First and for most I want to dedicate this blog to Catherine Helshoj, VP of Laguna Tools, whom I call Mum. She has been one of my greats supports since my started receiving help for my injury. She has always been in my corner, believing in me and rooting for me. She is my adopted mother and friend! I seriously could not have come this far without her.
Second I want to thank ever LumberJock for allowing me to write this. I know this is not a wood related topic and I promise it will be my only posting of such but I want you to know the man behind the wood. I thank you all for your kindness and support. You have welcomed me with open arms and have encouraged me greatly. For that reason it is time I share this small piece of me with you!
Oct 9th 2004- Taken from the my journal-
Hell from Behind!
Where am I? My ears! There has to be something sticking through my ears! My head hurts. Why am I lying on my weapon? We are in an ambush. The smell of sulfur is everywhere. The night is alive with the lights of hundreds of man-made fireflies. RPGs come from out of the darkness. I am screaming, telling my driver to move as I engage the enemy. The 50 cal. behind me sounds so close, and yet echos so far away. My head hurts, my ears hurt. Stay alert. Stay alive.
Reload, Reload. O God, the car. Its a car bomb and it is coming straight at my stryker! Coming to T-bone the side, get under our cage armor and then unleash it deadly surge of horror. O, the world spins. My head hurts so bad! I tip the barrel up to meet the threat. So close I can see the drivers face, so scared yet with eyes filled with resolution and hatred. His beat up white and orange junker is so close…to close…I must stop this threat..my ears hurt! As I squeeze off the first rounds I see the passenger, a Iraqi male… adjust and engage….O sh@t…there are women in the back seat, “You must engage” I tell my self My head hurts!...And now the world stops…..............................
Its as if time and space have no meaning or bearing. Sitting between the two women in the back seat, I see small frightened eyes. Its my son! I ease up on the trigger and do not shoot. Wait it cannot be my son. The car is still rolling towards us. We are still not clear. I must not have gotten the driver. I do not want to re-engage! There is a boy in there! A little boy!
I fight to save my men. As the RPGs rained down and the 50 cal spat out its answers, my heart breaks. I cannot seam to tear my eyes away from those terrified little eyes. Finally the car comes to a slow roll about 8 feet away. O God, I killed a child!
Journal Entry Excerpt Complete-
It all happen so fast! Yet as you have heard before there is slow time and quick time.
I have never shared this part publicly before. You can read the before and after story at
I share this with you all now because I want you to know what drives me! Yes, the physical aliments, the headaches, the vertigo, the lose of vision, memory and nerve damage all are frustrating but it is not what keeps me up at night. What I see in my nightmares or flashbacks.
I take these demons of mine with me and try and transform them into something beautiful!
To you other veterans out there. Granted this is not uncommon. Keep the faith. There is hope!!!! I have found some good help in the VA but honest I have found the most help, oddly enough, in the community and activity of woodworking!:). Thank you again LJ for your patience and understanding! It has taken me 8 years to heal enough to share this. I did not even tell my brothers-in-arms I was so ashamed of what I had done! Because of your acceptance you have helped me move that much closer toward healing! THANK YOU!
-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate