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Sergeant, U.S. Army
Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technologies
Currently attending Montana State University
KJ joined the U.S. Army in 2005 and served in the 25th Infantry Division, deploying twice to Iraq where prolonged exposure to firefights and IED attacks lead to a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Returning to civilian life, KJ struggled with alcohol addiction and found himself homeless and in need of assistance. KJ found resiliency through participating in PTSD treatment programs, spending quality time in the gym, and finding peace through outdoor activities such as fly-fishing and hunting.
While learning how to manage PTSD through cognitive behavior therapy and staying focused on his sobriety, KJ was referred by the Veteran Resource Center at Montana State University while working towards his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. He was accepted to Sentinels of Freedom in December 2019, and current board member, Kent Strazza, became KJ’s close mentor guiding him through multiple engineering internships with Langlas & Associates.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, KJ was unable to access the gym to run indoors. He attempted to run outside, but this aggravated his PTSD. KJ reached out to Sentinels of Freedom for assistance in purchasing a treadmill, which SoF was able to provide.
KJ is on track for early graduation in December 2021 with plans to accept a full-time position as a Superintendent or Project Manager at a notable construction company. He continues to serve as a volunteer with the MSU Veteran Association and Warriors & Quiet Waters, teaching other disabled Veterans the benefits of therapy through the art of fly fishing.