BROTHERHOOD, LOSS, AND BEING A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Scott here, founder of Freedom Hill and the one pictured on the left. It was late 2005 then, I was 22 years old, less than 6 months out of boot camp and riding out a sandstorm on a shooting range in Kuwait before my unit rotated north to Iraq. I didn't know it then, but in less than 5 months I'd be medevacked after being injured during an intense dusk attack on our base west of Baghdad. My physical wounds were minor and healed not long after, but like many of my brothers and sisters who've fought in America's longest wars, the mental stress of what I experienced so long ago, I still manage daily.
My childhood friend Brian, pictured on the right, is somewhere in Afghanistan. It was around 2004 when he was with the Army's 10th Mountain Division. Brian and I played football shoulder to shoulder through high school.
When I moved back home after the service, I moved in with Brian and some other friends of ours. We spent many late nights talking about what we had gone through during our deployments. Conversations about the chaos of combat, losing friends, survivors guilt, maimed enemies, asking ourselves if we could only go back and do things differently. We had completely different experiences, but shared many of the same challenges coming home. After our lease was up, I moved out of state and Brian was there to help me like he always was. We drove cross country together in my pickup towing everything I owned in a small u-haul trailer behind us. He helped me unpack for a couple days and I dropped him off to catch the Amtrak train home. Brian and I saw and talked to each other less and less as the years stretched on, but we kept in touch as well as we could.
On an early February morning in 2013, I got a call from an old mutual friend that I'll never forget. It was the worst phone call I've ever received. Brian had taken his own life the night before. Alone, without reaching out to anyone for help. He was gone. There was nothing I could do to bring him back or tell him how much he meant to me and everyone else in his life. Not a day goes by I don't think of him. I miss Brian but I am also proud of him. Proud of who he was and proud of his service to our country.
In the years after losing Brian I was able to finish college using the GI Bill. I studied business and along the way learned about some great companies out there that use business to make a difference. When I asked myself what I wanted to do if I could to anything with my life. I knew it was help as may other Veterans like Brian as I could with every day I have left on this earth. His story is tragically all too common. There are great resources out there but we'll never be able to do enough to honor our Heroes, help point them in the direction of the great resources that do exist and do our best to put Vets to work in a supportive environment.
The Freedom Hill team of Veterans and Veteran allies work together everyday in honor of all our Veterans we have lost to combat and the war within. We honor their legacies of service and friendship and are proud to share a message of healing for all our warriors that are out there struggling in silence. Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters and Freedom Hill Folk School were founded to be a light in the darkness, support those that have sacrificed so much for us all and let our Warriors know that they too can find their own peace and purpose after service.
We need your help to make our mission of service a success. Every single order, big or small, puts Vets to work and offers healing experiences at Freedom Hill Folk School and Farm. Please consider starting your day with Freedom Hill Coffee at your home and office or picking up some apparel and gear today. Thanks for supporting us, thanks for sharing our story.