Darren, U.S. Army
October 2013 Class
Age: 31 Years in Service: 13 Years Rank: E7
Served in: Afghanistan, Iraq
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.
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.
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.