By Zach Cline
12th Grade, NCSS
On Veterans day last week, two local veterans came to NCSS to discuss their experiences with the upperclassmen.
Matthew and Jason are both Rhinelander High School graduates who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They talked about the job they did when they were in the Army. They served together in our local National Guard unit. Their job was to go out and find roadside bombs so that civilians and troops were safe. They said a lot of times a one or two day trip would take them five or six days because of how slow they had to travel to be able to detect bombs.
Matthew and Jason talked about how much they enjoyed the Army. They told us some stories of the fun they had when they were there. They told us that it was a good feeling knowing that they were helping and making a difference for their country. They also talked about the brotherhood between soldiers and that, know matter what, they always had each others’ back.
Another thing that they talked about was PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When Matthew was overseas, he was in a very bad accident involving a roadside bomb. He told us that the vehicle he was in had a V-shaped hull that was designed to force the impact of the blast outward. Matthew told us that he had a shattered hip and three lower vertebrae were popped. To deal with all the stress, after he came back, Matthew got a service dog to help him cope with everything.
After everything they talked about and went through, Matt and Jason still have some of the same routines from when they served. For example, Jason told us that he walks through his house every night and checks every nook and cranny before he goes to bed. Habits are hard to break, whether they are good or bad.
My favorite part of the whole discussion was hearing what Matthew and Jason had to say about their time in the Army. They told us that serving was the best thing that they ever done, and would love to go back if they could. Matthew and Jason are still involved with military issues. Jason works at the county’s Veterans Services Office and Matt works with The 22 Project. The 22 Project works to bring attention and solutions to the serious issue of suicide by veterans. Thank you to all our veterans and thank you for Matthew and Jason for a powerful visit.