David Payne is the founder of G.I. Resupply, a company that provides care packages to troops serving overseas. He served in the Army with two tours in Iraq. After getting out he had a bit of a rocky transition. In this episode David talks to me about that transition, what he learned from it, and how G.I. Resupply is able to serve servicemembers who are protecting us all over the world.
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Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:03 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 DriveOnPodcast.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email list. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show. Hey everyone, today, my guest is David Payne. David served in the 82nd Airborne Division and since getting out started a business called GI Resupply, which provides an easy way to send care packages to our troops. David had a bit of a rocky transition after serving, which we'll get to in a minute, but first I wanted to welcome David to the show. So welcome to the show, David, why don't you go ahead and tell us a little bit about your yourself and your background.
David Payne: 00:01:13 Yeah, thank you very much. And thanks for having me on, I appreciate the introduction. My name's David Payne, I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, so I'm a huge Ohio State Buckeyes’ fan. We'll see how we do this year in the playoffs. So, we're hoping for the best, but after high school, I joined the Army. I was actually home sick from school on September 11th. I believe all things happen for a reason. So, there was a reason why I was home that day and that I was watching the footage and stuff that was happening. And it was that day that I knew I was going to join the military. That was what I was going to do. So, when I got out of high school, I joined the Army.
David Payne: 00:02:01 I served in the 82nd Airborne Division for a little over four years. I was an 11 Bravo and Infantryman and did two tours overseas in Iraq, the first tour was on the Iranian border. And the second tour was in 2007. We were the spearhead for the surge that was sent into Baghdad. After that, I got out of the military, I didn't want to look back. I had done my service and I was ready to go to college, but things, they really didn't turn out the way I had it in my mind. And that's when, like you said, things started to get a little rocky. It's a story that's unique to me, but what I'm finding is that I've been sober for seven years now. We'll get into a little bit of what led to that, but there's a lot of us in the Veteran community who have gone or who are going through a lot of the same things that I did when I was working on that transition. So, that's a big part of why I like to share my story and connect with those who have served, who have gone through a lot of the difficulties when they've gotten out to whether they've been dealing with issues from deployments or maybe a loss of the brotherhood and sisterhood that we forge while we're serving. I really like to connect with those who have a lot of the same history.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:03:34 Yeah. And I that's one of the things I'm noticing too, when I'm talking to the other Veterans on this podcast is kind of a similar story like you said, your story is unique to you obviously. Everyone's story is unique to them, but there are a lot of similarities in there with things like you said, the loss of brotherhood and stuff like that. I think it's good to be able to share stories like yours and others who are out there so the people who are out there who are in that period of transition, and they're feeling like they're having loss of identity or purpose or the brotherhood and so that they know that they're not alone out there.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:04:18 And so that's why I'm glad to have people like you on the show to talk about this type of thing. Let other people know that there is a light at the end of that tunnel and that you can keep going and find out that things are going to turn out okay. You know?
David Payne: Absolutely.
Scott DeLuzio: So, let's go back a little bit in time, when you were still in the Army, but you saw that end date getting closer. You knew that you were going to be getting out of the Army and that you could probably count down the days or weeks, or months or whatever to getting out of the military. What was that transition process like for you? Did you feel like you were prepared to enter into the civilian world when you eventually got out? I know you said you left the Army behind you but what was that process like? And did you feel like you were really prepared for that transition?
David Payne: 00:05:15 I think that the military did its best as far as preparing us to get out. The difficulties involved we're mainly on my part. So, when I got out, I believe I was 22 years old. I was young; I thought I had everything figured out. The Army did its best to say, Hey this is how you prepare a resume. This is what you do in a job interview. This is how you use your unique skills that you've gained while you've been in the military. I remember one time in particular, they asked me, Hey, what did you do? And I was like, well, I was in the infantry. And they were like, well, how do use those skills and put them on a resume? And I didn't know how, and then they started to really name things off.
David Payne: 00:06:03 They were like well, you've worked in logistics, you've done tactical planning. And they started naming off all these things that I never really thought about. But to me it was more of let's get through this and check the box and let's get that DD2 14 and head home. And so, I really could have done a better job of utilizing the resources that they had to prepare myself to get out now. So, I'll blame myself in that I know I've listened to some others on your podcasts that have explained some of the same things and how maybe it was, I don't know, they just had different experiences, etc. But I think for me, it was more of, Hey, I know when my end date is, I know what I need to do to get that paper and that's what I'm going to do.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:06:54 Yep. And then figuring out the rest after that, you know?
