Born in Southern Iowa, I was raised between the country and the city. I spent time with pigs, cows and horses. I began working in the Food Industry when I was 16 and moved onto the Food and Beverage department of a casino in Iowa just after my 19th birthday (July 2007) where I learned every job within the department from then to present (November 2019).
Chores, schoolwork and playing hard were part of everyday life. I always wanted to join the military and finally did 2 weeks after my 23rd birthday. I joined the Iowa Army National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst, obtaining a top-secret security clearance and a skill set where we were taught about critical thinking skills and how to apply them as analysts. Afterall, our decisions could someday be the difference between life and death.
In the Guard, I learned and applied much about leadership, selfless service and responsibility. I attended the Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) as an E-4 and became a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) not long after. Instead of picking up a promotion to E-6, it was time to find a new home. I switched to the RSP (Recruit Sustainment Program) where I served as cadre to the Drill Sergeant and Warrant Officer in charge.
There we spent time training new recruits the basics of becoming a soldier in the United States Army. As part of our training requirements, cadre members were sent to a ten-day course called the Foundation Instructor/Facilitator Course (FIFC) where we learned how to become effective Instructors and Facilitators. In addition to FIFC, we were also privileged to attend the two-day ASIST (Assisted Suicide Intervention Skills Training) class. Each experience ultimately added depth to my own outlook on life and how I choose to interact with people.