Choosing To Find The Good

 
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After losing his legs to an IED in Afghanistan, Julian Torres talks to us about how he has been able to find the good things in life and focus on the positives.

When Julian lost his legs, he was faced with a choice to either sit on the couch and let life pass him by, or get up and take control of his life. Julian chose the latter. Not only is Julian a fellow podcaster who talks to other veterans, he's also a father, husband, and has scaled the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. And yes, that was after losing his legs.

When I first spoke with Julian before we recorded this episode, I was truly inspired by his attitude. Give it a listen, I'm sure you will be too.

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Transcript

Scott DeLuzio:    00:03    Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we talk about issues affecting Veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple podcast. If you've already done that, thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so it can reach a wider audience. And while you're there, click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes. As soon as they come out. If you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit Drive On Podcast.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email lists. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:44    Hey everyone. Today, my guest is Julian Torres. Julian is a Marine Corps Veteran and host of The Coffee with Julian podcast. Julian was wounded while serving overseas, and today we're going to be talking to him about his journey through the Marine Corps and what life is like after being wounded. So Julian, welcome to the show. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what your background is?

Julian Torres:  What's going on, man? How you doing?

Scott DeLuzio:  Alright, good.

Julian Torres:    01:12    I enlisted in 2007 and was a Marine Corps Infantryman. I was an 0331 machine gunner by trade. I got deployed in 2010 to Afghanistan. So, I stepped on an IED and lost both of my legs, the left leg below the knee, right leg is above which was really crazy and really unique. I think about my circumstance. I was only in country in full-blown about operations for about 2 ½ weeks.

Julian Torres:    01:55    Yeah. I was there for like just shy of a month, total in Afghanistan when I got hurt.

Scott DeLuzio:  Right? Yeah. Sometimes these things come out of nowhere, and whether you're there for a few weeks, you're there for a few months or whatever, you can't really time these things like they'll just happen.

Julian Torres:    02:22    It's either like the very beginning or the end is like what you don't want.

Scott DeLuzio:    02:27    Sometimes you hear about these people, they have a week left or something and they're like, “Oh yeah, we'll go out on this one last mission.” And it's like, no, no, no, you don't want to go on that last mission. So, let's talk about the lead up to that. So, you're in country for about a month or so before getting injured. What did that look like? What did your time in Afghanistan look like before getting injured?

Julian Torres:    03:00    Yeah, it was what I would call it almost as if all the Warriors of America were down inside large Afghanistan at the time; we had really thick overgrown

Julian Torres:    03:22    canals or wattis that you couldn't see six inches in front of me. So, I would imagine, from the things I've read, that was a lot like Vietnam, cutting yourself on the grass and stuff like that that was growing through there. Then we also had those canals. We were fighting in those canals and I was even thinking that was a little bit like fighting in WWI in the trenches, being muddy and being full of water and just disgustingness.  What surprised me the most about it all was how kinetic it was. I didn't imagine it being so full throttle like it really was.

Julian Torres:    04:16    These people we were whipping it on. We'll be able to hear them and be able to smell them; that's how close we were. It was intense. At the end of the day, if I had to pick a word, it would be just intense, intense. Their fighting ability…I wasn't really impressed by it. They had a lot of numbers, which was impressive, but other than that, our tactics were superior our fire power was superior, it was just intense.

Scott DeLuzio:    04:57    Yeah, for sure. I know kind of what you're talking about, walking through in an area where you can't really see more than a few inches in front of you. I've been on missions in Afghanistan where we walked through a corn field and you see corn fields around here in the United States, same deal, corn taller than you are and you're walking through and you can't see too far ahead of you because it's corn all over the place and the leaves and everything.

Julian Torres:    05:29    You just see the stalks move and you think “there they are!”

Scott DeLuzio:    05:35    And you don't know what's on the other side of that because you just can't see. You're walking through just hoping that there's no trip wires or pressure plates or other crazy stuff like that that they could have put in there just to screw us up if we were going through there. So, thank God, in my case anyways, there wasn't anything like that or at least if there was, we didn't stumble across it. We got out relatively unscathed then, a few scrapes from walking up against some of these plants and things like that but that's nothing in comparison to people like yourself who were severely wounded during their time overseas. Let's talk about that day, the day of the injury. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the mission that you were on and how it led up to that event where you actually got wounded.