David Payne: Exactly. Yep. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: And so, what was it like once you got out? I know you, you mentioned that you've been sober now for seven years, hats off to you. A lot of people struggle with that. And that's definitely an accomplishment there. What were some of the issues that you ran into after getting out of the military?
David Payne: 00:07:19 Yeah, it was. In the military, we train hard, we're ready to sacrifice everything. But one thing that we also do very well is we party hard. After the training during the week, that was the one thing we were looking forward to on the weekends. And that culture really transferred over to my civilian world as well. So, I got out, I started attending college and to me, I started thinking of all those years that I was deployed. And then I didn't have an opportunity. I turned 21 over in Baghdad. So, I didn't have that opportunity to live that life like a young adult when you go to college. I used that as the excuse of why I was doing all that partying.
David Payne: 00:08:10 I was still getting work done. I still had good grades. I was still functioning and doing what I was supposed to do. But over time, that lifestyle just doesn't last. You can't last on that lifestyle. And soon enough I was breaking relationships with family and friends and I didn't want to listen to what anyone had to say because I knew it all. I was that young person that had gone through some extreme life events and thought that I knew better than everybody. And in the end, I had to humble myself. I was humbled by a couple of events that happened while I was drinking. A lot of those deal with the law and lucky for me, they happened because if they wouldn't have happened and I wouldn't have had consequences, then I could still be out there drinking today.
David Payne: 00:09:03 I don't ever close a door and on things that have happened in my past, because they helped shape the future that I'm living in now. So, I'm appreciative that it happened. That lifestyle definitely wore down a lot out of relationships and it took a while to build back up. You could apologize to somebody so many times before they don't believe you anymore, then it's time to show some action. I joined a 12-step program. That was the way that helped me. Lucky for me, I had a friend that was already in that program because there were times that I knew I had a problem. This wasn't normal behavior and I needed to do something about it, but to me, and I think to a lot of Veterans too, we just try to figure it out on our own. We are very quick to help people who are in need, but when it comes to ourselves, that's something that we don't really like to worry about. Things will just figure themselves out. We don't like to ask for help. Luckily for me, I had somebody who was already in the program that I was able to reach out to and helped guide me through that path because without it, I don't think I would have had the guts to do it.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:10:26 Yeah. I have used that example or this example before on this podcast, but when you're in the military, you do pretty much everything as a team. You don't go and clear a building on your own, infantry tactics or whatever, you don't go and do that type of thing on your own. You have your fire team or your squad or whatever with you going and clearing that building. And so, you go and you rely on the other people to help you out in those situations. Why shouldn't stuff like this be the same when you realize that you need help with something, whether it's substance abuse issues or financial issues or things like that, reach out to people who can help.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:11:20 There's no shame in doing it. That's the whole reason why small businesses start hiring employees. That business owner can't do everything on their own. So, they need to hire people. You don't look at that person as weak because they went out and hired someone. You actually applaud them. It's like, Oh, great, you're growing past your own capacity. You're doing something good. And then in this case you had some issues that were a little bit beyond your own capability of dealing on your own. And so, getting that help and that support from the friend who's in the program with you, I think is a smart way to go. There's really no shame in doing that type of thing.
David Payne: 00:12:07 So you brought up a great point as far as being a part of the team, because as soon as we enter basic training, we go in there as an individual and they break us down and they say, “Hey, you're going to come out of here as a team. And if you don't like it, you're going to learn it quick enough.” But the military is all about that team environment. And I said at the beginning of the podcast, how I was excited to get out of the military, because I didn't want the military to be my sole purpose in life, or to be the one thing that I was known for, or to be the only thing that I had success at. I just want it to be a chapter in my life. What I found when I got out was a lot of those great qualities that you find in the military.
