A native Texan, I answered the call to serve in the Marines after 9/11 and absolutely despised my first 4 years being voluntold to do things no one wants to do. The next 16 were much better, and I wouldn’t trade all the experiences and hardships for anything. The benefits allowed my family to purchase our first home using the VA loan, earn my degree from Claremont McKenna College using the GI Bill, and the worldly views I obtained from my time in the infantry and the intelligence fields matured me beyond my years. In the Marines I learned that without maintaining your integrity, there is nothing left to maintain. I currently live with my family in North Idaho on a small homestead and balance my off time with helping homeschool our kids, taking care of the homestead (and chickens), and hiking in the wild.