Julian Torres:    06:43     Blasted.  So, one thing you have to remember is that we had this inherent threat of an IED, but for the most part, that's not what we were really looking for. We were getting a lot of Intel on sniper positions, sniper nest, machinegun nest, observation posts, IED caches. So, another thing too that was really crazy was the fact that we were finding a bunch of other things. We were finding caches of heroin. We were finding caches of giant stocks and marijuana, weapons, IED making material, and all along there are firefights, intense fire fights. We're actually pinned down and maneuvering around the enemy or just waiting them out. We're just like, “you guys aren't moving; We're just going to hunker down over here. We're safe right here. We'll just let this develop.”

Julian Torres:    08:12    Fighting back, obviously, but we're going to take our time with this, so, this particular day, I got hurt. It was really crazy. I don't know if you've ever seen them, but they would make IED out of this yellow cooking oil, canola with the red top. And so, I found a bunch of those. And so, what I did was I pulled out my knife and I cut the bottoms out; made it to where these jugs are not usable anymore, or I'm going to make it more of a headache for you to use these. The Afghan people were very resourceful, making things out of nothing.

Julian Torres:    09:04    I'm sure I didn't damage it too much. I was also finding big giant bags of ammonium nitrate, big, giant, 50 kilos of ammonium nitrate. We were fighting all day, standard operation fighting all day pushing the enemy back, and then we were no more than 50 yards or maybe like a half a football field away from our patrol base.  I just stepped on it and I remember it. Particularly, the sound I made getting propelled through the air, seeing my shadow on the ground, and realizing “Oh fuck man, this is it. I got hit.” It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know.

Julian Torres:    10:06    And to realize that, if you see yourself on the ground from an aerial point of view, I got hit. I remember landing and the powder in my mouth from the blast because what had happened was, we had crossed over two canals. And so, imagine, we got one little shallow canal crossed over and we came onto another one. So, it was just consecutive canals running parallel to each other. And so, we cross one, cross the other one, and then my buddy who saw the indicator, the point guy, I was holding rear security for my machine gun. And then I was in charge of machine gun squad leader. And the point man says, “Hey, I see an indicator.” I'm closest to the junction, as a Sgt of Marines, I'm closest and I'm not going to ask someone else if I'm not willing to do hard decision work or hard work in general if I’m not willing to do that kind of stuff myself.

Julian Torres:    11:23    So I said, “I got it, man. I'll go take a look.” And I was looking. And I said, we weren't really looking for IEDs; that wasn't our main focus. We were finding things, we were finding stock positions, and we were burning those down. So that's what I was really looking for. And that's what we were facing as our immediate threat. To be honest with you, the whole sense of everything we were doing was clearing out. It was by definition already cleared, but the combatants weren't really fighting the first wave they were just studying.

Julian Torres:    12:08    Going back to that particular moment before I stepped on an IED, I had crossed over. So, there were nine guys in my mystic, I was number 10. And then on the 11th time coming back, there's nothing here and that is when I stepped on it. And so, a few people got hurt. Nobody really catastrophically wounded besides me. Thank God. To be honest with you, they say it was a pressure plate, but I don't really think so. I think it was remote detonated because it was 11 guys that stepped on it. The initial ambush afterwards, we weren't receiving any contact prior to that. There was nobody around. Like I said, we were a half a football field away; so, I think it was remote det. I was in between two different houses so easily somebody could have been sitting in the shadows in the house and just pressed the button, there's not really way for me to prove it. It's just my hunch.

Scott DeLuzio:    13:33    And you mentioned that a few other Marines got injured. When we previously spoke, you mentioned that one of the Marines who was injured in that same incident, obviously not as severely as you, and then a short time later, he was killed in action. Would you be willing to talk a little bit about him and how you knew him and who he was and everything like that?

