Episode 379 Thyron Heyward Combatting PTSD and Building Resilience Transcript

This transcript is from episode 379 with guest Thyron Heyward.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Thyron Hayward. Thyron is a Navy veteran who served as a corpsman during Desert Storm, and he has a powerful story of resilience and transformation to share with us. Uh, after struggling with PTSD for, uh, for years following his military service, he embarked on a journey of healing and self discovery.

And today he holds a master’s degree in clinical counseling, psychology, and runs a coaching and mentoring business dedicated to supporting veterans who may be facing similar challenges. [00:01:00] Through his work, he aims to let veterans know that they are not alone and that help is available, which is very closely in line.

As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much straight in line with the mission of this show is to let folks know that they are not alone, that whatever it is that they’re going through, there have been other people who’ve went through it and they’ve come out on the other side, stronger and more, uh, you know, resilient.

For the, the struggles that they went through. Um, and so hopefully we’ll be able to share some of those stories today and get that message across to some of the listeners. So, uh, first, before we get into that, I want to welcome you to the show. I’m really glad to have you here.

Thyron Heyward: Thanks, Scott. I’m really happy to be here and, uh, this is a great cause. I’m glad you have this show. Uh,

Scott DeLuzio: once when we get a little bit more into it and we start, uh, having a little conversation, they’ll, they’ll hear a little bit about what you’re doing and, and, um, you know, there’ll be. Uh, interested in learning more about it and how the, that your services and the [00:02:00] resources that you offer, uh, are going to be able to help them, or maybe even the folks that they know who might be struggling, just don’t know where to turn.

Um, because there are, um, I like to tell people there are a lot of places out there, a lot of people doing amazing things, uh, for veterans. They’re, they’re, they’re providing services. Um, but if you don’t know where to go. Uh, you don’t know where to go and that’s, that’s kind of a problem. So I like to highlight resources kind of like what you’re doing and, uh, share it with people and let them know that there are alternatives outside of the VA, even though the VA, you know, they have a lot of services available.

Um, that’s just the one that people tend to know about and they go to, and they feel frustrated when that doesn’t quite meet their needs. And so, um, you know, I, I like highlighting, uh, you know, other. Resources like this, uh, to, to share that with folks. So, uh, before we get into what it is that you do, let’s, I like to kind of just take a step back and take a little journey, uh, down memory lane here and talk about your time in the Navy as a [00:03:00] corpsman and your experiences during Desert Storm.

What was that like for you and, and, uh, what were your, your experiences like?

Thyron Heyward: well, I’d have to say, you know, when I was in Desert Storm, um, I was 20 years old. Uh, so you gotta imagine, you know, 20, 21 years old, um, serving on the front lines as a corpsman, and

the only word I can think of is, is, is life changing. Um, that there is nothing short of life changing, uh, that, that when you’re, when you’re in the rear and you’re practicing and you’re, and you’re, um, you know, running your drills is one thing, but, but when you’re actually there and it happens, um, being able to try to find the words to describe the aftermath, it’s not something that you’re really prepared for.

Um, but I have to say, despite it all, [00:04:00] um, the experience was one that I don’t think I will ever forget, uh, to say the least, but, um, it, it, it was, it was, it opens your eyes to a lot of things, to see how the world really kind of functions. Um, a little bit of politics, a whole lot of life of how, um, you know, we all were kind of, we were all kind of just, I think, really shocked.

The fact that we were in war being, you know, like I said, at 20 years old and then because most of us are joining the military just thinking we’re here for, you know, college money or to get some type of training. Um, but, uh, but the military actually helped me grow up. Um, the, um, experience was one that I’m pretty sure I’ll only be able to share with other veterans.

Um, [00:05:00] that our population is elite. And that’s enough to where we’re able to, to have those encounters with others. Um, and, and it’s like we only that population can understand what the other person is, that’s kind of on.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I get that. And I hear that from a lot of other veterans too. It’s like, I don’t know that anybody who hasn’t been there, who hasn’t, um, you know, whether you’ve been in combat or not, you, you’ve been in the military, you’ve been trained to know what to sort of expect, whether you’ve actually experienced it yourself.

Um, you, You have a better understanding from, you know, the general population, whose idea of combat might be, you know, from the movie screen. Um, you know, that’s pretty much the extent and how close they’ve actually come to combat themselves is, you know, a saving private Ryan, albeit as close as they can get it on a movie screen.

That was, that was pretty damn close. Um, you know, [00:06:00] um, you know, that, but it’s, that’s. Still light years away from what combat actually is that because it’s more than just the visual and the audio it, you know, where you’re seeing the movie, you’re hearing the sounds. It’s the heart racing. It’s the, if I don’t do this to complete perfection, somebody might die.

Um, somebody will die. You know, that type of feeling that you get inside that gut wrenching feel. Um, How do you explain that to somebody? How do you explain that feeling? And that’s to your point, I think is, is damn near impossible.

Thyron Heyward: um, it’s, it’s always challenging to try to explain. Like I said, it’s always challenging to try to explain to others. Um, what they see and how you. How you live it and went through it, it’s, it’s, it’s not what, it’s like you said, it’s not what you see on TV, it’s totally, it’s, it’s, it’s just two different, two different capacities [00:07:00] and how things really unfold.


Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Thyron Heyward: so yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: After, so you were, you were young in, in Desert Storm, especially in a, a role as a, a corpsman where you’re seeing the worst of the worst when you know there are injuries. There’s, you know, people getting, uh, you know, injured on the battlefield. That’s who they call for that. That’s you that you’re the, the first line, um, you know, of, uh, response for those people in, in order to provide life saving care and they’re calling for you, that’s, that’s the thing that they’re yelling out.

They’re not, they’re not yelling out for anybody else or yelling out for you. Um, and as a young person, like you were, you know, 20, 21 years old, um, that, that’s a lot of weight to be on your shoulders. I remember me at 20 years old, uh, you know, I wasn’t. I wasn’t responsible the way I am now, obviously. And, um, you know, I mean, no, who was at 20 years old?

And like you said, you did a lot of growing up [00:08:00] and, and it’s kind of forced upon you, you kind of just get it thrown at you and you’re not. You’re not changing your mindset and you’re not putting things into perspective. At that point, people, like we said, get hurt, they die. They, you know, things, things aren’t, aren’t great.

But, um, after getting out, you face challenges with that, that too, right? With the PTSD and things like that. Can you tell us about that journey, um, to kind of find healing and, and overcoming some of those struggles that you experienced?

Thyron Heyward: Um, wow, yeah, that was, That was a, uh, serious, um, unexpected part of my journey. Um, of course, when I first got out, I think, like a lot of us, I struggled first to find community. Um, that was my biggest one, trying to relate to simple everyday civilian activities. Uh, you know, going to have a transaction done, and the person might respond to me in a way that, you know, in the [00:09:00] military it’s like, Wait, what do you mean you can’t do that?

Uh, if you can’t do that, then who can? It’s just like, then who do I need to speak to? Or it’s just, trying to, trying to get acclimated to civilian life, um, was really hard. Uh, even more so because my father was a 26 year, uh, Air Force veteran. And then my brother was in the military. My sister was in the military.

