Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Bryan Smethurst.
Bryan served as an Apache crew chief with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 for 13 months and served 11 years in the Army.
Bryan enlisted in the Army before his senior year of high school and trained at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He was just 19 years old when he deployed to Afghanistan. Bryan was responsible for the maintenance of his unit’s helicopters.
He recalls the recurring rocket attacks at his camp. Bryan said, “I think that constant fear of never knowing what could happen…for me, there was no major traumatic experience, it was just a constant, over and over. When I came home, I didn’t really realize I had an issue.”
Not realizing he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Bryan began self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Urged by his best friend, he finally sought help from the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs. He was admitted to the Eagle’s Nest Rehabilitation Program. In 2014, his therapist sent him to the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic. After participating for two years, Bryan served as an ambassador and mentor to other Veterans at the summer 2017 clinic. He is deeply inspired by the Veterans he works with and says being able to learn and help them has given back to him in incredible ways.
Bryan is now a house manager and peer support supervisor for First Step House, a treatment facility for substance abuse.
Thank you for your service, Bryan!
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
About the author: Jamie Dannen is a public affairs specialist in the Technical Career Field Program at VA New Orleans. She is an Army Veteran and a graduate of Kansas State University.