Darren, U.S. Army

October 2013 Class

Age: 31                                                       Years in Service:     13 Years        Rank: E7

Served in: Afghanistan, Iraq

Warrior’s Story:

I was born in Annapolis, MD in 1982 but my family eventually moved to Hagerstown, MD where I spent most of my childhood.  I attended high school in Smithsburg and graduated 2000.  I immediately joined the Army and left for basic training in 2001.  

During my career I have traveled extensively and deployed many times.  The first time was in 2001 where I served in Afghanistan as part of the 101st Airborne Division.  I went on to deploy to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2005.  My final deployment was in 2012 where I returned to Afghanistan.  I’ve completed many assignments and learned many invaluable skills during my Army career and was officially medically retired in July, 2013.  The road was bumpy but I persevered and continue to move forward.  

About PTSD:  

My PTSD symptoms are constant and have affected my life for many years.  I was recently diagnosed with Axis I PTSD and Axis III TBI which helped explain many of my memory and concentration issues.  I can’t remember much at times and do not feel safe when I go places.  My isolation has made me feel so lonely and I feel unable to trust anyone, I can’t wait to live again!

Looking Forward to:  

For thirteen years, the military was my family.  I put my heart and soul into it each and every day.  Now that I am in the middle of retiring, I am hoping I can eventually start a family of my own.  I plan to volunteer more and hopefully attend college one day.  Regardless of what I do in the future, I will always help other soldiers like they have helped me.  Now that I have been paired with Buddy, I feel more doors will open and I will have even more opportunities than I ever thought possible.

About Buddy:

Buddy is a 2 year old male great dane/lab mix. He was donated by a family in Atlanta that had rescued him from the humane society and couldn't handle his strength and energy. Buddy is a big and goofy boy, but has a heart of gold. He is a puppy at heart and always tries to do what you want. He will bond quickly with his new warrior.

Team Updates

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Darren opens up about how PTSD has personally effected him and reaches out to others who might be struggling with this as well, letting them know they are not alone and there is help for them. Darren shares his plans as well with Buddy after he returns home.Read More >>
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Darren shares what his expectations were coming into the program and how he felt about the program. Also, he tells a little about what makes Buddy special and how he helps him when in stressful situations.Read More >>
Embedded thumbnail for Buddy Comforts Darren
Buddy and Darren spend a beautiful day visiting St. Augustine. It was more crowded than usual which made them both a little on edge, but buddy was there to comfort Darren! They make an excellent team!Read More >>
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Buddy visits the mall and trains with Darren. Buddy learns how to walk up the stairs but at his owners pace. Most dogs are confused at first when on the second or third floor and look through the glass realizing that their is not a place for them to walk on. Buddy took longer than most to get over his fear but felt comfort when leaning into his dad.Read More >>
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Darren Meets Buddy for the first time and they instantly connect. Darren has a lot of love to give and Buddy cannot wait to get all that attention from his new dad.Read More >>