So that, that’s, that’s all I knew. So trying to adjust to civilian life was like, Uh, did these people know they don’t have to operate like this? Um, did somebody not let them know that that doesn’t have to be done that way? So, it was, it was like, yeah, learning to, I had to relearn a whole lot of stuff, apparently. And, uh, but I also carried a lot of, you know, my military, um, Lifestyle with me everywhere I go, people pretty much noticed it right [00:10:00] off the back with the yes sir, no sir, yes ma’ams, um, and the whole perfectionist thing, the way just everything is just, they notice the whole, you have a set way of doing things and is that the military and it’s like some of it is and some of it isn’t, some of it is, is what I learned from the military, how I incorporated that into my personality, my characteristics because it works for me, it makes sense to me.

Um, but, it wasn’t until later on, as I’m adjusting, that my PTSD symptoms manifested really heavily, um, to the point where I really did not know what was going on, um, the only thing that I was aware of was the serious anger that I carried, um, and Scott, you might not believe this, but I would get mad. If I saw someone on the street and they like took a piece of trash and threw it on the [00:11:00] ground and there’s like a garbage can right there, I would go ballistic inside.

And I was like, okay, something’s not right. You need to go get help.

Scott DeLuzio: I believe it.

Thyron Heyward: finally I did. And so when I first saw my first therapist, she said, Mr. Hayward, I could write a textbook. Uh, on you, your classic PTSD, and I’m arguing with the therapist. I’m arguing with her, telling her, No, that, are you serious, lady?

What’s wrong with you? I, we don’t have none of that stuff. Do I look like a Yeah, and it was a hard pill to swallow. Um, She even was like, you know, you’re not in the military anymore, so you’re not a corpsman. Which, to me, I felt like she stole who I was. So it’s like, I don’t have an identity. She’s right. So, I, I struggled a lot.

Like I said, it was, it was a dark time. And it was just slowly starting to remember, you know, [00:12:00] or start to, to un, to get out of it. Just slowly, really, really slowly. It is, it is a lifelong process because it continues now, even still. Um, every day, it’s. There’s, there’s a little bit more and, and the light gets lighter, but when you’re in the darkness, trying to explain it to other people, it’s really, it was, like I said, it was most, one of the most challenging things that I, I’d ever dealt with, just trying to explain people that I’m not feeling, trying to explain to them what I meant by that.

When they’re like, well, you know, you’re emotionally compromised right now. I’m just like, well, yeah, I, I hear what you’re saying, but it’s like, you’re not listening to what I’m trying to say and trying to find a way to relate that to other people was really difficult when I started going to the groups, the veteran groups and meeting with other [00:13:00] vets, um, and listening to their stories, um, and listening to them explain their feelings.

Um, It was one of the very first things to help me go, okay, I’m not alone, and, you know, I’m not damaged, I’m not, uh, you know, I’m not a used product of the government. All these different names that everybody always seems to kind of come up with and come out with it. It’s, I realized I was not any of those, and that,

it’s just a, it’s just a day by day process. That was, that was the biggest part, um, and having, you know, the therapist at the VA remind me, in fact, one of the therapists remind me, he said, Mr. Hayward, he said, you’re, not only do you have OCD and PTSD, he said, you’re a perfectionist, he said, that’s a bad combination, he said, so he helped me, uh, [00:14:00] he helped me just kind of really look at what’s, be realistic, you know, get rid of the ear, the, uh, The irrational thoughts.

How to change my, how to change my thinking process. How to, how to go deeper within my own self to find the answers and realize that I had the answers deep within my own self. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: the PTSD, the OCD and perfectionist. Right. I can see how that’s a bad combination, right? Um, but you think about somebody who’s a perfectionist. I think I probably have a, some tendencies of that too. I haven’t had anyone formally say, Hey, you’re a perfectionist, but.

Let’s face it. I, I kind of am, but you know, I, I could see that. And it’s like, internally for me, it’s like, well, why wouldn’t you want to do things the best way possible? Like, why, why would you want to [00:15:00] half ass something? Like, if you’re going to do it, do it and do it right.

Thyron Heyward: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: And to me that like, that just makes sense.

And you see somebody else who’s like, oh, I know there’s a better way to do it, but this is the way I like to do it. Like, well, why that doesn’t make any sense, but going back, right. To your point is that that doesn’t really serve you because you’re not going to change that person and getting mad at them and yelling at them or blowing up inside.

That’s not going to change anything with them. That’s not going to solve the problem. That’s just going to make you. Have heartburn or whatever your, your, your manifestation, whatever it comes up. Right. And it’s going to screw up your day. And that person’s going to go off just fine living in, in, in, you know, ignorant bliss that they are not doing things as well as they can be.

And they don’t really care. And I think if they don’t care, like, I don’t know, should, should we have to care? You know, I don’t know. And, and, you know, I think that’s kind of the point that you, that you’re getting there and that’s a hard, that’s a tough pill to swallow as a [00:16:00] perfectionist. Isn’t it?

Thyron Heyward: It’s almost, it’s almost like saying, after realizing, now knowing and understanding that it is an unrealistic expectation as it’s almost to be a disease within itself, um, it, I had to look at, like how you said, where, where all that it came from and why. Okay. Um. It’s a practice of having to be okay with how other people do things, even though it doesn’t make sense to me, you know, there’s a thousand different ways to do the exact same thing all the time, it’s just the different routes that we take, um, so you’re right, that was a real big one for me, is learning how to calm down and just say, you know what, my way isn’t the best way.

Because it was the way that serves me best when I [00:17:00] needed it. Now, it’s like, I don’t need it, or I don’t have to be that way. But it’s still so difficult, like how you said, because it’s ingrained in us. Probably starting from boot camp, when they tell us, you know, shirts this way, socks that way, you know.

It’s, it’s just certain things that become ingrained in you because it feels natural. It feels natural.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you know, honestly, I, uh, my, my family and I were going on a, uh, family trip, uh, in, in a little bit here and, and, uh, I started putting together a, uh, you know, a packing list for, for the kids to, you know, and I felt like I was back in the military putting together that packing list for going out on, you know, a training mission or, you know, going out on a, you know, field op or whatever, you know, and, and it’s like, okay, you got to bring all these things.

And I remember, and Uh, you know, as a NCO going through my, my junior guys going through their, their bags and everything, making sure they had all their socks and the t shirts and whatever they needed to pack. And then seeing that they. They took out like four [00:18:00] pairs of socks and replaced it with a bag of chips or something. And it’s like, the hell are you doing? Right? You know, that kind of stuff. And it’s like, that, that’s the kind of perfection. I’m like, okay, there’s a reason that I put this list together. You know, we’re going for X number of days and we, I want you to have clean underwear all those days. That’s, that’s like a thing that, you know, sorry, if I, I might seem like a perfectionist, but I just want that to happen.

So I’m going to make sure we’re going to check that box. Those things are in there. And once when everything goes in the bag, it’s gets zipped up and it gets put away. And you don’t see that until we get there. Cause I don’t want you screwing with it. I don’t want to find a bag of chips in place where your socks were.

I don’t want to, I don’t want to find any of that. Right. I, and I had, I don’t know, maybe I have PTSD from all my, my guys who were. Pack stupid shit like that in their bags, you know, but it, but there’s, you know, there’s a reason. And again, it’s served a purpose and you can, you can, it’s a tool in your toolbox that you can pull out when you need it.

When, when there are things that matter [00:19:00] that need to be perfect. Just like as, as a corpsman, when you were. Treating somebody, you needed to do your job perfectly. Otherwise, something bad could happen to that person. Something still bad could happen to that person, even if you did everything perfectly, because you may have been there too late, you couldn’t have gotten there in time or whatever.

