My name is Clay and I’m a blessed man with a beautiful wife and three handsome boys. I served in the U.S. Army for just over 20 years and recently retired in 2015. I enlisted as a 13B – Canon Crewmember – in 1995. I completed OSUT (One Station Unit Training) – basic training and AIT combined– at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1998, I re-classed to 31R (later changed to 25Q) – Multi-channel systems operator/maintainer – basically, a long job title for communications. My assignments include Fort Campbell, KY; Fort Gordon, GA; Germany; Camp Red Cloud, South Korea; Fort Hood, TX; US Army Recruiting Command (USAREC); Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Meade, MD; Joint Base Lewis-McCord, WA; Yongsan, South Korea. I’ve deployed to Kosovo and to Iraq more times than I’d like to remember. I’ve received numerous awards and citations; however, a mentor once told me at a young age in my career to “Never aspire to be remembered by awards and medals. Medals tarnish and awards collect dust. Aspire to be remembered by the hearts and minds of those you have helped mold.” That’s always been my desire and continues to be my desire as a husband, dad, son and friend. Although transition was difficult, I don’t miss the Army per say, but I miss the camaraderie. I miss the people I’ve been honored to serve alongside. Though I stopped wearing Army Greens, my wife and I continue serving alongside some pretty awesome men and women affectionately referred to as Veterans. I suffer from the atrocities of war with PTSD, combat induced anxiety and all the aches and pains I’ve put my body through during the past 20+ years. I continue the good fight, running the race that ought to be run. My fight is to continue reaching out to our military veterans, those also suffering from things no one should have to see, and be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. The last award I received from my Soldiers was a wooden plaque with the poem, “A Soldier’s Request” burned into it. The last stanza in this poem reads, “I shall leave this Army knowing, with my last step and my last breath, that my fate was always safest in your hands. Sergeant, train me.” It may sound cheesy, but that’s how I’ve tried to live my life.