My wife and I grew up and graduated from Napa High School, where I enjoyed running track and playing football. Later in life, I became a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion’s mobility counter mobility platoon.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, my team and I breached the minefields that allowed the Marine Corps 1st Tank Battalion and their attached infantry to enter Baghdad. I received a medal with Combat V for Valor for the above actions and other actions in combat.
After my 4 ½ years in the Marines, I returned home and attended the Napa Police academy and became an El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff, where I served on the SWAT team, CSI unit, and the Honor Guard team before having to retire from PTSD.
In March of 2016, I was told a Marine and friend I served with committed suicide. Upon further research, I found that others in my platoon and veterans in general (like me) had fallen apart and were in need of assistance. I found some of these veterans were either homeless or borderline homeless. Unable to locate some of my fellow Marine veterans who needed help, I decided to help any homeless veteran and veteran in need I could find.
On January of 2017, I started a foundation assisting homeless veterans and any veteran in need called Operation Good To Go. I self-run and fund this foundation and provide homeless veterans with a military sea bag with $125 worth of supplies. The contents of the sea bag contain supplies that the veterans are familiar with from when they trained in the field: sleeping bag, tent, clothes, hygiene gear, food, wet wipes etc.
If a veteran doesn’t need the supplies I provide in the sea bag, I budget them $125 toward supplies they are in immediate need of and purchase them myself.
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As a veteran, I believe that homeless veterans living conditions are very similar to the way we used to train as veterans in the field and that’s where homeless veterans are. Per my research, Napa possibly has 25-plus homeless veterans and I want to give back to my city and county that raised me. So far I’ve been able to assist 10 El Dorado County homeless veterans, one Sacramento County homeless veteran and one homeless veteran living on Hawaii.
I currently have Marines from my platoon helping me locate homeless veterans in their home towns across the U.S. I advised them if they find three homeless veterans, I would fly myself to them and we will give the sea bags to the homeless veterans together. I’m asking my hometown of Napa to please help me bring awareness to the homeless veterans surviving in Napa.
Operation Good to Go: facebook.com/pg/OperationGoodToGo.
El Dorado, California