Beth Ford Roth
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Blogger Beth Ford Roth was born into a military family and has covered issues important to service members and their loved ones for many years. She has worked as a broadcast journalist in both commercial television and public radio.
Carlos had also to come to terms with the fact that his life after the Marine Corps looked nothing like he thought it would when he enlisted as a kid.
“In Chicago I was a punk teenager, and I needed change. The Marine Corps was a way out. Where I was headed in my life, it was a bad route. I joined the Marine Corps to stay alive. I was ...
Our sleepy, overcast Sunday morning eased into a sunny afternoon, and Carlos and Logan were headed off to see a Padres baseball game in downtown San Diego - an invitation from a fellow Marine.
Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since he returned from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.
“It’s not easy. I don’t go ...
As our conversation at the Carlsbad coffee house winded down, a palm frond fell from a tree onto a nearby table.
The loud bang quieted the patio of voices, until the embarrassed laughter of diners being scared over nothing broke the silence.
I turned back to face Carlos. He was looking down at his hands. Logan had moved from his comfortable position beneath the table, and was now resting his ...
Meribeth Russell sited a statistic about Freedom Dogs of which she is most proud.
“Nothing is guaranteed, and there are always people you wish you could’ve done a little more for. They’re like family and we follow them for life. But I can tell you we’re 100 percent in one regard- not one of our participants has committed suicide.”
I found this statistic particularly impressive, considering the ...
When Carlos first started attending training sessions at Freedom Dogs, he felt he didn’t fit in. Big reason: Carlos was afraid of dogs. He didn’t like them, and he believed they didn’t like him. In the tough, gang-infested Chicago streets where Carlos grew up, dogs were treated more as weapons than pets.
A big part of Freedom Dogs is getting a shell-shocked troop to trust him or ...
A critical care nurse and veteran’s daughter named Meribeth Russell started Freedom Dogs in 2006.
Russell got the idea when she participated in a hospital study that found obese children who were able to bond with a therapy dog had an easier time losing weight.
Russell decided to translate that study into something that could help the disabled veterans returning from Iraq. She pleaded with the leadership at Camp ...
Without the distractions of combat, symptoms of PTSD began plaguing Carlos’s everyday life. He began to drink heavily to blot out the depression and anxiety he was feeling.
And the guilt.
When Carlos was in Iraq, he didn’t know the villagers were mostly uneducated and illiterate. The Iraqis traveling the road it was his job to protect couldn’t read the signs posted by the American military.
In the days following the suicide car bombing in 2004, Carlos didn’t feel angry. He didn’t feel frightened. He didn’t even mourn the men who were so brutally killed that day. Carlos didn’t feel anything at all. He was completely numb.
He learned to detach himself from his own well-being. He accepted what he assumed was his impending death; it was clear to him he would ...
There was a shyness about Carlos, despite his intimidating appearance. Muscles earned from years of required physical fitness bulge under his black shirt, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows to reveal a maze of tattoos covering both of his forearms.
Shiny rhinestones rested in each of his earlobes, and a steal post pierced the area below his lower lip.
Carlos nodded bashfully, and greeted me in a quiet voice ...
I first met Carlos Cruz in 2012, the Sunday after the Fourth of July, and two weeks after he officially retired from the Marine Corps.
It took quite a few email exchanges to nail down the time and day of our meeting. One of the most marked symptoms of the Traumatic Brain Injury Carlos suffered in the suicide attack was his inability to remember small details.
After a few weeks ...