David Payne: 00:12:56 I was lost without them. There were people that I served with that I have a bond with that I will have for the rest of my life. And when I got out that was gone, now we still stay in touch, but a lot of those life events that brought us together, now we're just living everyday normal lives. And what I found was that I wasn't working for a purpose anymore. I joined the military because of what happened on 9/11. When I got out, I was just an everyday college kid that was working a side job and I had all these aspirations and dreams but they just weren't coming quick enough. And I wanted to forget about all that stuff by taking a drink. but the problems were still there the next day. So, the military set me up for a lot of success and a lot of that. And I found I was so eager to start my civilian life, but there's so much about the military that I miss.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:14:02 Yeah. And again, I think we've touched on this already, but I think that is a common theme where people do feel like they're done with the military, they want to get out. And like you did, they rushed through the whole process that they go through to help you with that transition, don't give it as much attention as they probably should. Then they miss out on a lot of the opportunities that the military has provided to them, when they're not taking full advantage of everything that they learned or the experiences that they had and even in relationships and things like that too. So, eventually you have this rocky time; you're going to school and then you get into this 12-step program. Eventually you started your business, GI Resupply. What prompted you to start this business? Is this something that you had in the back of your mind to do all along while you were in school or maybe even while you were in the military, or is this something that came up later on?
David Payne: 00:15:15 Yeah, this came up a little bit later on. The Veteran community, we're always very eager to give back and the same thing can be found with those who are going through recovery. I think there's no better feeling than that. One thing that I had thought of was how can I give back to those who were still serving in the military with a big part of my life? It always will be. And there are a lot of people, thousands and thousands of people who are still deployed around the world and whether that's due to COVID or other newsworthy things, we don't hear about it that much anymore. And I thought that that was strange. I mean, the Wars have been going on for a while now, so I don't want it to be just an everyday thing.
David Payne: 00:16:07 I still want to support. And I think I want the country to get on board and support as much as we can. That's why I started GI Resupply. I just wanted to fill the gap for those who were still deployed, and even those who aren't, just those who were serving around the world and just make it an easy way to send people a care package. There are tons of people who want to support our troops, but a lot of them don't know how. A lot of them are like, “okay, yeah, I think I would've sent a care package, but what do I put in it? They don't want to send things that people aren't going to use. We just want to provide an easy way for somebody to say, “Hey if it's during the holidays or I have a family member that's deploying, this is an easy way for me to send them a care package, whether I do a one-time or where I send them one every month.
David Payne: 00:17:00 And then to talk about our military spouses too, they go through so much when their loved one’s deployed; they're holding down the home front, they're paying bills, they might be taking kids to practices or recitals. And then on top of all that, they're worrying about their loved one who is deployed. So, we also wanted to provide an easy way for you to support your loved ones while you're dealing with everything else that's happening back home.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:17:39 Yeah, for sure. And I know for myself, when I was in Afghanistan, we were there over the summer and anyone who's been over there knows it gets pretty hot over there. And every once in a while, someone will get a care package and it would have like chocolate in it or something. And it would be a little melted. It would be melted chocolate all over everything and everything else that's in the box. And it's like, now you have this sticky, gooey mess. And so, that was a situation where someone who didn't really know what to send or what not to send, I guess in this case. They packed up some stuff like chocolates and they sent them over and unfortunately it ended up ruining a lot of the other stuff that was good in there, but they sent notepads and things like that, but you're not going to really write too much on those when they're covered in chocolate. But as a business like yours, where what is acceptable to send over there and how to send it in and everything like that, they're not going to run into those issues. And I think that that's a valuable thing that you might have going for you. Just picking and choosing the right items to send to the right locations throughout the world where people are deployed all over the place really.
David Payne: 00:19:00 And people have the best intentions; they want to send everything that they think that people who are deployed aren't getting, but like you said, a lot of the times it could take a week or longer to get over there. The temperatures are high, they could get damaged on the way there. The best feeling in the world when I was deployed was if we came back from a patrol or we were out for a couple of days, was coming back to mail, whether that be a letter or a care package, whatever. And I just want to provide a way for people to send that feeling to people who are still fighting for our freedom. During COVID, we've a lot of times been locked inside our homes, but our service members are still doing their jobs, they didn't stop. I think now more than ever, they need our continued support.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:20:07 Yeah, for sure. And you're absolutely right with that feeling that you get when you get mail. I know there were some people who never got mail, whether it was a package or a letter or whatever, and it almost hurts you to feel that they are not getting that feeling. And you kind of want to share some of that with them. We would do that every once in a while; If we got a big care package or whatever, we just set it out for everyone and everyone could pick through and grab whatever they wanted out of these packages, because it helped boost the morale of not just the people who were getting the packages, but even the people who didn’t, it helped them out too. So, absolutely. Yeah. It's really a good feeling. I remember even back to basic training; we would get letters from home. They weren't care packages, obviously the way you might send someone who's overseas or whatever. But just a letter from home was something great. It was something that you could read and it brought a little bit of normalcy to life, which is really an uplifting thing, you know?
