30. BONUS: How One Veteran Reinvented Himself After Trauma

Show Notes | April 23, 2020 | Episode 030

Warning: This episode covers potentially triggering topics including suicide, substance abuse, and sexual assault.  

In this episode, we are sharing a raw conversation with entrepreneur and veteran John Krotec of GreenZone Hero. John is using his experiences, including a traumatic brain injury and childhood sexual assault, to bring what he has learned from them to the military community. We are proud to share John’s story during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and to shine light on a conversation that is often times hard to have.  

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Explore These Resources  

If you or someone you know is struggling, please consider these resources:  

The National Resource Directory  

Veterans Crisis Line  

Vet Call Center 1-877-WAR-VETS  

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 800-656-HOPE  

National Sexual Violence Resource Center  

In this episode, we discussed the following resources:  

GreenZone Hero  

Straight Outta Combat  

Task Force Zen  

Fractals Poetry  

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In this episode, we are sharing a raw conversation with entrepreneur and veteran John Krotec of GreenZone Hero. John is a firm believer that, “living is people.” It is people who create our experience and our existence here. He is using his experiences and what he has learned through them, including a traumatic brain injury and childhood sexual assault, to pour back into the military community. GreenZone Hero is an online directory of businesses (both veteran and non-veteran owned) that support freedom in one way or another. This includes giving special pricing to veterans and active duty, employing veterans, or supporting the military community in some other way. John is also the mind behind Straight Outta Combat Radio and Task Force Zen Radio, podcasts that tell the stories of our combat veterans so we can change the negative stereotypes surrounding veterans and have an open conversation. 

It is clear through spending even just 5 minutes with John that he has a powerful mindset and is a necessary voice for combat veterans whose stories need to be told. Everything he does is with the goal of benefitting our military community. This includes staffing GreenZone Hero with milspouses. Through his work, John is unveiling what it’s like to be a veteran and what it’s like in the life of a service member.  

John’s story is a powerful one. He is an Army veteran who has served both active duty and in the Army Reserves. After his service, John married his wife and opened a business that they owned together for 23 years. In 2012, things came to a boiling point in John’s life. He was involved in a drunk driving accident (where he was the driver) and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Following this trauma, demons from his childhood sexual assault came to the surface. John began struggling with mood swings, anger, and insomnia. He was forced to sell his business and faced the potential of losing his marriage.  

In 2015, John called a crisis hotline to get the help that he needed to live his life again. Since then, John has been on a journey of self-discovery and has reinvented himself at 56 years old. He kept his trauma hidden and buried for over 42 years. His near-death experience forced him to confront his past. In this episode, John gives some advice to military spouses and transitioning service members: You are not your trauma. You are not the things that happened to you. You are not damaged. With firm self-love and practice of self-forgiveness, you’ll begin the journey. It really is one day at a time.  

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If you or someone you know is struggling and is in need of assistance, please reach out to one of the resources listed above.