Um, or the injury was too severe, whatever the case may be, but had you not done your absolute best, your absolute perfection, you know, much worse things could happen, and that’s just a tool that you needed at that point in time. Going forward. Like, you don’t need that tool in every circumstance in, you know, uh, you know, going to the ATM or, you know, going to the grocery store or going to wherever.

You don’t need everything with military precision and perfection every single time. You kind of let something slide. And if, you know, the cashier’s not as quick as you thought they should be or whatever, it’s all right. You know what? That’s okay, you know, so, so you’ve, you sense, uh, I [00:20:00] think I’d mentioned this in the intro, you sense, uh, completed a master’s degree in clinical counseling psychology and establish a coaching and mentoring business for veterans.

Um, what inspired you to pursue this path after going through your, your own struggles? What inspired you to go out and try to help others?

Thyron Heyward: I honestly think it was because when I was going through the All of everything, you know, after looking back and reflecting, um,

I realized that, like I said, being that we, we are a, a unique community, veterans, um, it’s just kind of like the universe showed me all at once. You know, you’re not the only person to go through this and it broke my heart when I went through [00:21:00] it and just the thought of Another veteran going through this, just, just that emptiness, that aloneness, the darkness of being alone after, after people’s telling you, you know, that being, that being a part of this community is great.

You know, you get all these benefits and you get this, you get that, and people have these ideas of how things are for you as a veteran and while you’re military. But I don’t ever remember anyone ever sharing with them the dark side of the military. I. e., just, you know, Vietnam veterans and World War II veterans with shell shock and so on and so forth.

But do they really know? None of them really know. Unless they’ve gone through it. And so, on my darkest days, you know, crying out for help, it’s like I understand that there is a part of our [00:22:00] trials we have to go through. It’s like there’s a little spot we go through on our own to get to where we need to be.

But even when we’re on our own, we’re still not alone. And I felt like I was alone. And I, I don’t, I don’t think people, anyone should ever feel like that. I don’t think anyone should feel like that. So that’s what inspired me the most was It was to create an organization where people think no one else is ever going to understand this or nobody can help me.

No, that’s not true. I’ve been through it. I’ve been through so many things. Everyone keeps saying you need to write a book. I’m like, well, when I get the chance to sit down and put those thoughts together, I may, but the reality of it, once again, it’s just, it’s so hard for me that no one should have to go through this after going through what we’ve already been through.

Because we’re still dealing with day to day things that people don’t understand [00:23:00] it could push a person or it could trigger something and make them go one way or the other. And every day, I am so grateful that I know that I’ve already been there, you know, all the way down to the bottom, homeless, everything, no, no, no money, no, not knowing where.

My next meal is coming from no place to live, sleeping in cars. I’ve done the homeless stuff. I’ve done everything. So I’ve gone from the bottom all the way to where I’m at now. So I kind of feel like the universe does not give you the ideas and the feelings and the gifts that it gives to you to not do anything with.

Now, I was very good at being a corpsman. But I know I could be better as a counselor or a better corpsman. Or peer for someone who’s gone through or, or, you know, has some [00:24:00] issues that caused to them through the military. And it’s like, I’ve lived in military most of my life. Even though I’m out, it’s still my life.

It’s that’s not something that I can, you know, even though it’s a past life, it’s not something that I can. So I know that other That’s from other eras. What we, what we’re going through here now, even though we’re the generation that we’re in as far as military, it’s still, it’s still, you know, stuff that, that’s carried from those other military eras.

That’s why I said being in this population, being in an elite population, you get to carry all of that. So, so we’re carrying, we’re carrying past military traumas. From other veterans, from way back when, you know what I’m saying, when we got into the bloodline, that’s what we became a part of. So we’re not just dealing with what I’m dealing with from the post, you know, from, [00:25:00] from the Gulf War.

I’m also dealing with stuff from Vietnam. I’m also dealing with stuff from the first war. I’m dealing with stuff from, from when we first started having combat. That’s what we’re all dealing with. It’s not just the now, we’re dealing with the past as well. So. So there is a way, I, I, once I, like I said, once I understood that, it’s like, okay, everyone needs to be able to understand that.

We’re not just dealing with what we have now. We’re dealing with, with lots. And some of us don’t really know how to handle that. You know, some of us, it takes us a lot longer. And some of us just need somebody to say, hey, this is what’s going on.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I never really thought of it the way you just described it as kind of like a bloodline from generations going back and back. Um, but if you think about it, any, any buddy who’s ever served in any capacity in the military, um, and not just us military, any [00:26:00] military throughout time, they learn from, they learn from somebody and that person.

Has had experience in the military at some point. So they’re carrying those lessons that they learned from previous generation to the next generation, next, next, all the way on through current day soldiers who are, or Marines, airmen, whoever are in training right now. They’re learning from someone who learned from somebody else who learned from somebody else and all the way back.

And those people, um, they, they all started their journey somewhere. And so, yeah, we have. Roots going back to, you know, the early, you know, colonial days where there’s, you know, muskets and they stood on a line and I don’t know, those guys had balls of steel to do stuff like that, you know, but, you know, like our roots go back that far and even further because those people learn from, you know, even earlier in, in European and other areas, you know, they, they learn from other people and, and that’s where those lessons came from.

And, and so that [00:27:00] bloodline runs. Pretty deep and, and that’s, that’s an interesting way to look at it. But, um, but yeah, you know, using, uh, your journey, your struggles to let people know that they’re not alone, uh, I think is, is super important. That’s, you know, part of what we try to do on this show is, is share stories like yours, like, Hey, this guy’s been here, he’s done this, he’s experienced all these things, like you mentioned, there’s, there’s homelessness.

There’s, there’s people who have had, you know, trouble landing jobs or just. Coping and dealing with civilian life. Um, you know, and there’s reasons that these things happen and there have been people just like that bloodline that you talked about, there’ve been people who’ve been there, they’ve done that and they’ve experienced it and they’ve learned how and how not to deal with these things, um, in some cases.

And, and I think that’s the important thing is that we, we trial and error. We figure things out. Um, but. In some cases, we don’t need to just figure it out. [00:28:00] We can, we can talk to other people who’ve been there, who have figured it out. And we can talk to them and say, Hey. What did you do? What, what worked for you?

Maybe that thing that worked for you, it’s going to work just fine for me. Maybe it won’t, but maybe I talked to somebody else and they have that other thing. And I know for myself, going through my own journey, when I came home, uh, from Afghanistan and I had my own troubles that I was going through and I hit that point where I was like, I need help because I don’t like this person that I’m looking at in the mirror and I picked up the phone and I made an appointment and that was the scariest thing I could have done.

Is picking up the, just a phone call. Like how many, think of how many phone calls you’ve made throughout your life. You know, everything from ordering takeout to calling your mom to, you know, to whatever you’ve made phone calls before. It’s not a hard thing. That phone call was probably one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make. But as soon as I hung up the phone, I said to myself, Hey, there’s. I’m not alone on this. Somebody else is going to help me [00:29:00] with this. They’re not going to pick up the burden and carry it for me. They’re going to show me how to carry it. And, and that’s, that’s what it did for me. And that’s how it helped me.

It, and it was, you know, it was, I’m not going to lie. It was scary to do. And I first walked in that very first meeting and I remember thinking to myself, what am I getting myself into? Where, what? What’s on the other side of this door when I walk in, is it a padded room with a straight jacket? I don’t know what I’m walking into.

