But, growing up, they had a vision for our future that far exceeded our situation. Their lessons of hard work and dedication shaped my life and led me to join the South Carolina Army National Guard at the age of 17, and at the age of 19, volunteer to serve our country in Iraq with the 122nd Combat Engineering Company attached to the 101st Airborne. Our job was to find Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as IEDs, and make it home in one piece. We were lucky; we brought everyone home physically in tact. But the mental stress of combat took hold on many of my fellow soldiers.