What an amazing journey it has been academically, physically, and spiritually since we began to work with one another in 2017. I have, “grown-up” in so many ways and have done this with your continued support and love. SOF has been more than just a monthly stipend, in fact, it has become a family for me since leaving the service. I have been exposed to so many different opportunities through the program and have met many servicemen and women who are current and former active SOF recipients. My journey at Columbia and my transition to Colorado in less-than-ideal means have all been supported by SOF and the staff. When times were tough, I could call on anyone to vent and or brainstorm aloud. I am not sure where I would be without the support of SOF and its staff today.
As many may or may not know, my transition much like my fellow brothers and sisters has been a rough one. I had many demons to confront and various physical conditions to look after. This came at a price and I eventually spent two weeks in isolation inside of a psychiatrist after attempting suicide. Upon my release, SOF went above and beyond to make sure that I was well and on a healthy path. I spent time weekly on the phone with Havilah just talking and had several outings with Samantha. SOF did not have to do this, but again, SOF has become a second family that truly cares about all aspects of my transition.
After spending a short time in corporate America and getting wrapped up in the never-ending hustle and bustle of having to “make it,” I truly found myself. I knew then, and I know now, that I want to be in business and use not only my hands but my intellect as well. After contemplating various paths, I have decided to go back to school to pursue a mechanical engineering degree. I can finally say that I am happy and content with the direction I am now going.
SOF has done a great job of teaching me that the world is filled with a plethora of people that want to give in any way possible to see my transition and professional dreams become a reality. Prior to my interactions with SOF staff, my outlook of the world was dark and gloomy. I can now say that I have people I can trust and count on if I ever need anything. I appreciate this aspect the most about the SOF staff and community.
Thank you for being such an integral support system in my transition to the civilian world.
Adam J. Pawlowski