Julian Torres:    14:06    Of course, because this individual, his name's Cody S Childers, and his mom runs a nonprofit in his name now. The Lance Corporal Cody S. Childer's Fund and he was my machine gunner. So, he was the guy who was actually on the pig running and gunning it. And I was walking them on target or I was carrying his ammo, because the company had dissolved my squad. So, there was three guns. So, each of us got a gun and it was only the gunner plus the team leader. I was the team leader/ squad leader. So, I was holding rear security for him. And that's what made me so close to the junction. And from that point on when the blast happened, it had shoved him, dislocated his shoulder, broke his nose and he had gotten a concussion from it. Then from there, obviously the ambush-initiated, people came, gave me immediate treatment. And he was actually one of the guys that showed up, one of the first guys that showed up to put Humpty Dumpty back together.

Julian Torres:    15:40    With his dislocated shoulder and his concussion and him being concussed, carried me from the battlefield to the helicopter, with his dislocated arm. He muscled through. The dude was a Savage. He was one of those guys who was a good old boy from Virginia. He grew up in the woods, grew up hunting. Saint of an individual, but you wouldn't want to cross him, really high principles, really high morals. And even though he was my youngest guy on my squad, he was impressive the way he carried himself as if he was a senior enlisted individual. He was confident, knowledgeable, and just a cool guy to be around.

Julian Torres:    16:32     And so when we were in the helicopter together, because he was the only one that got medivac’d with me; he was holding my hand, telling me, “you're doing all right, hang in there. I'm so sorry.”  “I'm really sorry that you got hurt. Him being a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps, comforting a Sergeant, I think that's what unconditional love is. Rank doesn't matter, everybody's equal, race doesn't matter, ethnicity doesn't matter, where you come from doesn’t matter. You all bleed red. I think it's a really unique human experience to go to combat and then get hurt and then survive it.

Julian Torres:    17:27    So fast forward a couple of weeks. I got hurt on July 15th.  July 18th, I got stateside to Bethesda, Maryland. And then fast forward a month on August 20th, he had gotten killed. But in between that time, I had gotten to know his mom. He sent his mom down from Chesapeake, Virginia to come see me so that she can get confirmation; so, she can tell him that I'm okay. I need eye on accountability of this Marine who means so much to me. And I need to know he's going to be Okay. And so here you are right in the middle of a war zone, concerned about your own life, but you're not as concerned as that buddy who's oceans in between you. And that's where my thoughts are at is with him. It's just unique man. I'm on my last surgery, clean out. I get a phone call at six o'clock in the morning. I haven’t eaten and I'm fasting prepared to go into surgery and the phone rings as I'm leaving my room. And I grabbed a wall and thought “no, stop it.”

Julian Torres:    19:00    No. Because I had a feeling, because it was very rare to get a phone call that early, and if it was one of my buddies calling from a sec phone, I wanted to talk to him. You can fucking wait. And it was his mom, she called me with a crackly voice. “Oh, Cody's dead.” I almost had to like choke it down, put it in a compartment and shut the door and get my mind ready for this surgery. So, on August 20th he got killed and he got shot one time and then right below. I don't know how you guys had it, but we had a front sappy plate, back sappy plate, and side sappy plate.

Scott DeLuzio:  Yes, it’s the same setup.

Julian Torres:    19:57    He got hit right underneath that side sappy. So, just got hit right where your love handles are at.

Scott DeLuzio:  Yeah.

Julian Torres:  Well, you are a pretty thin dude so you probably don't have any. It just went in and never left. It just hit around his rib cages and then that's a wrap. And from that point, I stayed in real close contact with her and he's buried in Arlington. So, he got buried, I want to say September timeframe, like right before labor day weekend. And now they were going to send me to San Diego for the follow up rehab, the prosthetic care, the physical therapy, occupational therapy care, and eventually transitioned out of the military. But I had requested, there's no way that I'm going to leave and have that individual, that particular individual from my unit, who meant so much to me and comforted me and made me feel nurtured, in a sense.

Scott DeLuzio:    21:27    I mean he sent his mom to go check on you and that became more than just two guys who serve together. I mean he brought his mom and that's part of family. He went above and beyond what the typical Marine probably would have done.

