October 28, 2019
Dear Veteran Family,
Hi my name is Megumi Suzuki and I am an Army Veteran. I decided to join the Army because I needed a big change in my life for my daughter and I. Joining was the best decision I ever made. I went through a lot, but I am a much stronger person today, and have a deeper appreciation for this country. Best of all I feel like I belong with all of you and lost without my battle buddies. I went to Fort Sill for my basic training and Fort Gordon for my AIT (25N). My first duty station was Fort Hood Texas and within the first month I was there; I was told that I was going to deploy to Iraq in less than two months. My heart felt very heavy because I had to tell my daughter I had to send her back to California. We were already separated for about 8 months for my training and now we will be separated for an even longer time for my deployment. She was about 2 years old then and I was really sorry I was going to miss out on her early toddler years.
During my time as a soldier I went through a lot of loneliness being away from my little girl. I had a lot of quiet time, too much actually, that I’d catastrophize about everything. I remember being on a plane to Iraq with my full gear on, M16 hooked to my vest and I was thinking to myself. Wow, I might not come back. I was feeling very sorry to my girl and thought well as least if I’m gone there will be money for her. Deployment was 12 hr shifts 7 days a week. My daily challenge was too stay awake and not fall asleep on shift. Nine months later we made it home safe. My life back at hood was pretty much gym, work, gym, a cup of tequila, sleep, 0530 start all over again. I finally got my baby back and we lived together in a nice apartment near post. I was so happy. It was so shocking how much she grew up. She was speaking in Korean better than myself and had this whole new personality that I felt like I was meeting for the first time. I was so impressed. But I had no idea that coming back from deployment, transitioning back to the states would affect me. My daughter came back to me already raised a certain way so it was hard to parent.
When I got out of the Army I came out with a percentage for my plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, tinnitus, and anxiety/depression. I’m thankful that I am able to receive regular counseling to deal with my issues. Second baby boy later, and traumatic marriage and divorce, I am now backing in school trying to start our lives over. As a single mom of two children I had to really push myself to keep moving forward and not to give up. I need all the help I can get. I’m not going to be afraid to ask for help anymore. it wasn’t for all my benefits I could not survive the way I am. I searched and took advantage of any resources I could find and also update any fellow veteran with the same information. I feel like we already understand each other and automatically want to help each other. The Veteran Center at school is my happy place, my second home.
At the Veteran Center is where I met Mike Talleda and learned about his Wounded Heroes of America Foundation. You know the feeling right place at the right time. Yes, praise the Lord. To describe Mr. Talleda he is a wonderful caring person, a very good person. He has been through a lot and had stories and experiences to share with me that gave me hope and encouragement. His foundation has helped so many veterans, spouses, and single parents. I am so thankful that he has included me and my children into all this. I am motivated to do my best and succeed so that I am able return the goodness and love to help our brothers and sisters. I want to thank you for your service and wish you all the blessing to succeed as well.