Mike was a petty officer third class in the Navy on an Aircraft Carrier in the Middle East from 2008 to 2012. His service took him around the world, most notably to Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Dubai, and Afghanistan. Mike’s injury was caused, not by his service, but the re-entry from the service into the civilian world. When discharged, he had hoped to settle down with his girlfriend, get married, buy a house and open a restaurant. Instead, he returned to find his girlfriend pregnant and engaged to another guy. Distraught, he found himself in a downward spiral of drinking and smoking heavily, which led to a stroke. He sees irony in this, saying, “After all the hardship I went through in the military, getting my heart broke was the thing that broke me.”
Mike came to Living Resources shortly after his stroke, participating in many of the programs designed to assist people in their recovery from their traumatic brain injury. He now considers himself a “graduate” of the program, but still enjoys coming to the office on Fridays to catch up with his friends over an informal brunch. He volunteers at an after school program run through the Salvation Army, preparing meals for children so that they can return to their homes well-nourished in body and spirit. His newest goal is to get his driver’s license.