Captain, U.S. Army
Masters in Christian Leadership, School of Urban Missions

John, a 20-year Army veteran, joined the military because he needed a change and felt the military would help him find control of his life. He expected to complete three years, gain a skill, and go home, but the Army had different plans for him. John became a Special Forces Green Beet and highly decorated officer after completing three combat deployments (two to Afghanistan and one to Iraq) while serving his country. After returning from his final deployment, he was assigned to a medical unit at Fort Hood in Texas. Unfortunately, while he was on duty, a service member went on a rampage shooting 19 service members, including John who was shot in the neck. The bullet traveled through his throat and right shoulder leaving his right arm paralyzed. The unknown that followed his injury was the biggest struggle and it was his family, faith, and finding Sentinels of Freedom that helped him through the next phase.

While starting school he was told about SOF from his friend, and fellow Sentinel, Mike Gonzales. SOF’s living and housing subsidy helped alleviate financial stress for him and his family. John also received a stand-up desk provided by VARI, which allowed him to focus on his educational goals and have flexibility in sitting or standing depending on his current pain level. Having a financial counselor will also help him and his family build a solid budget and a stable financial future. Working with mentors in our program is helping him with all aspects of his educational journey.

John completed a Masters in Christian Leadership from the School of Urban Missions (SUM) in San Antonio and will continue sharing his story of resiliency and his faith while becoming an evangelist and preacher. He hopes to use his scars and story to help anyone in need from taking their life and to be a living testament that there is hope and a future no matter your situation. John and his wife, Angel, currently live in San Antonio, TX where they both work at the Roever Foundation. In January 2020, John published his first book, Attacked at Home: A Green Beret’s Survival Story of the Fort Hood Shooting.