You know, I have no idea, but I know I need something. So let’s, let’s give it a shot. Let’s see what happens, right? And that’s, that’s kind of, kind of my journey into this and there was no padded room. There’s no straight jackets. It was just another, another vet who was on the other side of that door who I was able to talk to and he got it.

He understood what I was, I was going through, you know, so,

Thyron Heyward: Yeah, it was, it was, like how you said, it, it, you didn’t know what was on the other side, but you knew that staying where you were was not, it, it, you weren’t going to get anywhere. You knew [00:30:00] that staying where you were would literally bring you death, in, in many words. I mean, you weren’t living, you, you were just exist, you’re just there.

And when I told my, when I first told the therapist, I said, I need to get better. He said, He said, you’re strange because most people don’t want to seek out how to do better. I said, this isn’t living. This isn’t an existence. I said, I’m, I’m just here. I don’t feel, I have, I think, I don’t know what’s on the other side, but I know that I can no longer do this.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, that’s a great way to think of it. Um, and we’ve all gone through experiences where we didn’t know what that experience was going to be like. We’ve all raised our hand and sworn an oath, and then we got shipped off to boot camp and we didn’t know what it was going to be like when we got there.

Thyron Heyward: Nope.

Scott DeLuzio: We knew it was going to change us.

And a lot of times people, people have been on this show and they said, Hey, I was in a rough [00:31:00] spot in life. I had nothing going for me. I had no career prospects. College was not a thing for me. You know, I, I just didn’t know what, what to do. And I knew I couldn’t stay here is what they said. And they decided to enlist in whichever branch they chose to get into and. was the, that, that scary step to like, I’m just going to go do this and I don’t know what’s on the other side, but once when I get there, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I guess I’ll figure it out and I’ll change for the better or for the worse. I don’t know, but I know there’s going to be some sort of change that’s necessary.

Um, and they went in and they, they. know, they got the change that they needed, the change of, uh, location, geographic location, change of people, change of scenery, change of whatever it was that they were needing, and there’s growth that came out of that, and I think that’s what we’re getting at here, is there’s growth coming from some of this change, even though it might be a little bit scary, but so what, suck it up, you’ve seen scarier.

Trust me.

Thyron Heyward: is true.[00:32:00]

Scott DeLuzio: So, so in your work with, with veterans, what are some of the common challenges or issues that you see, um, particularly with those who might be dealing with PTSD or other, um, you know, maybe combat related, uh, type things where they, they’re coming back and they, you know, they, they have, they have a bunch of issues, um, you know, what are some of those more common things that you, you see

Thyron Heyward: Honestly, Scott, I’d have to say when I talk with other vets. Um,

it’s, I’d have to say it’s almost, uh, a lack of, of confidence in their own self to be able to get through. Um, like how you, like how we’re just saying, not being able to see. Um, you know, we are, as humans, we’re funny beings. We, we, we’ve gotten used to things that, if it’s tangible, we can work with, you know, but if you can’t see it manifest, as it’s [00:33:00] manifesting.

Then, then it’s easy to just, to just kind of get you off, off track of what it is that you need to do and totally being guilty of that. Excuse me. Um, I would definitely say the confidence to know that the work that they’re putting in, uh, it is going to make sense. That it’s, that it’s going to, that it’s going to, you know, have a, a, uh.

Some legitimate something that they can see and feel. Growth is, growth is not something that happens overnight. You know, we didn’t get this way overnight. Like you said, when we joined the military, we basically signed a blank check with our names on it. It’s just, okay, do what you want to do with this.

And they did. But what they don’t tell you, or the, or the disclaimer, that if you have to, they say, read the fine print. It’s like saying, okay, when we’re done with you, You know, you, [00:34:00] you kind of go do what you need to do and that’s, and that’s how a lot of us feel. We feel like we’re left behind, we need to get caught up.

A lot of us feel like the time is against us, we’ve lost a lot of time. Um, the inability to truly trust others. Um, struggling once again, trying to find community is, is like one of the more bigger ones. Um Because we share that camaraderie with each other when we’re in. We have a different outlook as far as civilians and that kind of thing that when we, you know, when we get out, it’s, it’s,

it’s like, it’s really, it’s like one of the loudest silences I think I’ve ever heard is when I sign it and got that DD 214 and it’s like they close the door and you’re done.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Thyron Heyward: Helping, like I said, helping [00:35:00] them find that confidence that, you know, you can heal, you can do this, you just, to take that confidence, to take that first step, like you said, making that phone call.

I was, I was literally forced to because I knew, like I said, something was wrong and, and I needed to make it right. Um, but I was scared and I was nervous and I did not know. It’s the unknown that gets us. So, working with veterans that have no idea. I’m able to see where they are. I’m able to see where they can be and explain it to them.

I see you as this. I see you powerful. I see you backing your own, your own rights, doing your own thing. Just trying to help them get through that mental block so they can see it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I like how you put that because there’s, there’s very tangible things that we can work with really well, uh, things that, that we can see, touch, feel, taste. You know, we, we can, we can deal with that stuff because those are [00:36:00] like real things, even if they’re, they’re somewhat unknown, like you’re about to kick in a door and you don’t know what’s on the other side of that door.

You don’t know if there’s a guy with a rifle or a bomb or a, you know, you don’t know what’s on the other side of that door, but you got a general idea. There’s either going to be something there and you’re going to need to react and you’re prepared for that, or there’s going to be nothing there and you’re going to, you just, you know, broke a door for no reason, you know, but you know, you kind of can deal with even those kind of unknowns and they’re a little bit less scary than you’d think.

Where do I fit in, in the world? Like that’s, that’s a pretty broad, uh, I don’t know, you can’t touch that. You can’t taste it. You can’t, you know, see it really. Um, but maybe you need, maybe you can see it. It’s just, maybe you need somebody else to help paint that picture for you. You know, like weirdest thing is if you read a book, you’re looking at black and white, uh, you know, on a piece of paper and yet the image that goes in your head.

It’s vivid. [00:37:00] It’s full of color. You can, you can see that person that, that the, the author is writing about. You can see the, the house, the kitchen or, you know, whatever it is of the room that they’re describing. You can see that with the, the, the different color, like the wallpaper might be blue and it might have a, you know, a white countertops and, and you’re starting to build this picture in your head.

Now, as I’m saying these things, you’re building this stuff. Um, but the same thing, like. In your life, maybe you don’t see where you’re fitting in, in the world. And if you have somebody who who’s saying, Hey, this is who you are, you’re this powerful person, like you were saying, uh, who has these qualities and you fit, you can fit in, in these locations and doing these things.

This is where, that’s when you start to maybe build that picture in your mind. And now, okay, now we got something a little more tangible that we can work with. Um, but that lack of confidence, like you said, you don’t have confidence in yourself. Well, then. You’re certainly not going to think of yourself as powerful if you’re lacking [00:38:00] confidence.

You’re not going to find yourself fitting in in any particular group of people, especially with other veterans who you look at as kind of like the alpha elite, you know, tough guy kind of thing like that.

Thyron Heyward: Those are the ones you’re trying to emulate.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And you are that, you know, that that’s you, even if you don’t feel it inside of you, you are that, you are those people, you have somebody else who is kind of on the outside looking in, you put that uniform on, they’re looking at you like, holy crap, this is, this is, this is somebody, right?

