William “Bill” Schnarr, Graduated Sentinel
Specialist, U.S. Army
Associate in Science EngineeringTechnology, Florida State College of Jacksonville and Bachelor in Liberal Studies, University of Missouri St. Louis
Following high school, Bill Schnarr enlisted in the U.S. Navy and completed boot camp at RTC Great Lakes in 2002. Upon certification as Boatswain’s Mate he served at various duty stations. After his enlistment with the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, he joined the Missouri Army National and completed Basic Combat Training and Infantry Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2009 he enlisted inthe U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Infantry Division. Bill deployed to Yusufiyah, Mahmoudiyah in December 2009 and later Baghdad, Iraq as an Infantryman in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and later Operation New Dawn.
After returning from Iraq in December 2010 he started suffering from depression and anxiety and attempted suicide in August of 2011. He was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and medically retired from the U.S. Army in March 2013. Bill learned about the Wounded Warrior Project TRACK program and relocated from Missouri to Florida to begin pursuing his education at Florida State College of Jacksonville. Through the TRACK program, Bill joined a cohort of veterans to complete 2 years towards an associate degree with the support of staff from WWP.He initially had no plans of finishing college and did not have the confidence at that time he would even complete a degree. After completing two semesters, Bill met with Sentinels of Freedom Founder and CEO Mike Conklin who helped him plan out his next mission in life so he could support his family through receiving an education.
Bill was accepted to Sentinels of Freedom for the Fall 2014 cohort to receive ongoing support through the completion of a bachelor’s degree. SoF provided ongoing mentoring and financial coaching in addition to a financial subsidy to support Bill, his wife Crystal, and their 2 daughters. After the completion of his associate degree in 2016, SoF supported Bill in moving back to Missouri where he enrolled at the University of Missouri St. Louis. During his time at the University, Bill found a passion in working with other Veterans and volunteering with his local VFW. Following graduation, he accepted an initial position with the St. Patrick’s Center helping homeless Veterans off the streets and back on their feet again. Bill currently works as a case manager for the Veteran Community Project, a non-profit that builds tiny home communities for homeless veterans.
“The biggest aspect of SoF was meeting Mike and knowing that there was someone who had my back going forward. While it wasn’t always easy, the time and investment that Mike put into me are what helped me get to where I am today” – Bill Schnarr