Tiffany and I first met at McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco, Washington. She was a couple of inches taller than me with a surprisingly attractive bowl haircut. Our friendship grew as we hung out with the same people and both played sports. By high school, we were spending lots of time together, and I noticed she had grown into a truly beautiful person on the inside and out. There was a specific day – a sunny summer afternoon on the Columbia River – where I remember seeing Tiffany with her brother, Travis, and their cousins in a broken-down boat. We drove up to them and asked if they needed any help. Her cousins said “no,” but I knew that was no reason to not offer Tiffany a ride. She quickly hopped in our boat, and a few months later we were dating.
After high school, I left for West Point and Tiffany attended Columbia Basin Community College (prior to attending Whitworth College in Spokane). The transition and separation were difficult, but we knew God had a plan (even if we were unsure of what it meant in our lives). We continued to grow closer, talking on the phone, writing letters and emails, and visiting each other two to three times each year.
During the winter of our senior year in college, I asked Tiffany to marry me. I chose a Pasco park where I had asked her for one of our first kisses. She happily said yes and we married a year later.
Army training kept us apart for the first part of our marriage, until we moved into our first home at Fort Lewis, Washington. Five months later, I deployed to Iraq. Again, we knew God had a plan, no matter how difficult or trying our life seemed to be at the time.
Six months into my deployment, a roadside bomb nearly ended my life, and left me seriously injured. I questioned God’s plan for my life. But Tiffany trusted God. Her love – and the love of family and friends – built a rampart around me. I slowly began to trust God and the plans He had for us.
I chose to continue on Active Duty serving our Country and trying to make a positive difference in others’ lives. I was able to teach leadership and command a Warrior Transition Unit at West Point. After that, I spent six months in Ft. Benning, Georgia at the Captain Career Course.
Tiffany and I moved from Washington to Virginia to North Carolina to New York to Georgia and back to Washington. Along the way, we have been blessed with three little boys: Grady, Graham and Baylor.
We are enjoying life here in Spokane, Washington, as I have taken a position with Gonzaga University's ROTC Program. Each and every day in the Army brings us new adventures and excitement. I look forward to attending further Army schooling and preparing the Gonzaga ROTC Soldiers for Military life. God continues to guide us on this wonderful and sometimes unknown path.