Hi everyone, I’m Matt! This is my very first time writing anything at all, and I’m honored that I’ll be joining the team at ANG. I’m nervous as all get out, and I have no idea what to do, but that’s just about my speed anyway, so here goes nothing. I’m a US Army vet, I spent 13 years in the Illinois National Guard as a 13B (Field Artillery) and deployed twice in that time; once to Iraq in 2005, and once to Egypt in 2010-2011. I got out as a SGT, and I’m beyond honored that I got to spend so much time with such great men and women. I honestly believe that the men and women I served with were some of the best soldiers, leaders, and frankly best PEOPLE that the entire American military has to offer.

Let me start off by saying a quote that I strive to live by on a day to day basis…”If you have a servant’s heart, you will go far.” That quote was uttered to me by my hero (a word I do NOT use all willy/nilly like the rest of this universe) about 6 years ago at a weather conference in my home state of Iowa. Yes, I hail from the land of Slipknot…more on that later. That man was someone that you’ve never heard of, unless you’re a huge weather nerd like I am, so I will keep their name a secret for a later time.

    That has presented some tough challenges to me along the way. I struggle daily with a litany of mental health issues. I’ll be real with you, many days I barely have the strength in me to get out of bed. But, I somehow find a way to do so, and that’s why I’m here. Truth be told, I’m not a huge gamer. I’d love to get further into it, but I don’t have the means to do so right now, although I can have that as a goal to strive for.

    I’m here to share with each and every one of you that it’s worth it to get up every morning. I will do that by sharing with you my struggles, my triumphs, and have a little fun in the process. Hell, maybe some of you can teach me about that there video game thingamajig. My hope is to have even one of you read something of mine and go: “Man, that helped me out in a tough time.” We’re here to lift each other up, and get through the tough times so that we can enjoy and appreciate the good times…and be better for it.

    All that said, I wish each and every one of you a Happy Holidays, and if this time of year is tough for you, as it is for me, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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