Columnist: An introduction
I’m very excited to introduce myself to you as the newest contributor to the LaGrange Daily News. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity and will do my very best to entertain you, inspire you, or both with each column.
Now, here’s a little about me. I’m a comedian, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. I’m also a lifelong stutterer. In fact, I come from a long line of disabilities. I stutter, my father was blind and my mother and brother are Alabama fans. Obviously, I’m an Auburn guy. I hope you won’t hold that against me. Georgia has always been my second favorite team in the SEC.
Opelika is where I was born, raised and where I continue to call home, but I’ve lived all across the country and have been stationed all around the world.
As a comedian and speaker, I’ve been paid to run my mouth in 26 states, with Maine and North Carolina joining the list by year’s end. I’ve performed comedy and given keynotes for a wide variety of audiences. In April alone, I performed for a disability group in Tennessee, a church in Georgia, a college in Pennsylvania and a conference in New York. Those last two are a long way from Opelika.
I’ve worked with the likes of Louie Anderson, James Gregory, Jeff Foxworthy and the Duck Dynasty crew. I’ve also had the incredible honor of entertaining troops in 14 different countries around globe. Imagine that — a stuttering guy who speaks for a living. If that’s not the American dream, I just don’t know what is.
My love for writing came to light a few years ago when Chyna, my Labrador Retriever of over 15 years, passed away. I wrote about her to help me cope and shortly thereafter was asked to write a weekly column for my hometown paper. Now, three and a half years later, I’m blessed to be able to say that my column appears in 10 newspapers. I also have a new lab. Her name is Ruby. Oh, I have a cat, too. I acquired her in my divorce. I actually love that cat, too. Who knew I was a crazy cat boy?
Additionally, over the past two years, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” published three of my stories in five different books.
I’ve served in the army in some capacity since 1992. I started out as an army medic. After that four year stint, I returned home for college. After graduation and 9/11, I decided to go back into the Army by way of officer candidate school at Ft. Benning. I deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2003-04. After leaving active duty in 2006, I joined the Alabama National Guard and deployed two more times to Iraq. Today, I serve in the U.S. Army Reserves where I hold the rank of major.
Lately, I’ve been writing about how my faith and counseling has gotten me through the hard times of the past year, which included a divorce and being diagnosed with PTSD. The feedback from my openness has been incredibly rewarding.
I’ll often write about my faith, family, friends, veterans, stuttering, dogs and cats, football, life in the south, my military experiences and so much more. To quote a famous yet fictitious Alabamian, “My column is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
I really hope you enjoy what you read, and please know that your feedback is greatly appreciated.