Monday, July 9, 2012

USA Today story on war hero Germanna student helps ease stigmas



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USA TODAY: ARMY, GERMANNA HELP WAR HERO DECOMPRESS AND TAKE A BIG STEP TOWARD FULFILLING HIS  DREAM OF PLAYING DIVISION I FOOTBALL--FROM POST TRAUMATIC STRESS TO POST TRAUMATIC SUCCESS

Daniel Rodriguez’ fight was far from over after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan that saw him wounded and decorated for valor.


The Germanna Community College student was a football star at Brooke Point High School in Stafford, but he was too small for a football scholarship. His father suffered a heart attack and passed away four days after Daniel graduated. Without a scholarship or a father, he felt he couldn't afford college, so he enlisted in the Army


 In Afghanistan, when his unit of 60 men came under attack by 300 Taliban, he saw a buddy shot in the head. Daniel exposed himself to enemy fire to help his friend and drag him out of the line of fire. Then he realized his buddy was dead. Daniel was shot in the shoulder and took shrapnel in both legs.


He returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and night terrors. Using the G.I. Bill, he's been attending  Germanna, and he credits he GCC with helping him decompress.


 Last week, USA Today featured Daniel in a story about the way the Army has changed its approach to dealing with mental illness due to the high suicide rate among active duty soldiers and veterans.


"It was tough for me to go to counseling," he told USA Today’s Gail Sheehy. "But as I opened up more and more, it helped me to get my feelings out and understand it's OK to talk about it to other people, my friends, my mom — don't bottle it up."




1 comment:

Susan R Wing said...

Your story was really inspiring. Would love to share this with my friends.
northwestern college