It’s a common theme we see. Veterans come home, have difficulty transitioning, then boom, suddenly they are incredibly successful. It also seemingly happens overnight, but what is the truth of the matter? The truth of the matter is that the road to success is paved with hardship. Few know and understand it better than Ivan Perez, a United States Marine Corps veteran who was wounded in action but is now chasing down new dreams each day.
Coming from a small town in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Ivan Perez wanted to give back to his mother and his country. She had sacrificed so much for him, and he felt that he ought to do something worthwhile with his life. He enlisted into the Marine Corps, as an infantryman, in a time of war, an 0331, Machine Gunner. During a deployment in the Triangle of Death in Iraq 2007, Ivan was hit by a round from an enemy sniper. It didn’t hit his spine, but it did damage his nerves. Cauda Equina Syndrome. During his surgeries and 3 month long medical induced coma, Ivan flatlined three times.
Flatlined three times. But came back each time. Ivan wasn’t done with this life. He wasn’t done fighting. Through alcohol, through depression, through a divorce, through school troubles, through more of his friends coming back wounded or hurting from the war…Ivan endured it all. And here he is still pushing his boundaries every single day.
The promise of a brighter future came through Sled Hockey. Ivan had played before but had stopped playing when life happened. Life…things like getting ready to start your own business as a chef, having attended Le Cordon Bleu and having a passion for food, yet because social security screwed up having to put your life on hold and even losing part of your family. Funny how life always seems to try and get in the way of what is best for us. It would not deter the young Marine. Despite all of his setbacks, he found a way to Sled Hockey, an outlet, a passion he could pour himself into.
Upon his return to the sport, a fire was lit inside of him. Training relentlessly, like a madman, with a savage appetite for success that could not be quenched. As he continues his quest for dominance on the ice, we are reminded of one thing.
You can’t stop a Marine on a mission. You just f***ing can’t!
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