David Payne: 00:21:22 Absolutely. Yeah. It allows you to get that feeling of home and just be in a different place, even if it's for a short amount of time. I remember getting letters in basic training and I carried them in my pocket the whole time. Things like that to where if we were in the field or doing whatever, at least I had it there and it could break up that monotony a little bit. So, I think you're spot on.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:21:47 Yeah, I actually kept all of the letters that I got to from home and I still have them actually. I kept them when I left basic training and I put them in a folder and I still have them there. They're sitting in a closet now somewhere, but I still have them all and I think my mom kept all the letters that I wrote back home, too. So, I have both sides of the conversation, too. So, it's neat to have all of that for memories and things. So, what advice would you have for other Veterans, maybe who are recently separated from the military and are starting to feel some of the same things that you were feeling like the loss of purpose and that brotherhood that you were feeling as you were getting out? What advice might you have for them to help prevent them from going down that same path where they might get themselves into some trouble?
David Payne: 00:22:48 Absolutely. I would say the biggest thing is just to reach out whether that be to your family. I think the biggest is to your battle buddies or people that you served with just reach out and talk about it. One of the biggest misconceptions I think for me, was that I had to keep everything in and that it wasn't tough if I talked about the way I was feeling or if I was feeling down or something, wasn't right. I kept it in and I just told myself I'm going to deal with it by myself and that led me down a dangerous road. I think the biggest thing is just reach out and don't be ashamed of it. We've all gone through a lot of these same scenarios and we've all felt this way before, or at some point in our lives.
David Payne: 00:23:43 It's really how do we deal with it that sets us apart from other people. And the biggest way to overcome that, just bring it out in the open and share it. I encourage anybody, whether I know you or not, you can reach out to me; I'd be more than happy to talk to you. That's one thing I've found when I got sober was that I was able to be that person that was present. When I was drinking, I thought that I was, but I couldn't be counted on and I felt like I was present. I was there for anybody, but I wasn't, I was only there for myself. I think that the biggest accomplishment out of that, of all this is that I can be there for somebody else. Now, somebody else who's going through the same thing and understands what people are going through. I encourage anybody. You can reach out to me day or night. It doesn't matter. If I can help out in any way, and you can share your story or we can work through some of those issues and I'd be more than happy to do it.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:24:56 Yeah. That's one thing I've noticed about the Veteran community is that we are very willing to help out others. There are a few Facebook groups that I'm a part of that are there to help out Veterans with whatever issues they're going through, but whenever someone reaches out and asks for help with something, maybe it's similar to the issues that we talked about today, there's always someone there who's reaching back out and offering their advice or their help or some sort of guidance. It takes a lot of courage, I think, like you were saying, sometimes people are ashamed to even reach out for help. It might take a lot of courage to do that but once when you do, I mean, the feedback and the support and the help that you get is really encouraging and it can really help get such you in the right direction and give you the guidance that you need to get you where you need to be, you know?
David Payne: 00:26:06 Absolutely. Yeah. That's a great thing about our community. We have that bond that'll be there for life. You know, there are people that I meet that I never served with, but knowing that they are a Veteran and have gone through a lot of the same things, I immediately feel that bond. And that's something that can't be broken. And that's one thing that we need to just keep doing is sticking together. You know, we've all been through a lot of the same things. We're stronger together as a unit and if we can continue to help each other and work through some of these difficult situations that we find ourselves in, we'll be better in the end, as long as we do it as a unit.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:26:53 Yeah, absolutely. And I've had people from the VFW, the American Legion on this podcast talking about their organizations and what they have to offer. One of the things that they do have to offer is some of that comradery, where you can go to your local post and meet other like-minded Vets who maybe you didn't serve in the same Wars, same conflict and time period even, you might have someone who's 67 years old at these things. You might have someone else who's in their twenties but it doesn't matter. There's still that bond there between the military people. The Veteran community does a really good job at helping each other.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:27:42 I would really encourage people who are struggling with maybe even finding people who are other Veterans in their community. Maybe they don't know very many people; join one of those organizations, one of those Veteran organizations, and go out and meet some of these people. And then you can start talking to them and hopefully get the advice that you need and learn from their years of experience. You know, especially if you're talking about people who are Vietnam or Korea era Veterans, they've gone through all this years ago, this stuff is not new. Learn from their experience. You know, they've tried things; they failed and they've made it through. Ask them questions, talk to them, learn from their experiences. I think that's a great way to go.
