This is the story of Jose Luis Sanchez. Due to the short attention spans of our society, we see stories all too often of someone being placed in difficult circumstances, and then miraculously they’ve overcome the situation and now they’re super successful and it’s relatively simple happy ending for everyone involved. Nobody talks about the dark times, the periods where it’s difficult to just get through the days. It’s a facet of success that is often overlooked.
When Jose was hit with an IED that mangled his right leg and robbed him of his left leg, he was angry. While we’re sure there was some directed at the Taliban and the fighters in Afghanistan, he admits, he was angry with himself. He felt that he had let his Marines down. Down the rabbit hole he went. As he went through the rehabilitation process the darkness festered. It was buried deep down inside.
Upon returning home the full weight of his situation hit. Jose was angry and for a time, the rage fueled his life, the darkness, as he calls it slowly overtaking and dictating his actions. Until…another Marine, hurting differently, but from the same wars… reached out. At first, there was hesitation. This Marine had no physical damage from the war, but rather, his mind was eating at him, through survivors guilt. He felt guilty that he had lived, unscathed where so many had not. When it hit Jose that this was a real issue, it shook him out of his darkness.
He has since dedicated his life toward helping veterans engage with the community through fitness. Allowing veterans and civilians to find common ground where they both feel confident and assured that they have something worthy to contribute now that their part in the war is over. Through his non-profit, Rise Above Hardship, Jose mentors and helps veterans find their way through the post-war maze to success. Ultimately this has led Jose towards gaining peace in his own mind as well. Proving the point that helping our brothers heal, ultimately heals our souls as well.