Tucson veterans take a swing at shared struggles

Veterans adjusting to civilian life

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Retiring from the military can be a big transition.

For many of our nation’s brave men and women, stepping out of the service can lead lead to new struggles, both mentally and emotionally.

“Everything was different for me. I had a purpose every morning to get up, I knew what I had to do, everything was there and then all of a sudden it wasn’t," said Army veteran Jason McGowan.

The sudden change was a sharp jolt back home, to day-to-day life for McGowan after serving sixteen years.

“I curled up in a bot... bottle essentially for a few years. I hit rock bottom and that’s when I ended up getting help," said McGowan.

Behind each swing, is a shared struggle.

“The first year of retirement was really hard," said Mario Fernandez. "I couldn’t relate to anything. I couldn’t relate to society, I couldn’t relate to friends.”

Fernandez served 22 years in the Army and is now the Peer Leader in Tucson. He said he has not only seen, but is an example of how the Wounded Warrior Project can help a veteran.

So what looked like a competition at Splitting Timber in Marana Tuesday, was really all about camaraderie after the loss of a military community.

“Every day is a struggle, no matter what your quote on quote demons may be that haunt you. You’re not alone, don’t be afraid to reach out," said McGowan.

Wounded Warrior Project - Tucson Peer Group:

Group Leader: Mario Fernandez

Phone: 858-880-7053

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