Heading towards Independence Day I wanted to discuss a cause that I have been supporting since it’s foundation. That cause is the non profit Salvage USA.

Salvage USA Mission Statement:

We provide veterans, active-duty special operations personnel, and military families with opportunities for community-focused growth and engagement via planned expeditions, community activities, and partnerships with local businesses.

Not only do they work with veterans who have experienced past trauma’s, but they also work with Active Duty members to work through some of what they have experienced before their transition has begun. They do this in various ways, through deep water dive trips, making and crafting surfboards (adaptability during the pandemic), and community outreach.

I have talked about this openly before, but a transition off of active duty is one of the hardest things people can go through. Even if it is a choice to do so. Sometimes you don’t realize how much community you had within the military until you just don’t anymore or at least that is what it felt like for me during the actual transition.

My transition from active duty was not by choice so that required a lot more reflection and understanding and it took me some time to come to terms with the reality. I also want to be clear in saying I had a military career that was not combat related. So I was not even dealing with those kinds of added stressors when I was transitioning out. As someone with a huge sense of independence it was not easy for me to reach out for help when I was in need. Instead I internalized many of my feelings and became a depressed anger triggered person. At least for a short while.

I feel fortunate that I knew myself enough to know what I needed to overcome this. It was a trip that took almost a year of my life to feel in control again. Now, I don’t harbor all of that hurt and bitterness. I look positively towards my experiences and latch on to other opportunities that have arose because of my connections to the military.

After thinking that a huge metaphorical door just slams in your face between your military community and the civilian side I have realized that this is not the case. I get to keep all of that community I once had and meet new people because of that community. How did I not see this before?

I have been fortunate enough to be invited in by friends across the globe and I feel stronger than ever before.

A couple weeks ago I was in Virginia visiting with Krista and Jordan the cofounders of Salvage USA. Krista is a life long friend and confidant, she was my roommate during my second tour in Japan. She was the Navigator while I was the Auxiliaries Officer and what a team we made together. I am glad that she has remained a constant in my life and is someone I always reach out to and meet up with no matter where in the world we are.

Since getting to know her husband Jordan, I have started to piece together what drives him to build this community and help others. A combat Veteran himself, he has seen the struggles and endured his own traumas on his transitions through life. 

One day in the past month we went over to a brewery nearby their house and met up with one of Jordan’s friends, Kyle, who has a big part in setting up the chapter for the Virginia Beach Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement nonprofit. They help raise money to provide scholarships in memory of heroes.

I love to sit down and be a part of a group of people who are working tirelessly to build community and work together for the common good. The conversation was relevant and inspiring and if I wasn’t deployed halfway across the globe currently I would be doing more in person to support as many causes as possible.

Leading into Independence Day I just thought I would share some of these groups and what they represent to me. Maybe you can click on the links and see what their about. If your in the Virginia Beach Area participate in some of the events that contribute to a great cause!