Veteran EOD Brian Sullivan tells his story to President Obama
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 21, 2011
What he did not realize is that he had something much worse than a bad leg: post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It was just the way they describe it,” he said of his state after leaving the Army. “Your world is spinning out of control. You’re going out of your mind. And you don’t know why.”`
Foxboro veteran tells his story to President Obama October 21, 2011
“I was there to advocate for veterans’ benefits and rights,” said the Foxboro native who served two tours in Afghanistan as part of an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit. “I was glad to be able to voice my concerns, and that my voice might be heard for veterans nationwide and worldwide.”
Sullivan, who lives with his wife, Michele, and four children in Virginia and works for defense contractor BAE Systems, was one of four veterans chosen to meet with the Obamas on Wednesday. They got together in a casual setting at Anna’s Pizza and Italian Kitchen in Hampton, Va., after the First Couple spoke on jobs for veterans at nearby Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
“It was totally unexpected,” Sullivan said, adding that there were regular patrons in the restaurant at the time as well. “I was just expecting to meet with some White House staffers for about an hour.”
He was selected by the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for what he thought would be some sort of roundtable discussion. Instead, he found himself conversing with the President of the United States about his dangerous Army career, his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how, after a seven-month struggle, he was able to not only find work to support his family, but eventually landed a job where he can help other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
“He asked everyone to tell something about themselves but, when he came to me, he said, ‘Brian, I see you were an EOD guy,’” Sullivan recalled, impressed that President Obama knew his name and background as an Army Staff Sergeant who disarmed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a warzone.
“I had a compelling job and some true stories to tell about my life,” Sullivan said. “I told my story.”