David Payne: 00:28:37 Yeah, you're spot on because it's extremely important that we joined those organizations because there's going to be people that come up after us that are going to need the same support. So just as you know, those who were in World Ear II, Vietnam, Korea, and the Gulf War, just like you said, they've been through it, they've lived it. And they've learned what's worked and what hasn't, and they're ready to give us that knowledge and to lift us up and help us keep going. But they're going to be people after us, that are going to need the exact same assistance and support. And that's why it's important for our generation to join those organizations. Yeah, for sure.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:29:20 And I know this era of COVID and stuff like that, it makes in-person meetings difficult, and maybe some of these places are not doing the in-person meetings. So, maybe it's not the thing that you jump into right away. I don't know, check out your local posts and see what's going on. If they are having the in-person meetings and everything, or allowing people into the posts and then join and reach out and absolutely see what kind of relationships you can form. Especially if you're younger and you don't really have very many relationships in the area, maybe you are away from home from where you grew up or whatever, and you don't have very many people that you know, join these organizations. And there's a whole host of people who are members there, and maybe they're local business owners who can make connections for you and things like that to help you in your career, or even just whatever you're doing post-military. They can hopefully help you out.
David Payne: 00:30:26 Yeah, exactly. Right.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:30:29 So, David is there anything else about your business that you want to talk about. GI Resupply. How it works? I want to give you an opportunity to kind of plug your business a little bit here. How it works for someone who might be interested in sending out a care package. Maybe they want to send a care package, but they don't necessarily know anybody overseas, they just are supportive of the military and they want to send some care packages out to help people out. What kind of things do you offer? What kind of things can people expect when they go and visit your website?
David Payne: 00:31:07 Yeah, thanks for giving the opportunity to do that. We make the process as easy as possible. All you need to do is go to GI Resupply.com. We offer a couple of different options as far as care packages, whether you want to send snacks only, or toiletries only, or you want to send both. Really you just pick what care package you want to send and you purchase that care package. And there's an option where you could enter, if somebody who's deployed, you can enter their address and we'll ship it to that person. if you don't know someone who's deployed, you just want to send it as a gift. Then we find somebody who's deployed and we send it to them and we'll let you know where your package went and who it went to and where they're serving.
David Payne: 00:31:54 We also provide the person who purchased the package, their address and stuff for that soldier, or airman or sailor or Marine, so that they can correspond back and forth. We feel it's important to build that relationship between the person who is serving and then the person who wants to support them. One thing that's been the greatest feeling out of from starting the businesses, people who are reaching out and I'd say 90, 95% of the people who've purchased a care package, they've been for people that they don't know. They don't know someone who is serving and they want to support. So, I think that that's awesome. We're building those relationships and we're able to give people an opportunity to support people who were deployed. Because like I said before, there's a lot of people serving around the world and we just want to make sure that we're able to send them a piece of home and help raise them around as much as we can.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:33:01 That's awesome. And I'm glad that there are companies out there like yours that are doing this type of thing. I'm really glad that there are even more that there are people out there who are willing to support the military, and support the troops that are overseas, who are doing the fighting and defending our freedom. So, I'm really appreciative of all of those people, including you. David, it has been an absolute pleasure talking with you today about your business, about your time in the military and that transition period. I'm really glad that we got a chance to share your story. Hopefully it helps some other people. For anyone who's listening, the website for GI Resupply is GIResupply.com and I'll have links to the website and all the social media pages for that in the show notes. So, you can go check it out there. David, thanks again for joining me today. I really do appreciate it.
David Payne: 00:34:08 Thanks so much for having me on, it's been a pleasure talking with you and I hope that you have a great holiday. Thanks, you too.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks sir.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:34:22 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 @Drive On Podcast.