This, this is, someone’s got, got their, their stuff together. And they’re, you know, I remember, so you were in Desert Storm and I’m, I’m a little bit younger than you are. So I was not. Industry, but I remember when I was a kid, we, we grew up a very patriotic family. We grew up supporting the military and basically anyone put it on a uniform who, who would risk their lives, EMS, you know, firefighters, police, military, everybody like that was, those were the people we looked up to.

It wasn’t like the athletes and, you know, [00:39:00] movie stars and stuff like that. It was, it was those people. Right. And I remember. Uh, there was a air force base near us and there was a flight of returning, uh, troops coming from back from desert storm. And I was eight, nine, 10 years old, somewhere around there, uh, at the time.

And we went up to this air force base and we watched them coming in and. I swear to God, it could have been Michael Jordan walking down the thing and I would have, I would, you know, like to somebody else, it wouldn’t have mattered. It was like, that was me looking at those people. And so for those people who are sitting out there, like, Oh, I, you know, who am I?

What am I? Well, to that little kid, you were, you were fricking Superman is who you were, you know, that’s who you were and that’s who you are, you know, that’s, that’s what you need to kind of instill in yourself is, is that you still got that.

Thyron Heyward: Oh yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, just because you took the uniform off doesn’t mean that you’re now all of a sudden, you know, less [00:40:00] of a person.

Thyron Heyward: That’s how I still look at my dad. So yeah, like I said, my dad’s been retired for forever, but you know, I look at old pictures of him in his uniform and He was taking his uniform off more or less when I was putting mine on even though it was different uniforms It was still I felt my dad’s pride felt like I’m representing myself.

I’m representing my dad. I’m representing my family I’m representing my country. I’m an ambassador So so yeah, I totally did that

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s, I mean, and that’s great too, that you’re, you still, still see that in your father, you know, like, um, my, my younger brother, he joined before I did, uh, and he went from being, you know, the kid I used to, you know, rough house and beat up and, you know, all that kind of stuff as we were kids, to, he put the uniform on, I was like, now you’re Superman, like you’re untouchable.

Thyron Heyward: right.

Scott DeLuzio: And it was like a complete night and day, [00:41:00] uh, change. I was super proud of him, uh, for, for that. And it, and he was like, like now all of a sudden this bigger than life person, even though he was the same person I grew up with all our lives, he just became this bigger than life, uh, kind of thing. And, and, um, the listeners out there, you got that in you too.

You may not realize it, but you got that in you. You know, somebody else is looking at you like, Hey man, I’m, I’m proud of you for, for what you’re doing. You know?

Thyron Heyward: I’m

Scott DeLuzio: so what are some of the strategies or techniques that you use in your coaching to, uh, to help veterans build this resilience and confidence in themselves, uh, and navigate this transition that they’re going through?

Thyron Heyward: So, I do a lot of reading, um, and what I did basically was, uh, [00:42:00] being that I know that we’re, you know, all spiritual beings, um, you know, one of the therapists asked me pretty much the same question. He said, how, he said, Mr. Hayward, you have a, you have a bachelor’s degree in policy analysis. He said, and you have severe PTSD and depression.

He said, can I ask, how did you do that? And I said, My spiritual growth, my spiritual path is what helped me more than anything in all of my recovery. Um, so learning, leaning into that and then what resources the VA had as far as, you know, doing mindfulness practices and things that we weren’t ever really used to.

Um, mindfulness, meditation. Um, I discovered acupuncture, I discovered, you know, pretty much anything that sounded, that resounded with me and it [00:43:00] felt like it was going to help benefit me, help me change my thinking. And, and what I realized is I need to get to the root cause. I like to treat things at the root.

So learning more about PTSD, I just dove into it. What is PTSD? How does it work? What does it do to the brain? I need to know all of this. This is where the perfection works and it kicks in. Because I need to know. I need to know how. And in every angle and every way I can combat this. You know, or deal with it.

Learning first and foremost to change my words, how I spoke. Everything is connected. You know, the physical illness I was feeling also came from the mentalness that I was, you know, my mentalness. I was learning all of this. Like I said, I had to retrain and learn a whole bunch of new stuff. Um, the resources through the VA were good but I just kept pushing myself to go even further.

I was like, I know there’s more. There’s more, there’s got to be more. So, [00:44:00] those things that you hear your friends telling you to do. Try yoga. Yes, it works. Just try a different form. It’s like you said, you have to keep searching until you find the one that works and resonates with you. Okay? People complain about meditation.

You know, there’s so many different forms of meditation, Scott. Music, painting, just writing, journaling. It’s, you can lose yourself in all of that and it’s okay to do so. We were always taught to not dream. You know, we were taught these things to not do. When it’s actually the opposite. We should be dreaming bigger.

We should be writing more. We should be listening more. It’s, it’s all the things that, they’re small, but they’re powerful. They’re small, but they’re powerful. If you’re able to, to listen to the still small voice, if you hear that little voice in your head, sometimes it’s almost just a whisper telling you to do something.

I had to engage that whisper. [00:45:00] So that whisper would say, go take pictures. I used to, I was in that spot where I didn’t like doing any of the things that I like doing. And that small voice would say, go do it. It would say, go try acupuncture. Go try meditation. Go try yoga. Try a different form of yoga. You know, ask your friend this, ask your friend that.

And when I ask something, it’s not just to ask. It’s like, I’m going to use what I ask you for. So. So yeah, just, just being open minded and knowing that

if I don’t make this change to no one else’s, this is not going to happen without me. I have to do it. I am the catalyst. I am responsible for this.

Scott DeLuzio: And the, the idea that if you do the same things that you’ve always done, you’re going to get the same things that you’ve always gotten. If you’re not happy with the things that you’ve always gotten, then you need to do something different. [00:46:00] You’re just not going to see that kind of change by just continuing to, you know, do the same thing over and over again.

Um, you know, and, and yeah, try, try different things. And I know some of the things that you mentioned, there’s probably some people out there. I was one of these people who. 10 years ago, if someone mentioned, Hey, go, you know, try acupuncture or meditation, and I’d be thinking, well, would I look like some kind of hippie dude?

Like, you know, that’s like, that would be my, that was my reaction. And it’s like, I’ve, I’ve tried these things and I’ve gone, and some of them have worked for me and some of them. To different degrees, you know, and some of them will work for you. And some of them won’t because it may not work to me is not a reason not to try it

Thyron Heyward: Exactly.

Scott DeLuzio: because it may work too.

And, and it, and it’s like, um, uh, know, like that unknown, it’s, it’s either, [00:47:00] you could think of it as either something that. Can work or as something that can’t work until you’ve tried it and find out which one it is. And so right now they’re equal outcomes. Um, but I can guarantee you right now, it will not work for you if you don’t even give it a chance.

Thyron Heyward: Exactly.

Scott DeLuzio: So you gotta, you gotta at least give it a shot and. You know, some people, uh, acupuncture, you, you mentioned that, and I’m, I’m only bringing this up because you mentioned it, but, um, the, they mentioned, uh, acupuncture, like, Oh, I don’t like needles. I don’t like, those things are so damn small. Like you barely even notice that they, they, they’re touching.

It’s, I described it. My son asked me like, what does acupuncture feel like? Because they’re putting all these little needles in you. And I’m like, it’s like, if you took. Like a little tip of a pencil or a pen or something like that. And just like tap your skin. That’s kind of what it feels like it on occasion.