Julian Torres:    21:50    Hmm. Yeah. I was like just no way that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that I didn't at least voice my opinion and fight to stay here. Let me do that. I was fighting off an infection, I had a pick line. Do you know what a PICC line is?

Scott DeLuzio:    22:15    Yep. Unfortunately, I'm familiar with it. My wife was hospitalized almost a year and a half ago. And she was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and had a pick line in her to help her get through what she was going through and everything. And it's nasty. It's not the coolest thing to see.

Julian Torres:    22:36    No. So, I had a pick line in my arm where they disconnected it from the main tubes. And then I cut a sock to keep everything together. Then they taped it.  I was like, I don't have any clothes. 90% of the time I was naked, I need clothes. Some lady bought me some cargo shorts and a polo shirt. And I got a ride to Arlington cemetery; my wife and my good friend who was with a different unit was there. And they pushed me through the grass and stuff, it was just so intense.

Julian Torres:    23:30    This is a part of war that people don't talk about. Maybe they never talked about it because it never happened because of survivability rates nowadays is so much more possible than any war before. So, maybe this was unique to our war; but what a shit sandwich.  I don't know how else to explain it other than an incredible unique human experience.

Scott DeLuzio:    24:13    Yeah. And you're talking about the survivability from previous wars, just a few inches difference, could have been the difference between your buddy getting shot the way he was or hitting a sappy plate on the side and just having a real bad sore side for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks. I don't know. I’ve never been shot that way. So, I don't know.

Julian Torres:    24:41    No, but if it went down a little further, it would just hit his hip, a mobility issue. And for me, what are the odds of that happening and what are the odds of me surviving? On my paperwork, it says I took 90 units of blood that one day. So, I would get so wrapped around the axle, how much blood does it take for a human being to start off with. I was trying for my whole rehab to really figure out why I shouldn't be here. I wondered to myself, why I shouldn't be here. And so, I would research how many pounds per square inch does it take to remove bone and tissue, and fluid.

Julian Torres:    25:35    And then I would think that I should have died there just by that alone. And then I'd be like, well, then I'd get on the internet and be like, well, how many pounds per square inch does it take to make you brain dead? And then I realized that pound per square inches far less then to remove bone and tissue. And so, there's another reason why I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be here, you know? And then I wondered how much blood did I lose? Oh, well how much blood do I have to start off with? So, they could've stopped the bleeding. What are the odds? As corny as science and math, I shouldn't be here, but I'm here. Why is that? What am I doing here? What am I doing today to prove to myself why I should be here? Instead of proving to myself, why you shouldn't. There was a whole like mental switch in 2011, mostly 2012 that I really started it and gained some traction on

Julian Torres:    26:47    What am I doing with my life? And how best to honor those medical professionals, those warrior professionals, their efforts to save my life.

Scott DeLuzio: And that brings up a good point because, there's a lot of people who go through traumatic experiences, whether they've been wounded or they've seen other people get wounded or some other traumatizing event happens to them and they play that game like you started to play with yourself? Where you were doing the math? And you're trying to figure out, I should have died at this point. I should have died at that point. I shouldn't be here right now. When you start going down this spiral of what ifs, what if this happened? What if that happened? I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be existing right now, or that person should be here if this happened or a lot of what ifs start happening and popping into people's heads and life could have gone really badly for you. You could have continued digging down that hole and you could have continued playing that game. And that mind game, that mind fuck that keeps going on. I want to talk about that. What was it that was the turning point for you? You said 2011, 2012 sometime around there. What was that turning point? What did you do to keep your spirits up? What kept you from feeling defeated? What type of thing could you maybe offer as advice for other people who might be in a similar situation?

Julian Torres:  That's a pretty loaded question.

Scott DeLuzio:  I'm trying to dig deep on this.

Julian Torres:  No doubt. Keep in mind where I was personally.  I had a newborn son. Short answer to this was my wife.

