I was born on November 4th, 1988 in Phoenix, AZ. I had an average upbringing and was born into a middle-class family. Both of my parents worked for the same company and worked hard to provide me, my older brother, and younger sister with everything we needed growing up. In grade school and high school I loved sports and played football as well as rugby. I also loved music and frequently attended local metal and rock shows around Phoenix. Despite all the trouble I got into while growing up, I graduated from Deer Valley high school in 2007.

Ever since I could remember I wanted to be a marine, and on January 22nd, 2008, I shipped out to USMC Recruit Depot San Diego to become one. Within a few months of graduating boot camp I was stationed with 1st Battalion 7th Marines as a machine gunner with Charlie Company Weapons Platoon. Within a year my unit was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq where I spent 7 months as a turret gunner providing security for Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams as well as conducting mobile security patrols in the Karma and Fallujah area.

My second deployment was in the fall of 2010 where I was deployed to the South Pacific under the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. I spent all of 2011 training for my upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, along with making the drive back home every weekend to Arizona.

In March 2012, I deployed to the deadly Sangin district of Afghanistan. There I spent the next 3 months as a Machine Gun Squad Leader conducting day and night foot patrols in Sangin’s Southern Green Zone. On the night of June 13th, I stepped on a pressure plate of an 8 to 12 pound IED, and my life was changed forever. The IED blew off both my legs, my right below the knee, and my left above the knee. That same night two other members from our nine man squad were wounded, and one was killed. Two days later I woke up in a hospital in Germany and had to come to terms with the loss of my legs, and the fact that my life would never be the same.

On June 18th I arrived at Balboa Navy Medical Hospital in San Diego California. There I received many more surgeries repairing my legs as well as my left hand. Only once the surgeries were done with did I start the long and painful process of recovery…