Yes. They might hit a spot. That’s a little bit more sensitive. And it maybe has like a little [00:48:00] poke for five seconds or something like that, that you feel it. And it goes, then it kind of goes away. I’ve actually fallen asleep with all the needles in me. Like that’s, so it’s not like I’m

Thyron Heyward: That’s what they encouraged you to do, Wendy. You know what I’m saying? It’s like they, hey, whenever I leave, my practitioner puts in the needles, he goes, okay, have a nice rest. I’ll see you in a little while. I’m like, okay, cool. So,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. They turn the lights off and there’s this calming music and like, you know,

Thyron Heyward: And that’s, and that’s the perfect time for you to, to transform. That’s, that’s the whole purpose. It’s a transformation. But if, if you don’t, if you’re not, But you’re right, if you’re not in your head space where you’re like, if you’re just, you know, negative and all of that, then of course that’s what you’re going to get.

But if you’re going in there like, like how you said with, I have to find something because what I’m doing now isn’t working. So I have to try this to at least see if it is going to manifest something. If it doesn’t, then I know I need to move on to [00:49:00] something else. But I have to try this first. So you can cross it off the list.

I took my son with me to acupuncture. He was, he walked out of the room, looked at me like, he’s like, dad, what did he do to you? I said, see, he can see that. He can see the results. I’m just like, wow. So, and I could feel it. So my dad hadn’t seen me in years and I hadn’t seen him. I saw him after two years of acupuncture.

My dad was like, what did you do? Those were the first words out of his mouth, Scott. What did you do? And like I said, I explained, I said, that is, it’s, it’s the thinking. I said, I realized my thinking, as they used to say in school, it has thinking, thinking, you know, I, I had to realize I was able, I had the power to change my thoughts.

Nobody ever told me that before. Nobody ever said, you know, you can change your mind. So I had to learn that. I had to learn. I was, I could change my mind. I could, [00:50:00] it was all me. I was the one, I was the one making this happen. It was, it’s Me and the universe, help me, guide me, show me what I need, but I knew at that point, it’s like, wait, wait, if I can change this, then I don’t need to live like that, and I’m not going to.


Scott DeLuzio: in being where you, where you’re at, but when you recognize that where you’re at is not serving you, it’s not serving the people around you, it’s hurting your relationships, it’s hurting your, your career, it’s hurting. You know, the, the things that, that you care about, uh, you know, around you, when you see all of that negativity, all those negative influences, there’s, there’s kind of one thing in common in all of those situations.

And that’s you.

Thyron Heyward: And as you

Scott DeLuzio: and maybe there’s something that

Thyron Heyward: yes. Right?

Scott DeLuzio: Relationships were good, you know, you, you don’t, [00:51:00] I mean, I can’t speak for everybody, but I, I personally wouldn’t go and get married to somebody who I absolutely hated and I was ready to, you know, rip their face off or something like that, like that to me just doesn’t seem like that’s, so at one point it was probably working for you guys, like that, you know, whatever that relationship was and, and, um, you know, something changed.

And if that, if that’s you that changed. And there’s a, a thing that you can identify that needs some help and work and improvement on. Well, go and fricking fix it. And get back to where you were, fix that relationship, fix that career, fix that attitude and mindset that you have, um, and try all of the things.

Worst, worst case scenario is you’ve tried something and it doesn’t work for you. At least you’ve learned, like you said, you’ve learned that thing doesn’t work for you, check the box, move, cross it off, move on, you know, give it a shot though, give, give it, give it a fair shot. You know, acupuncture doesn’t work all the time after the very first session.

[00:52:00] It’s, it’s kind of like a. Um, you know, like a medication, you might need to ramp up a little bit and do three or four sessions or something like that before you start feeling some sort of benefits from it. Um, but, but it’s,

Thyron Heyward: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: might be sooner. Uh, some people might be a little bit later, but, but give it a fair shot.

And if it doesn’t work for you, cool, don’t waste any more time on it. Move on, cross it off and find something else, but do something. Um, you know, it’s just like, like in, in the military, if you as a corpsman were. You know, being called like, Hey, somebody got shot or something, you know, and you just kind of froze and you sat there like, well, that person wasn’t getting any help.

Like you had to go and figure out what to do. And if you got to that person, you saw what was going on. You, you just like stared at your, your kit with all your, your supplies and everything. And you’re like. I don’t know what to do. And you just stared at it. Well, that person’s not getting any better. You got to do something, anything, do something, rub dirt in it for crying out loud, do something to, to, to like [00:53:00] move in the right direction.

Like eventually you’ll figure out that one wasn’t the right idea, but then you’ll clean it out and you’ll do what is necessary, but do something. And, and then eventually, um, you’ll, you’ll get, you’ll find the thing that works and it’s like, okay, that’s working. So I’m going to do more of that. Um, And trust me, it’s, it’s not like this is going to be like a, um, 10, year journey that you’re going through to, to find these things.

Like there, there’s so many things out there. If you’re struggling to find out the things, I’m sure you’ve got a list of resources that people can try. Right. Um, I’m sure you can refer people to, you know, things like acupuncture or things like, like along those lines, the VA has a ton of ish of, of, uh, you know, alternatives that you can go through.

Um, You know, most of the stuff that I’ve tried has been through the VA, even if it wasn’t directly from a VA provider, they’ve referred me out to the community, um, for acupuncture. Three miles [00:54:00] down the road from my, from, from my house. So it’s not like it was a huge time commitment for me to get there and do anything like, I mean, what, you know, cut out for, for lunch if I wanted to and, uh, and go do that, you know what I mean?

Like, and I come back. You know, almost like a different person afterwards, you know, maybe a little drool coming down my face cause I fell asleep or whatever, but,

Thyron Heyward: Yes.

Scott DeLuzio: well, the point is try something, right?

Thyron Heyward: Yes. Do something. Yes.

Scott DeLuzio: I think you and I probably share a very similar mission in terms of raising awareness for mental health support and, um, you know, the, uh, the issues that, that are plaguing the veteran community, uh, military in general. Um. In your experience, what are some of the most effective ways that you’ve found to raising awareness about the mental health issues and, and help combat the stigma around seeking [00:55:00] help or, um, you know, things like that, especially with regards to veterans.

I know a lot of us are very. Very stubborn minded. And we don’t want to ask for help. And we, Oh, I’m tough. I can, I can handle this. I don’t need, I don’t need somebody, you know, told me to go do yoga or acupuncture, meditate or any of that kind of stuff. What, what, what are some of the ways that you found to kind of break through that, those barriers?

Thyron Heyward: One of the biggest ones You’re right, because there is a lot of stigma, stigma around, once you’ve been in the military, you’re tough. And, you know, there’s nothing that, you know, that you can’t do, and of course, these movies that people are watching nowadays, just, you know, this whole chismo personification of you’re tough, and you don’t need anybody, and, you know, you don’t cry, and, I say hogwash, sorry.

Um, I think that was, you know, An old idea for an old time. You know, [00:56:00] the pioneers going across the frontier, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and facing this and facing that because they had to. Well, there are a lot of things that we’re facing, but we don’t have to deal with them in the same way.

Um, what is it we’re told when we’re kids, especially being boys, you don’t cry. You know? I was different. When my son cried, had a problem and he cried, I told him to cry, you know, I corrected it. I was like, no, it’s okay to cry. I let him know it was okay to cry. And he stopped when he needed to. You know, it’s, it’s really, this is still a difficult thing because that, that stereotype of, like I said, once again, a tough, tough guy is, is, it still prevails.


