In my eyes, there are few responsibilities more important than defending our country. I always knew that certain people must be willing to step up to the plate and do that job. So, at age 22, I joined the US Army with the intent to become a Green Beret. I felt it was important to serve, and I volunteered so that others wouldn’t have to.
Any bad day I’ve had lately has been easy compared to what I endured in the infantry. We were pushed to the limit, and it showed me just how much I was capable of. Besides the obvious physical nature of the job, there was an intense focus on communication and critical thinking. As difficult as it could be, lives depended on my quick assessment of every situation.
I spent ten months deployed in Iraq. Between the daily bombings our base endured and the countless missions I took part in, the odds of being killed or severely injured were astronomical. I had about a 1 in 600 chance of making it through intact.
Surviving one or two of those situations, I would understand. But as the number crept higher and higher, it became a much bigger deal. I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence; it meant I had something else to be alive for.
I wasn’t in the military just to get career experience, but rather to help people who were in need. (The Special Forces motto is de oppresso liber, which means “to free the oppressed.”) I believe that we are called to do good with the gifts we have been given. When I finished my time in the service, I wanted a way to continue helping others.
So, with a professional background in sales, I chose to earn my real estate license in 2008. I strive to have a servant’s heart, and real estate appealed to me not only as a business where I could excel by working hard, but also as a way to continue to serve those around me.
As I mentioned, I knew I had been kept alive for a reason. I just didn’t know what it was at first. It became clearer to me when I met my wife Tamara a few years later, and quickly took on the roles of husband and father.
As a parent, I felt a sense of being anchored and rooted in my family. You start looking at life differently. It was a new kind of responsibility, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Tamara and I have discovered so much joy and purpose, not only within our own family, but in serving those around us both personally and professionally. Together, we aim to improve the lives of everyone we meet.
Dreaming big is essential to having the future you want, but following through on your goals is equally important to get there.
I grew up as the second oldest of eight kids in a small town in upstate New York. At a young age, I was already helping to raise my brothers and sisters. I had to learn how to take charge, motivate others, overcome obstacles, and negotiate. Above all, I had to have empathy and compassion. My siblings looked to me as an example, and it was my responsibility to show them the way.
When I moved out of my parents’ home at sixteen years old, I was ready to make my life my own. I rented a room from a family and took on two jobs while I finished high school. At the tender age of nineteen, I moved from New York to California, looking to expand my horizons and discover opportunities that I couldn’t find in a small town.
I was 3000 miles away from home in a new environment with no one to rely on but myself. In my situation, I’m not sure how many people would have made it. Still, I was determined to succeed.