By Retired U.S. Army Maj. Ed Pulido, VP of Programs and Military Affairs, Folds of Honor Foundation
My father is my hero and a true American- he’s all about service to our nation. He taught me that we must make a difference in this country, that’s why I joined the Army. It’s all about service.
On Aug. 17, 2004, my unit finished a mission and were headed to Kirkuk. I was driving when suddenly I hit an improvised explosive device. My leg was severely injured.
I spent eight months at Brooke Army Medical Center. I had night sweats and terrors about the explosion. There were times when I thought to myself, “I don’t know if I can go on like this.”
Eventually, my leg was amputated. After the surgery, I felt like I wasn’t the same person. I wondered how I would walk or support my family. I thought about taking my life. I felt like I couldn’t live like that, but I knew those dark thoughts weren’t me. I knew I needed to talk to someone, so I reached out for support.
I thought about all the things that were bothering me and I talked about them. I realized that my life wasn’t over and I could conquer my challenges.
I know other service members and veterans face similar physical and psychological challenges. I want them to know that they’re not alone. I built a support system, and others going through similar experiences can too. Reach out to your church, your family, Vet Centers, and other service members.
We must not leave any service member or military family member behind on the field of battle. If you or someone you love is coping with a visible or invisible wound, reach out for help. Resources are available, and they work.
Visit the Real Warriors Campaign website at www.realwarriors.net to view my video profile and profiles of other service members who have reached out for help and are maintaining successful military and civilian careers. The site also provides information and resources for service members, veterans and their families.
Contact the DCoE Outreach Center to speak with a health resource consultant by phone at 866-966-1020, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the live chat feature. They will help you get the information and resources you need.
The DCoE Blog features information on psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues as well as personal stories and reflections from people within the military community on these topics.
Visit the Defense.gov web special Restoring Hope for stories, videos and resources on suicide prevention.