“In 1967 I joined the Air Force. My last tour of duty was with the Monkey Mtn 620TCS in Vietnam. After my discharge, I struggled for years with depression and anxiety. I had difficulty interacting with others, and consequently could not sustain in employment. In 1991 I was diagnosed with PTSD. I was fortunate to receive counseling from the local Vet Center, and eventually was granted a disability status through the VA. Although we’ve never met, I have spent time with Michael Salonius, Cheyenne Price, and Philip Folsom.
Their wisdom, passion, and compassion make exceeds what I’ve come to expect from leaders, providers, mentors, or teachers. They each display an abundance of strength, humility and integrity. They have opened Both my mind and my heart to what we are all capable of When given the opportunity and guidance to embrace the best of ourselves.”
— Patrick Horrocks
“My name is Sam M. I served in the U.S. Coast Guard. After departing the Coast Guard I returned to school and then began the hiring process for the Kansas City Mo Police Department. In 2001, I was hired on. I worked the streets for five years and then became a detective in violent crimes.
Due to my experiences in the Coast Guard, being the first small boat to the TWA Flight 800 crash, I became numb to the world. I thought it was good not to have feelings of what I experienced. That carried over to when I became a cop. I worked the inner city and dealt with violence and evil on a daily basis. It started to chip away at my life. I slipped into depression and suicidal idealization for several years. I had a difficult time trusting people and finding the good in humanity. I was distant from friends and family and did not care. It felt as if I lost the fight to live and be alive. I saw my hobbies and motivation to have fun fall away, and my alcohol use increase.
Because of Mike, Phil, and Cheyenne I learned to put down my shield and spear, to take my armor off and be vulnerable. We can only be loved as much as we are willing to have our heart broken, and I am enough. They told me that when you numb one feeling, you numb all of your feelings including joy and happiness. They walk you through a health process of grieving and letting go of the past, through initiation. The major focus is on Warrior Meditation, and is the key to healing. Since my experience I have continued with daily meditation. I have stopped using prescribed depression medication and have seen a major reduction of suicidal idealization. It has only been a month since the Cohort and it has changed my outlook on life. It has taught me to strive for something greater and to be of service to my brother and sister warriors.
Every experience is different. This is not a cure all. They will teach you a great deal of things and it is up to you to do the work and find your enlightenment. It was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I can’t thank them enough. ”
— Sam M.
“I joined the Australian Army in February 1993, initially as a Rifleman in the Infantry, I then transferred to the Parachute Regiment in June 1994. In July 2004 after successfully completing Special Forces Selection I was the posted to one of our Special Forces Units as a Commando. During my 23 year career I had done 7 overseas deployments, 2 to East Timor and 5 to Afghanistan with the Special Forces Task Group.
It wasn’t until after my third deployment to Afghanistan that I began to struggle, I was struggling to comes with terms with society, with who I was and where I was headed, I totally disassociated myself with every part of society, in saying I then completed another 2 tours of Afghanistan in 2009 and 2011. It wasn’t until 2012 that I really knew that I had a problem, I was back to feeling lost, feeling like that I had no purpose in life, no meaning, no fulfilment, I wouldn’t associate with anyone, I guess that I was a loner. I even attempted to take my own life as I could no longer deal with everything and anything.
It was apparent that I had a problem and it wasn’t until I approach the medical staff at work and explained my situation, filled out a number of forms and then the diagnosis was apparent. I was the diagnosed with Chronic PTSD, Anxiety and Depression due to my service and things that I was exposed to overseas.
I began various counseling techniques, doctors appointments and the like, week in, week out. At this stage of my treatment it wasn’t enough, I needed more, then I searched through social media for any additional veterans support and from this I discovered SPARTA. I was immediately overwhelmed and excited that I had finally found and organization, a charity that reaches down into the heart, the soul of what is missing inside.
I was fortunate and honored to attend the project, which I will say has changed my life, my outlook of life and the way that I tackle my day to day struggles. I was also very fortunate to once again attend the project this time as a Shepherd and help other participants along and offer my support where I can.
I could not have done or achieved any of these if it wasn’t for the 3 co-founders of SPARTA, DR Michael Salonious, Philip Folsom and Cheyenne Price and not too mention Jake Schwett and Jasin Miller. These admirable and inspirational people had made me who I am today and given me the strength and willingness to get better and pursue my goal which is now to help other veterans and first responders.
Their wisdom, passion and devotion to duty is something that I’ve never witnessed here in here in Australia in my 23 years in the Army and I commend each and everyone of them for the sacrifice that they show each and everyday during the Project.
"God Speed The Project”
— Damien Wagenfeller