“WE’RE ALL JUST A KID FROM SOMEWHERE.”
This is one of my favorite quotes ever because it captures so much emotion and meaning in just a few short words. I was born in Durham, NC. My family moved to my grandparents’ farm in rural central NC when I was about 9. I loved being on a farm, but really had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. This became all the more complicated when my father passed away from cancer when I was 10. Just a few short months after his passing came the events of September 11th, 2001. I still remember collecting change at my middle school to send to a fundraiser for the victims’ families. I took mason jars, taped small American flags to them, and sat them outside every classroom I could. It was then that I began to feel my first calling to serve. 2001 was a rough year, but it proved to be critical to the path I would take. In high school I joined Army Junior ROTC and began to seriously consider joining the military. From there I applied to NC State and was accepted on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. I didn’t have a big family history or culture of long-standing service, and I’d never even been on an airplane; but here I was. At NC State I met my amazing wife and began my journey to flying in the Air Force. After graduation I went on to flight training and was eventually selected to fly the mighty F-15E, the greatest two-seat, twin-engine war machine ever made (no bias in that statement). I went on to have two deployments and a total of nearly 7 years on active duty. In Feb of 2020 I left active duty, joined the Air National Guard, and began working at an awesome company. Why does all this matter? Well first I think it’s important that you know where I’m coming from. Second, I’m not special. I’m just an average Joe who came from rural NC, joined the military, grew along the way, and now I want to help as many other veterans as possible.