Julian Torres:    29:01    She's my true North, she's my guiding light. She's my lighthouse so to speak and a little backstory on that. We've been together since high school, and my son was born in May, 2010. I was deployed in June, 2010 and then I got hurt in July 2010. So, as a spouse, she left to go home. Then she gets the knock on the door and it goes to the who gamut Marine in dress blues. She thinks I'm dead. It's six o'clock in the morning, local time; she's like, hold on, let me brush my teeth. She had to go through all of that on top of dealing with me. So, she's a Saint!

Julian Torres:    30:11    I just recently wrote a blog post about resistance and is violence and adversity and trauma and sadness and anxiety; are all these means of which lessons are brought to you? So, when we have all these things that I call resistance. Pain can be some form of resistance; adversity, some form of resistance and violence; all these things are under the umbrella, in my opinion, of resistance. And when you were experiencing these things, yes, you weren't doing all the work, but it's the people around you that you surround yourself that are either going to make you stay in that vehicle of perpetual downward cycle or going to help you have the tools to park that fucking vehicle and get out. And so, there was a Vietnam Veteran, it was peers who I was rehabbing with, bouncing ideas off each other, talking to each other about real meaningful conversations.  And it was my wife and it was couples counseling that I really attribute all those coming together, along with counseling. I was in counseling since I was a kid. So, like for anger management. So, I knew that whole counseling game. And I think all those things combined really helped me see the light.

Julian Torres:    32:12    And then to that, one of the biggest questions I had was what kind of father am I going to be? Can I even be a father missing half my body? Does it take a full body? How can I teach him how to do anything with half of my body? And it was learning how to be an amputee, but it was also learning how it'd be like this forever. And that's okay. So, asking myself those kinds of questions, what am I doing here today? What kind of dad am I going to be? What kind of dad do I want to be? What kind of dad don't I want to be?

Julian Torres:    33:03    What kind of husband, all these things I was failing at because I just didn't have any direction.  I've never been an amputee before. I couldn't call a relative and ask, “how do you be an amputee?” I couldn't do any of that stuff. So, I really had to adopt a mindset of, you are the champion of your fate, you're the captain of your soul. It's you. It comes down to you, man. Ralph Waldo Emerson. I was reading a lot of his essays; he is an American philosopher. Individualism. I was reading a lot. Then I just started switching gears, and I learned that diet isn't just something that you eat; it's something also what you listen to and what you think, what you see, all those are diets as well.

Julian Torres:    34:05    And so I just started choosing a healthier diet for my mind. I memorize poems. If I were standing in line for prescription, didn't have a book, didn't have a podcast to listen to, didn't have anything, I wouldn't let this my mind just rest; I would focus. If I let it rest, it would go into the depths of despair. And so, I memorized something fruitful, something productive. And just say it on repeat. And I got radical with it.  I changed my voicemail, because I finally have a message to give to the world, my voicemail is a platform I could use.

Julian Torres:    34:57    I even made a sign. I put it on my front door of my house. I would do whatever it took to get me out of that funk because you got to realize before all of this happened, I was at the top of my game and I was the fastest I ever was. I was the meaning that I ever was, I was the most knowledgeable I'd ever had been. And in a blink of an eye, I was infant status. I need to help to remove myself from the toilet. I needed help putting myself on the toilet. I needed help bathing myself. I couldn't sit for long periods of time. I couldn't stand for long periods of time; I was in level 10 pain. And so, all of this stuff I feel is resistance and it was teaching me something. And I feel I was so low. The thing that I needed to learn was to be grateful, to appreciate. I think I answered your question.

Scott DeLuzio:    36:09    Yeah, I think so. And I think you answered it really well considering how loaded that question was, but a lot of what you're saying really resonates with me too. I was in Afghanistan, same time you were. My brother was killed just a couple of days after your friend was killed. Coming home, I wasn't the same person, I had a lot of anger. I just wasn't the same. And talking to my wife all these years later, she recognized I wasn't the same person. So, she tried to help me out where she could and lead me in the right direction. But there's only so much one person could do. And as hard as she tried, like you were saying about your wife, my wife was a Saint about it; she wasn't holding a grudge against me because I wasn't helping out with the newborn baby quite as much as I maybe should have or as much as she would have liked me to.

