From One Veteran to Another

image7Erik came home from two tours in Afghanistan dealing with emotional pain. His new battle : transitioning to civilian life.

The people who know Erik knew he would never give up.

As a child, Erik was severely injured and partially disabled for a year. His injuries were so bad, doctors suggested that he may never walk again. But those words only served to motivate him more.

Once Erik was able to stand up, he never sat back down.

He participated in several sports, surprising the doctors who didn’t believe. Then he did something truly inspiring.

Erik1After high school, Erik joined the United States Marine Corps and fell in love with the concept of God, Country and Corps. In his two deployments, Erik served in the Marine Special Operation Battalion and with the 1st Battalion 5th Marines regiment.

One of his assignments: Protect CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. Erik was also assigned to protect visiting politicians and several high-ranking military officials. His commitment to excellence, professionalism and safety were noteworthy and did not go unrecognized.

When he came home, reeling from the loss of his friend, Erik attended Irvine Valley Community College where he served as a veterans’ liaison and became the Veteran’s Club President.

Then he came to Goodwill of Orange County’s Enduring Independence program, a program dedicated to and for veterans, determined to help.

Today, Erik is a valuable asset to Goodwill of Orange County, working within the Veteran Services Volunteer program and AmeriCorps where he is a Points of Light Volunteer Veteran Leader.

image8Not only has he found success for himself, Erik has found a way to continue helping his fellow vets and support them on their path to employment.

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