huge step towards success’ [and] ‘Being tough means continuing when it would be easy to stop.’
“I have learned that through my entire recovery process and have used those comments to help dozens of others know that life can, and does, get better when you have been through some tough times.”
10. Dan Miller
What inspires him: “The phrase that I lean on and that inspires me when the going gets tough consists of two sentences from the poem Invictus. This poem was written by William Earnest Henly. ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquerable.’ The two lines that I use are ‘I am the captain of my soul’ and ‘I am the master of my fate.’ I repeat these in my head when I start to feel like giving up on everything.”
11. Jeremiah Pauley
What inspires him: “My children inspire me. For many years, I was not able to show my children the love they deserve. Now, I see them smiling and happy, and it inspires me to keep moving forward and be better every day.”
Their bravery and strength in turn inspires us. To thank veterans for their service in ways that count the most, look to the Wounded Warrior Project for ways you can help.