Scott DeLuzio:    37:13    Because she knew I was going through some stuff and life was just hard at the time. And she needed to help me get through that phase of life. And we got through that, counseling helped, but ultimately what got me through it was like what you said, what kind of father do I want to be? What kind of husband do I want to be? Well, what kind of person do I want to be? If I'm looking at myself from a third party view, like a 30,000 foot view looking at me and my wife, if I'm seeing this angry, frustrated, upset person, who's not happy with anything, like what kind of life is that I'm really living. It had to be on me to change my own attitude, change how I approach things, how I saw things.

Scott DeLuzio:    38:10    And that's not to say from time to time that certain things never pop back up, but overall I moved myself in the right direction towards a happier life, tried to deal with the emotions in a healthy way, as opposed to letting those emotions get the better of me. And then ultimately, they would've ended up getting the better of my entire life because they have run into my relationship with my wife and my kids and all this other stuff and all the other relationships that I had. So, ultimately had I not taken control; this life would have been a much different life that we're looking at here. I don't know that I'd be in the same position that I'm in right now if I hadn't taken control of that on my own. So, what you're saying really does resonate with me and hopefully it does with a lot of other people who might be listening as well, but I definitely agree. It's a choice. It's a choice that you have to make.

Julian Torres:    39:16    I think at the beginning, you're unaware that you have a choice. And then somewhere along the line, you look at yourself. What are you doing? A lot of people will say, “Oh, talk to yourself nicely.” I think there's a time, a place where you got to tell yourself, “Hey man, what the fuck are you doing?” These people who get hurt, these people who go to war, people who enlisted in the military, you got to understand something about yourself.  You are a thoroughbred of an individual so to speak; you are a busy individual. You are somebody who takes initiative and is a workhorse. And sometimes those thoroughbreds get put into the back pasture.

Scott DeLuzio:    40:18    Sure.

Julian Torres:    40:19    I that is where you can have the actual downward spiral and you get something to where suicide, homelessness, mass shootings, all these things that Veterans have done and it all comes down to you have to honor yourself. And part of doing what Veterans do is a community aspect. Right now, I feel like you're my friend?

Scott DeLuzio:  Yes, for sure.

Julian Torres:  Your cool kid club membership has been paid for. There's nothing that you have to do to prove to me of your merit, those things are already done and it's because of similar experiences, similar choices in life. And I think that Veterans need you to reach out to other Veterans. If we don't take care of each other,  how can we expect the general public to take care of Veterans, to fight for our Veteran rights, to fund our benefits, to make sure that Congress remembers their Veterans when they're signing bills and stuff like that. If we're not on the forefront of the tip of that sphere, how can we expect anybody else to fight for us?

Scott DeLuzio:  Yeah, that's exactly right. People like you, people like me, the Veteran community as a whole, we understand whether or not we've been through the same experiences. I never stepped on an IED. I never lost any limbs or anything like that, but we understand the risks that we all signed up for.

Julian Torres: Yeah, exactly.

Scott DeLuzio:  So, I knew going over overseas to Afghanistan that there are people who want to kill me and there are people who want to blow me up and they want to shoot me and they want to send RPGs up my ass and everything else, but I knew that that was a risk that I was taking.

Scott DeLuzio:    42:36    And I think we all knew that, and if we didn't, we're kidding ourselves. Quite frankly, I think that's just a ridiculous thing to say. If you're sitting there, “Oh no, I never saw that coming.” Well, either that or your leadership failed you, which I don't think is the case. I think leadership across the board has probably done a pretty good job at making the threats well known so that we could do our jobs and we can fight against this type of stuff. We all knew and we all knew what was going to happen potentially to any one of us. And we still signed up and did it anyways. So, we have a bit of a shared understanding of what goes into this type of stuff.

Scott DeLuzio:    43:24    And so if we can't help each other, if I can't help you, you can't help me and any number of other Veterans with other issues; if we can't help each other, how are we going to expect some politician or some bureaucrat who has no clue, who's never volunteered to go to a war zone or to carry a rifle and go fight an enemy. How are we going to expect them to be able to help us out?

