Technical Sergeant, US Air Force
Juris Doctorate, Louisiana State University
Chris made the decision to join the Air Force after his daughter was born in order to secure a future for his young family while accomplishing something with his life. He decided very early on that he would use the education benefits available to him and completed his bachelor’s degree from American Military University while active duty. Over his 10 ½ years of service Chris deployed to Iraq twice as well as once to Afghanistan, Jordan, and Curacao.
In the summer of 2012, while assigned to SEAL team 2, his team established a camp in a remote area of Afghanistan where Chris spent 5 months as the teams K-9 handler going on approximately 50 missions and being exposed to numerous attacks and altercations with the local Taliban fighters. Shortly after returning home it was apparent that something was not right, and his wife convinced him to see mental health care resulting in a diagnosis of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Through continued care he has identified his stressors and learned there is nothing that he cannot overcome with the right mindset and support of his family. Through therapy and research, he has learned it is something that is likely to never go away and he must simply be aware of his issues and do the best he can every day.
Chris was accepted to Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) after completing his first semester at Louisiana State University. He was on the verge of giving up due to the financial burden of going to school full-time while also raising a family, in addition to the academic stress of his Juris Doctorate program. SOFprovided financial relief where he could focus on his family and school and also allowed his wife, Shana to return to school for a bachelor’s degree. During his time in school, Chris traveled to DC for a summer fellowship opportunity where Sentinels of Freedom was able to provide networking connections. SOF was also there to provide emotional support and accountability while Chris successfully completed his Juris Doctorae in May 2020.
Shortly after completing his degree, his life was turned upside down again when a close family friend unexpectedly passed away. After his passing, Chris became the lead dog trainer at Mandeville Canine Academy, Ted Carlson Dog Training to carry on Ted’s legacy and provide a safe and happy environment for doegs to learn and play while focusing on continued education and constant growth.
In his spare time Chris enjoys taking his two daughters, Danielle & Madison, to volunteer at the local food bank as well as spending time outdoors fishing, camping, or riding bikes on the local bike paths with his wife, Shana.
“While I could go on and on about the financial assistance that we received, that was only one aspect of the Sentinels program that made it so beneficial for me and my family. By far the most important part of the Sentinels of Freedom program has been the quality of individuals I have met as a result. Beginning with the staff, at least the ones I have been lucky enough to interact with, every member of the Sentinels network has gone out of their way to make us feel like family.”