It’s not realistic. That’s how [00:57:00] I look at it. As I tell people, you know, that’s not a realistic expectation of yourself. Um, because once again, not just the fact that we’re human, but we’re designed to go through certain things and to respond in a certain way. When we feel pain, we’re supposed to express it and we’re supposed to cry.

When we feel whatever we feel, we’re supposed to be able to express those freely. We, however, have been sold and told that we’re not supposed to because of this, that, or the other, you know. Um, and what I do is I tell them, I said, you know, I said, when I got to that one dark spot, I remember a dark day when I was sitting on the couch at a friend’s house, uh, just short of being homeless.

Actually, she had just found out I was homeless and was sitting on her couch. My sister and I spoke. And I told my sister, I said, I don’t know what to do. [00:58:00] And this is the first time, you know, family, she was the only person I felt safe with, explained it, just saying that and not being judged. And I said, I don’t know what to do.

I said, I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to go or where I’m supposed to be. And at that moment, I hadn’t cried. I remember specifically, I hadn’t cried for over 20 years. And it’s like, it started. And it would not stop and it kept going. And she sat there on the phone with me until I stopped.

And I mean, it was a while. And she sat there on the phone until I stopped. And she said, now, don’t you feel better? And she was right, I did. And I had to ask myself, why didn’t I do this before? Because I was so, once again, worried about what other people would say, what other people would think. You know, I, I, I’ve saved lives.

I’ve, I’ve ran across foreign country, you know, [00:59:00] topography to save people, you know, to do my job, and yet I still felt it was not okay for me to be human and cry because I was having a moment. So, something needed to change. So once I started, you know, we give other people compassion when we’re helping them and when we’re dealing with them, but we won’t give it to ourselves.

And the worst critic that you can have in your life is your own self. You can beat yourself up better than anybody on the planet, I promise you, you can. We can all do that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yep.

Thyron Heyward: So I had to learn how to reverse that and give myself the okay to cry, the okay to bleed, the okay to feel depressed, the okay to feel angry, to let it be validated.

And then once that, it’s like once you do all of that, you get it all out of the way. You bottom out, then you can go full. So once you get there, it’s [01:00:00] explaining to them that, I try to let them know that what they’re doing is a little unrealistic. I say, you know, trying to be that tough person and hold all of this in, you know, it’s not good for you.

Because it’s going to manifest in some other way. So you have to be able to deal with it when you need to deal with it, not just push it down. You know, good old American way, just push it down and don’t talk about it. No, that’s not acceptable. Because we are making bigger strides now in mental health. And back in the day, we never really talked about mental health.

It was all labels and stigma. If a person was crazy, they just You know, they got carted off down to some family’s house or something and they just didn’t talk about it. Or if it was something really serious, then you kind of had to walk on eggshells around that person. So that’s because we didn’t know.[01:01:00]

Now we know so much more than what we did before. And I think it is prevalent that we continue, that we continue to know. Um, I met a physician who told me they knew nothing about PTSD. He said they had to actually sit down and learn from the Vietnam veterans what it was. It went beyond a shell shock. So they had to sit down with the Vietnam vets and get educated as to what it was and how things were fun before they could figure out how to treat it.

So they had to be educated on it. All I’m doing is when I talk to my guys and my ladies is I let them know, um, whoever told you you weren’t supposed to cry, uh, tell them come see me. Because I got some words for them. If whoever told you all of this stuff that you are believing right now, please tell them to come and see me.

Because I will use the [01:02:00] science and the data to back it up. It’s not about, you know, a contest of strength. It’s just knowing basic human stuff. We are fragile. We are very fragile. But somebody told us along the way that we were Superman. And we made our Superman moments. Don’t get me wrong, we do. But we don’t need them all the time.

That’s, that’s unrealistic to

Scott DeLuzio: is.

Thyron Heyward: that any person, military or not, trauma is trauma. So it’s, it’s unrealistic to expect anyone who’s gone through some type of trauma to not be able, to be able to process that. And, and like you said, mental health and, and And these times, everything is changing now. It is really changing, hopefully for the better, as we start to continue to understand and learn how traumatic [01:03:00] instances affect us, especially if we don’t address them, how the long term cost of that is, it’s not, it’s not good, so I allow them, or who that person may be, to have that moment, but I also, like I said, I like to plant that seed and let them work with that.

Okay. When the day you can’t cry is the day you really need to sit down and have a talk, you know, with, with, with like, a spiritual leader or someone so you, so you can get in touch. You need to get in touch with you. You’re not in touch with yourself, you know, you have to be able to be honest and real with yourself before you can do anything else.

So, so when they come to me like that, I do my best to soften them up and just, to just change their, their, uh, their, their, their thought process as to [01:04:00] listening to how irrational that really sounds. And for most of them, it makes sense. And then it’s, like I said, it’s just, it’s just a matter of peeling back what they’ve already been told and they’ve, and they’ve taken it as, as truth.

Somebody said you weren’t supposed to cry. why? Because I’m a guy and guys are strong and we don’t cry. If I poke you real hard and it hurts, are you gonna cry? Or are you gonna be a guy because somebody told you? You see what I’m saying?

Scott DeLuzio: No, I see what you’re saying. And you brought up a point too, which I hope this point doesn’t get lost on the listeners. But you were talking about how you, you know, guys are tough and, and we’re putting, we’re picking on the guys here because let’s just face it.

Thyron Heyward: Yes, let’s, let’s, let’s

Scott DeLuzio: guys, but, but there’s women too, and women are tough.

And I met some tougher women than me in the military, you know, [01:05:00] like, so, so I’m not, I’m not discounting the women’s service. And when we say guys, I’m using it as a generic term,

Thyron Heyward: Exactly. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: all y’all kind of thing. It’s like, I’m trying to refer to everybody, but, but you know, back in the day, there were, there was these pioneers.

Right. And you mentioned this, they went across the country and they were exploring and settling different areas. And it was a tough life, right? But the very first people who went out and settled different areas, they maybe didn’t bring all the supplies that they needed.

Thyron Heyward: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: And so they had a little tougher go than somebody else and maybe they didn’t have a tent to, you know, sleep under, you know, and, and they got wet and they got cold and, and maybe they got sick and they, they had a lot of problems, uh, going across the country.

And. Maybe they came back and they explained, Oh, I didn’t make it all the way to my destination because I didn’t have X, Y, and Z. They told those other people who were about to go off and like, Oh, well, maybe I got to go get that stuff too. Now let me go get that tent and get the, [01:06:00] these other supplies, whatever it was.

Right. And now, now more people know. Okay. I know I got to take all these things and I got to take this on my journey to wherever it is that I’m going and I’ll have a little bit easier time. And along the way, they’re going to figure out other things too. And, and now we don’t have horses and buggies, and now we got, you know, planes, trains, and automobiles to take us wherever we go.

And there was at one point, there was a point in time when nobody had driven a car across this country. And then somebody said, and they’re like, that’s a heck of a lot easier than riding on a horse the whole way. So I’m going to do that instead. And then somebody was like, Hey, guess what? We got this cool thing called the train.

And we’re going to do that too. And, and we got a plane too. And we’re going to fly across the country and we’ll beat your time. And, and, you know, we’ll be there in no time. And, and so now that’s what we do. We, it’s like. If I want to go from where I’m at on the West coast to the East coast, first thing I’m thinking about is getting on a plane because I’ll be there in a few hours as opposed to a few days driving in a car or, you know, some other form of transportation.

