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Behind the Mask: Sacrifice

Q: What does your call sign mean to you?

A: My callsign was given to me after I had the honor of becoming a MAT for OEW. When I think of ‘Sacrifice’, I feel it’s a selfless service to put yourself over something bigger than yourself.

Q: What branch of the military did you serve in (or are currently serving in), for how long, and what was your job?

A: I served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as an infantryman for nine years with three deployments.

Q: Why did you commit to the Masked Athlete program?

A: To be honest, I ran into OEW at my first Spartan Race (Wintergreen, VA 2013) and the OCAs assisted when I needed help throughout the grueling race (my opinion, our OCAs are a huge contributor in OEW's mission). When we finished, a MAT member, who is also a leg amputee but also missing an arm from his wounds in Iraq, asked what I thought of joining OEW. I didn’t think I would be ready for such a commitment, but this is a gentleman I looked up to from following his social media, so to meet face to face and him asking what I thought was a huge honor. I basically joined to challenge myself, but going through the process of INDOC and to be part of a team again, and earn a spot on the team, made me build my confidence again to try my best to be a leader, not just for the wounded veteran culture, but in life in general. OEW has done quite a bit in my personal life to fill those voids in after taking off my uniform, I now stay committed to show others in the Armed Forces community that you can continue to serve and lead outside of the combat boots and deployments.

Q: Motto or principle you live by.
A: Change is good. When you remain the same, you’re not growing.

Q: What is your best or most unforgettable OEW-related memory?

A: My most unforgettable memory was working with Marine CPL Matthew Bradford. Matt stepped on an IED in Haditha, Iraq and has sustained meet serious injuries as he is now completely visually impaired and is a double-leg amputee. Matt & his wife Amanda reached out to OEW to handbike a half-Marathon in their hometown of Lexington, KY and I was asked to guide him as we’d be in separate handbikes. I asked my good friend, Army Sgt Nick Koulchar, to assist us in our mission as he also is on a separate bike. Around mile 12, Matt & I collided bikes, which was the result of breaking my left hand. When I got my baring, I ran over to Matt & apologized, but his response totally summed up the type of warrior spirit  Matthew carries within himself: “Eh, I got blown up. This is nothing.”  We all finished the race, and the humility I received from that day working alongside Matt will always be there.

Q: What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a MAT?

A: For anybody who would like to become a MAT member, remember: it’s not about me or’s about all of us. We are not looking for studs, we are looking for physically fit, reliable teammates. And I don’t mean just on the course, there’s logistics that tie into each event which sometimes we all take a part of. Get ready to be a part of something bigger than us.

About INDOC: The application process to apply for the Masked Athlete Team Warrior INDOC opens on an as-needed basis for a short window of submission. Requirements are men or women with military or LEO experience. Announcements are made via social media. Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and check back frequently for our open enrollment announcement.

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