Julian Torres:  Or do you even know where to start because they want to help these individuals. Maybe I'm going to give them this.  I appreciate the kind gesture, but I don't need that. What I need is smaller waiting lines at the VA.  What I need is the judicial

Julian Torres:    44:32    system to understand that, I’m not saying you give a pass to PTSD vets, what I'm saying is that based off of their circumstances, they should be treated under a different scope. Maybe get a Veteran judge somewhere that they can understand where this individual's coming from. Accurate representation across the board, instead of just being, “Oh, he's a troublemaker” and shove them down into the penal system where it's like, “come on, man, do you blame them? He put his hands inside of his buddy's brains to stop the bleeding.

Scott DeLuzio:    45:12    Exactly, someone like that is probably not going to come out as the model citizen who's going to tow the line and follow all the rules the way everyone wants them to.

Julian Torres:    45:30     May I just say one more thing? I think the reason, for me, if I have to be honest with myself and to your listeners is the fact that we went over together and we experienced these things together. Whether or not you were actually pulling triggers or throwing grenades or not what the F the truth of the matter is we all went over there knowing, okay, that at the end of the day, we can be on the front lines and whatever those circumstances are, and those risks are we're okay with taking those risks. And how can we experience that and come home and feel like we can figure out this soup of life by ourselves. No. When we come back, you've said it already, you're just different.

Julian Torres:    46:36    You’ve seen different things. You've done different things than the common individual and that's how we learn. My good friend Jack Line says, “we crossed that river of life in combat or in deployment and then when we come back to society were still wet. So how do we dry off? We dry off with the same people that we went over there with, and God, our community, and I'm not trying to say we need to alienate the civilians or the Veterans. We need to coincide and commingle with each other and learn from each other.

Scott DeLuzio:    47:19    Yeah, for sure. And to the point of how we come back and we're different and stuff, I think if you've experienced some sort of trauma or traumatic event or whatever you want to call it and you don't come back different, that's a person I'd be concerned about. That to me is something that maybe is more of a red flag. Maybe there was something going on beforehand that just wasn't caught on. But anyway, Julian, it's been a pleasure speaking with you. We haven't really touched much on your podcast. Would you be able to give us a little rundown on your pod podcast, what that's all about and where people can go to find out more about it?

Julian Torres:    48:10    100% man. It's Coffee with Julian, primarily focusing on bridging that gap between “civilian” and “Veteran.” I’m really just trying to bring a better dialogue to help the Veteran succeed. It's unedited, unsanitized platform, hearing stories directly from Veterans, themselves, maybe Veterans and nonprofits, and Gold Star families. And just to capture they're life lessons and give them a platform on how they want to share their story and share their perspective. You can find it anywhere you get podcasts. You can find me on Instagram at Coffee wit Julian and Twitter, same thing, Coffee wit Julian.

Scott DeLuzio:    49:10    I'm going to have links to all of this in the show notes too. So, as you're driving your car to work now, you don't have to go jot any of this stuff down and spill your coffee, all over your nice clean shirt as you're headed into the office or whatever, don't do that. I'll have it all in the show notes. You can find all of it pretty easily, but I would encourage everyone who's listening, to take a minute after you're done after you're done listening to this episode, hit, stop, go over search for Coffee with Julian, the podcast, and take a look at that. Hit subscribe, leave a rating, leave a review. That'll really help out Julian and get his podcast out there. I really want to encourage people to hear different voices throughout the Veteran community. And it sounds like that's exactly what Julian's doing here with his podcast. So, hats off to you for what you're doing and keep it up, keep doing what you're doing.

Julian Torres:    50:10    Thanks, man, you as well. I appreciate the opportunity coming out to you and sharing each other's story. We’re building a friendship. I do like what you're saying, the Drive On Podcast, because it's important, got to keep moving forward.

Scott DeLuzio:  Exactly. Yeah. Alright. Thanks for joining us.

Julian Torres:  You take good care and I'll see you around, right. Peace.

Scott DeLuzio:    50:44    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DriveOnPodcast.