In the Fall of 2016, I received a phone call from a long-lost brother, a brother with whom I served in the 82nd Airborne Division for nearly a decade. What he had to say would change my life. At that time, I was enjoying a successful career as a BMW Technician in Katy, Texas. The years leading up to this moment were full of trials, but all had been worth it.
After five overseas deployments, nine years and ten months of active service in the military, I received the coveted DD-214. Now that I was on terminal leave, as some of us call it, I didn't know what to do. I was lost and recovering from a failed business venture. Chris came to the rescue and helped get my head on straight, and within two weeks I was enrolled at Nascar Technical Institute. Graduating with Honors and an acceptance to BMW STEP, I found myself in Phoenix for a time where I would eventually end up in Texas.
While in school and Texas I would make lasting friendships with other great Veterans and some non-veterans. Over the course of three years, these men would profoundly impact my life on a personal level as well as professional, and I carry their influence with me still.
We have always had a passion for motorcycles, Chris coming from a sport-bike background and myself from dirt bikes as a teenager. That evening in 2016 he extended to me the opportunity to build and live a dream. How could I turn this down? All I've wanted to do since before I got out of the military was to build motorcycles. This venture though would have a twist. Not only would we be working on motorcycles again but we were to create something even more significant.
We've all lost brothers and sisters because of the War on Terror, both in combat and once we've returned home. These numbers continue to grow at an alarming rate, and each one gets harder. All that we can hope to do is maintain the brotherhood we once had while serving; strength in numbers, no man left behind, whatever you want to call it.
I was totally in, but I would have to wait a year in order fulfill my obligation to BMW. When it finally came time for me go I was allowed to leave a few weeks early. Benny and Spencer were and are very supportive, and to them, I am very grateful. On September 22, 2017, I said goodbye to my technician brothers and hit the road for South Carolina.
This move was hard since I was leaving one family behind for another. It was hard because I was moving even farther away from my family in Utah. I had a lot of time to think, the road would be blurry at times and others a hundred miles would pass, and I wouldn't even realize. I questioned myself about what I had done and what I was about to do. I don't like being in my head that long, it's not a fun place.
Over the years Chris and I have leaned on each other for advice or just someone to listen. He made it sound as though he needed me in South Carolina, for him. Different times I wondered if I needed me to be in South Carolina because of him. I don't know, and I don't have an answer. What I do know is that I answered my brother's call. I packed up all that I owned and moved across the country again for something higher than myself. I don't know who benefits more and I don't care. All the doubt in my mind dissipated when I crossed the border into South Carolina; I knew that I was home. I am home.