So, [01:07:00] um, like that’s, you learn over time and you take those tools and those, those resources from other people. And there, somebody else flew across the country before I did. But that’s in that bloodline of, of people. Right. And you were talking about the bloodline of the, the military. And I’m hoping that now the bloodline of the veterans, we’re learning, Hey, you don’t got to go through this stuff alone.

You don’t have to live the next, you know, however many 40 years of your life or whatever it is in misery and being angry and bitter and, and resentment, holding resentment and, and all this kind of stuff, there’s a better way to do it. And we’re figuring it out now. And. And guess what? Now, now we’re like those, those pioneers who came back and were like, ah, I forgot my tent, you know, that kind of thing. There’s this thing I, that if I had this, this would have been so much easier. And so now, now we’re, we’re going to go and we’re going to figure it out. And, and maybe I don’t have all my supplies that I could have had, but it’s going to be a little bit easier. And I’ll, I’ll let [01:08:00] other people know, Hey, if I had this instead, that would have made it that much easier.

And then we’ll, we’ll continue to grow that way. But if you don’t listen to the advice. If one of those, those explorers was like, I don’t need a tent. I’m good. I’m tough. I can handle it without it. Like, yeah, you’re going to be cold and you’re going to wet, be wet. And you’re going to be miserable. And, and you’re probably not going to make it cause you’re going to get sick.

And if you ever played that Oregon trail game, you’re going to die of dysentery or something. You know, like, that’s just going to be what happens. Like, I’m sorry. Like that’s, that’s. That’s life. So, um, you know, listen to the advice of other people. And I think you’re a great example here of, of what you’ve gone through and what you’ve helped other people with and how you’re, you’re spreading this message. Can we just get out of our own way and listen for once? You know, I think that’s a point.

Thyron Heyward: It is a point, yes.

Scott DeLuzio: I’ll get off my soapbox. I think, I think, I think you did a great job driving that point home, though. I think, I think it’s really good. Um, I do want to [01:09:00] take a quick break here, um, for a segment, uh, to kind of switch things up a little bit. I know a lot of times these episodes that we do are, they’re kind of, kind of tough, kind of heavy.

Um, sometimes you do a little digging and it’s. It kind of digs at that soul, you know, who you, who you are, that core of who you are and everything. And sometimes we just need a good laugh. And so whenever I have another veteran on the show, I like to do a segment called, Is It Service Connected? Uh, and I like to, I like to think of it kind of as America’s Funniest Home Videos, but like military edition.

And, uh, you know, so it’s, it’s always, you know, laughing at. The things that go wrong in the military and how, you know, we can, we can laugh at each other. We’re, we got thick enough skin. We can, we can do that. So, um, so I’ll pull up this video here so that you can see it as well. Um, but I like to, um, do this with the veterans cause it always gets a good laugh.

Um, for the listeners who can’t see the video, I’ll do my best to describe it. Um, sometimes these videos, they go by quick, pretty [01:10:00] quick. This is, it looks like a short 10, 13 second video, whatever. Um, so I’ll do my best to describe it as it’s going on. We’ll see what happens here. It looks like we’re on maybe a grenade range.

We’ve got a line of soldiers on the left of the screen. Um, they’re all kitted up. So it looks like they’re, they’re prepared for whatever’s about to come. And then we got somebody on the right. I can’t quite tell how well. It doesn’t even look like they have a helmet on. It looks like they’re just standing there in uniform, kind of hunched over.

We’ll see what happens. Okay. He’s looks like he’s getting ready to toss a grenade. He’s kind of peeking over the wall. The other soldiers are watching them. He throws it and it doesn’t quite make the. He doesn’t quite clear the wall, everybody is running and then hitting the deck. So that probably did not go the way he was planning on it to go, or any of them were planning on it to go.

I’m hoping that was a, uh, you know, kind of like a. Uh, [01:11:00] training, uh, range where it was just a dud grenade. Uh, they didn’t quite show the end of that video. So I’m not sure if there was no more video to be shown because everything got destroyed after that, or if that was a, uh, just a, you know, a dud and they, they turned off the video at that point, but, um, gosh, I hope it was.

Just a training scenario and it was one of those dummy grenades, you

Thyron Heyward: what it reminded me of, of being out on a grenade range, but we didn’t all have to run at the end. We

Scott DeLuzio: no No, it’s like usually it went that way and that that was it was like you just waited to the boom and then you’re good

Thyron Heyward: the video. Everybody started, yeah, uh, exfailing. So it’s like, I don’t think it’s supposed to go that way, so.

Scott DeLuzio: No, no, no. So well, I guess there’s two scenarios one It was a live grenade and it didn’t clear the wall and two it was a dummy grenade and it didn’t clear the wall If it was a live grenade There’s probably going to be some shrapnel injuries, definitely, definitely the explosion, you’re going to have [01:12:00] some hearing issues.

Um, they were all pretty close when, when that, that guy threw that grenade over that wall. So I’m guessing if it was live, somebody’s seriously hurt. If not, you know, worse, God forbid, I hope not. But, um, there definitely would be some service connection going on with that. Um, If it was just a training grenade, I don’t know, I’ve had those things go off right at my feet and it’s, I mean, it’s a little loud, but you know, they’re, you’ll be okay.

You can, you can, uh, you can walk those off. So, um, there’s no shrapnel or anything for the listeners who aren’t familiar with those. It’s just like a. Blasting cap inside of a thing and it doesn’t actually, uh, you know, explode. It just makes a popping noise. So, uh, you don’t want to be holding them in your hand necessarily, but you know, if they’re on the ground next to you or something, it’s not the end of the

Thyron Heyward: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: So, um, so hopefully it was a ladder. Hopefully it was a training grenade and everybody walked away just fine and they just [01:13:00] overreacted to, to that, or, um, they’re just, they’re, uh, you know, didn’t know. Then maybe it was a, I don’t know what he’s, he’s thrown over this wall. So let’s, let’s be better be safe than sorry.

But, um, they all seem to hit the deck when they got away. So, uh, I don’t know, guess there could be some, but hopefully, hopefully there was none with that. Yeah. So anyways, thank you again for taking the time to join us. Um, where can people go to get in touch with you? Find out more about the counseling and mentoring services that you offer.

Thyron Heyward: well, right now I just have my web, my, uh, my email, which is revets24 at gmail. Um, and all they have to do is just, uh, you know, if they want to chat or they have some time or questions or anything, just send me an email, um, and I’m pretty quick to respond. Of course, that whole perfectionist thing still kicks in in some things, so, um, I’m pretty quick to respond and, [01:14:00] uh.

Yeah, I, I, anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. Any, any type of question, any concerns, um, that’s what we’re here for. You know, that’s what I’m here for. Uh, especially like a small community is small and, and elite. And I think that’s a great thing to say for us. So yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And I’ll, I’ll, uh, I’ll have that link to your email in the show notes for folks. If they are, uh, interested in finding out more about what you do, um, they, they can reach out and, and get in touch with you and, uh, they’ll, they’ll be able to get that information, uh, again, thank you so much for taking the time to join us, uh, and, and sharing, I mean, this, the message that you have, um, the conversation that we’ve had today, I think, uh, has been.

Inspiring not only to me, but, but also to the listeners. So, uh, thank you for taking the time to share and for joining us.

Thyron Heyward: Thank you for inviting me on. It’s been a real pleasure. So, so yes, I think what you’re doing is amazing. Thanks, Scott.[01:15:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Likewise. Thank you.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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