I came to Veteran's PATH in 2011 while in rehab at the SFVA. I was just beginning to emerge from a place of total wreckage. I have since been to dozens of events and completed the Vet Leader program and now get to help other veterans by facilitating events. My life has expanded and I am finding new success in most areas of my life due in large part to the community and tools that I have found in Veteran's PATH. In 2017, I finished law school and passed the bar. I say this with total humility and gratitude, considering where I started. Largely, I want other veterans who are having trouble to know that they can have a good life too. I don't get to erase all the bad things I've done, but, I can learn to make peace with them and go forward with my life. I look forward to meeting you.
After several years serving as a Veteran Leader, Matt has now officially joined our team of facilitators. Listen to Matt's Morning Grounding Meditation from a Whitewater Rafting Retreat.
I am an Air Force OEF/OIF veteran of seven years and have been engaged in the Veteran’s PATH community since 2009. I first came to Veteran’s PATH trying to deepen my understanding and connection to my psychological and spiritual wellness. When I first left the military I knew I needed to take care of my physical wellness, so I worked out and stayed very active in recreational sports, but something was missing in my life. I still had emotional issues and high anxiety despite my physical exertion from day to day. Although, Veteran’s PATH is non-denominational I find a spiritual enrichment in the community of Veterans who attend and open themselves up to what is real for them at that moment. My relationship with Veteran’s PATH continues to grow and I’m forever grateful to them for the practices that I have learned and continue to develop. I have a new job as the Manager of Wellness Programs for the San Mateo Union High School District.
After several years serving as a Veteran Leader, Travis has now officially joined our team of facilitators. Listen to Travis leading a guided meditation at our September 2016 one-day event.
I served in the US Army for 5 1/2 years as a Military Police Officer and completed two tours in service of Iraqi Freedom I and III. Now retired, I spend my time traveling, painting and making music. As a Veteran Leader, I am committed to ensuring the growth of the organization and assisting veterans in the improvement of their lives through the use of Mindfulness Practice. I wouldn't be here or the person I am today without Veteran's Path in my life. It's an amazing organization. There are friendships made here that last a lifetime.
I am an Army Infantry veteran of six years and was deployed to the former Yugoslavia. Transitioning to a civilian life was difficult. My military occupation did not translate to the civilian world. My leadership skills and motivation were very intense in comparison. I felt like life had lost its most important purpose, my brothers in arms. I didn’t discover Veteran’s PATH until much of the transition work had been done and some wounds healed. But, here I found a place that was utilizing methods that had, and continue, to work toward developing a peaceful and joyful life. Veteran’s PATH has given me more tools to cultivate my life with and the courage to look more deeply. Even more, in the vet leader program I am beginning to be able to give back the gifts I have received, true healing.
I served 10 years in the Army National Guard, and was deployed 2003~2004 to Iraq. After getting out of the military I had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. But Veteran’s PATH has helped me adjust from being a soldier to a husband and father. This is thanks to the mindfulness practices I’ve learned and the community Veteran’s PATH has created. I’m proud to be a Veteran Leader and to help teach these practices to other veterans.
I served in the US. Navy, and was commissioned in 1989. I spent 10 years on active duty and am still currently serving in the reserves. I was a Surface Warfare Officer first, completing two shipboard deployments at the tail end of the 1st Gulf War, then made the switch into Meteorology and Oceanography and shifted into the reserves. I completed two years back on active duty since 9/11, one on a shipboard deployment and the other as the THIRD Fleet Oceanographer. Here’s what I have to say about Veteran’s PATH:
I spent 8 years as a Yeoman in the US Coast Guard. In addition to my regular duties, I also served as a rape and sexual assault advocate for the Coast Guard, Marines and Navy while stationed in San Diego, CA and a Critical Incident Stress Management Counselor. I was medically retired from the Coast Guard in 2010. Since "retirement" I have forged a career as a Human Resources professional in the private sector. I am truly passionate about helping other veterans (women in particular) overcome pre and post service traumas through mentoring and sharing my story. I first learned about mindfulness and meditation through Acceptance and Commitment therapy, offered at the VA. I am honored to work with Veterans Path as a Vet Leader as I learn more about the practice of meditation, mindfulness and most importantly develop as a compassionate leader. Veteran’s PATH has not only helped me to live and feel again but has offered me the tools to increase my quality of life.
Gabe served in the US Marine Corps from 2003 to 2006. Listen to an excerpt from an interview with Gabe here.
I served in the US Army for a little over 6 years as a 19D Calvary Scout. I was stationed in hardship, training, and wartime environments such that when I left the military; I left with an abundance of anger, despair, and resentment. Some of these emotions I was able to navigate with my own meditation and yoga practices picked up after the military, some I was not. That’s where Veterans PATH was able to grace my life with its presence. We are a community of veterans all striving to heal from myriad experiences under the very experienced wings of Chris Fortin and Lee Lesser. Mindfulness has shifted my life into a direction of compassion, acceptance and peace. A direction that is accessible to all and impossible for none.
Listen to an excerpt from an interview with Nick here.
I served in the Army from 1999 to 2003 as a mechanized infantryman. During that time I was part of a Quick Reactionary Force on the DMZ in South Korea and deployed to Kuwait with Operation Enduring Freedom. I never saw combat but was certainly geared up for it. The military introduced me to life-long friends and helped develop a sense of grit and resolve that I still carry. I also developed aggressive tendencies and felt a deep sense of shame and loss that I did not serve in a combat role. When I left the Army my friends were deployed numerous times, some not making it back. Survivors guilt crept and I used drugs and alcohol to cover up the feelings of not doing enough. Life carried on and I did fine in college and jobs after but ultimately alcoholism and guilt put me into a place where I was not happy and was lacking purpose.
I moved to San Francisco when I decided to get sober and immersed myself in recovery and took advantage of all the available support. I heard about Veteran's PATH through a fellow veteran and instantly knew that it was something for me. I've had an interest and love for meditation since I was first introduced to it in a Judo class when I was 15. My first retreat meeting Chris and Lee I knew that I was "home". Their warmth, positivity and caring nature struck a chord with me and they have been mentors of mine since. Mindfulness practice has shown me how to be more honest with myself and how to better deal with feelings both good and bad. Being gentle and non-judgmental to myself and then extending that to the rest of life has been an invaluable tool, especially in recovery. Being a part of the Veteran Leadership Program has introduced me to a set of peers that I respect and who I know will make a positive impact on others. It gives me a great sense of purpose knowing that I'll be able to pass on what I'm learning to other veterans in need. Chris and Lee created Veteran's PATH from their hearts and I could not be more happy to be a part of it.