Veteran pays it forward after own struggle

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A retired sergeant is giving back to his fellow soldiers after fighting a battle he never expected.

The Veteran and Military Center at Wright State University’s Allyn Hall is the most likely place you will find Tyler Thompson.

The junior at Wright State University is continuing his transition from soldier to student and helping others accomplish the same.

But life after the military brought a new battleground where he was never prepared to fight.

“I thought I was the only one,” said Thompson.

Thompson served about seven years in the United States Army, joining in 2002. After being deployed to Iraq in 2005, he would leave the military and return to his Richwood, Ohio home.

That is when his family and friends began to notice something was wrong.

“I was really angry,” said Thompson. “I just didn’t know what was going on. I just couldn’t control my emotions.”

Thinking life as a civilian was not the right fit, Thompson would reenlist and return to combat getting deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.

It was the second tour that took another major toll on his mental health.

“How did it get to this point,” Thompson would ask himself. “I never had any issues with anything my entire life. Never had physical health issues or mental health issues. All of a sudden, people are telling me you got a problem? That was a hard pill to swallow.”

It would take a friend and another soldier to pull Thompson aside and tell him to seek help.

Three years later, Thompson is continuing his rehabilitation. It was a rough journey he believes led him to continue his calling to help others.

Thompson is a rehabilitation services major at Wright State University. He is hoping to turn his struggles with PTSD into a strength that will help others overcome the same battles he is still fighting.

“Them knowing I’ve already been through all that, they feel like there’s hope,” said Thompson. “He made it. I can make it, too.”

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