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Jim Mylott

“Once I discovered Wounded Warrior Project, I felt like I was in the clear — handling things better, coping better, and living better.”

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Jim Mylott

On Veterans Day in 1987, Jim Mylott began his 22-year career as a military police officer in the U.S. Army. According to Jim, the military is “almost like the family business.” His father served during the Korean War. All of his uncles on his mother’s side served during World War II. His four brothers served in the Air Force. Even his wife is a veteran.

He deployed to Iraq in 2003, and one day in Ad Diwaniyah Jim’s checkpoint was rammed by a truck rigged with explosives. As the truck was barreling toward him, one of Jim’s soldiers threw him into the cab of a nearby Humvee – saving Jim’s life, but absorbing the full impact of the truck’s collision. He died in Jim’s arms, having bravely sacrificed his life for his squad leader.

“I woke up in the hospital with most of my memory gone,” says Jim. “But his is the last face I see before falling asleep and the first one I see when waking up. It tormented me.”

Jim spent the next two years in the hospital. Multiple doctors told him he’d never walk again, but Jim proved everyone wrong. Yet, he was losing the battle within. “When you throw posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) together, I liken it to having cancer of the soul,” says Jim. “It was like I was lost in the woods.”

One day, while screaming at his young daughter for putting her shoes on the wrong feet, Jim finally realized he needed help. He went to a local vet center, where he learned about Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One of the first events he participated in was a multi-day mental health workshop called Project Odyssey®.

“Before Wounded Warrior Project, I used to have severe anger issues. It was destroying my life, my marriage, and my relationships. I would never open up and talk about it until I went to Project Odyssey. I came back a changed man, leaving a lot of my issues buried there.”

Jim has since rebuilt his relationship with his wife and daughter, and his new lease on life has given him a noble purpose — helping to save the lives of veterans who are considering suicide.

“Thoughts of suicide are real for the lost warrior,” says Jim. “It’s something nobody wants to talk about, but we must. If we can get just one person to put that gun down, change their mind, and choose life, then it’s all worth it.”

Jim doesn’t pretend it’s easy to open up and reveal what’s going on inside the mind of a warrior struggling with PTSD, but he insists it’s a life-changing choice that must be made. He has the mental scars to prove it.

“Deep within, the warrior spirit is that of a survivor,” says Jim. “I survived, and everyone struggling with PTSD, TBI, or any other war injury can survive, too. I’m not dying of PTSD; I’m living with PTSD. I choose to live with it. I choose to talk about it. Every time I can talk with another warrior about PTSD, I heal a little more. When you reach out to another warrior, your survival instincts kick in, and you say to yourself, ‘I’m better than this. I can make it.’”


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