Overcoming Tragedy

Tripp Bodenheimer Overcoming Tragedy
Drive On Podcast
Overcoming Tragedy

Tripp Bodenheimer is currently serving in the US Air Force and is also the host of The Shadows Podcast. In this episode, we talk about tragedies encountered in Tripp’s childhood and how they shaped who he is and what he does today.

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Scott DeLuzio  00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into a Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community, whether you’re a veteran active duty guard reserve or family member, this podcast we’ll 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. Everybody will come back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Tripp Bodenheimer.Tripp is currently serving in the US Air Force and is also the host of the Shadows podcast. We’re going to talk about Tripp’s childhood and how it shaped who he is and what he does today. So welcome to the show Tripp. 

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:00:40   I  Appreciate you having me.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:00:42    Hey yeah, absolutely. I’m glad to have you. Why don’t you tell the audience people who may or may not know who you are and may not be familiar with you and your podcast, tell a little bit about who you are and everything.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:00:56    Yeah. So, who I am, currently I am, a little past 12 years in the United States Air Force. I came in as a calm guy, working on computers, joined a little bit later, joined at 29. So I got a little bit of real-world experience under my belt and then decided to join the military. I was stationed in Arizona, went to Germany for six years, which was the best six years of my life. And while I was over there, they asked me if I wanted to be a part of what the Air Force calls, developmental special duty program or DSD, and basically being an instructor for young airmen and getting them ready to supervise. And I did that for three years. Loved it. And just, I was myself, I wasn’t playing the role of an instructor or anything.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:01:43    It was just me and that landed me a spot in the Alabama fair off Germany at Alabama. I ended up moving over here with my family and I am now the instructor for the instructors. So I teach all enlisted professional military education instructors in the Air Force. When they get picked up in the DSD process, they come through our course and we teach them, basically the fundamentals of how to teach questioning techniques, active listening. Non-verbals verbals mean all that stuff such as multitasking and time management. So yeah, and then I’m married. I’ve been married to my wife for 14 years. two daughters, my youngest daughter, 13 still lives with us here in Alabama. And, that’s a pretty important part of who I am. And then, like you said, the Shadows Podcast, which has been around now for we’re looking at, almost a year and a half, which is crazy. Because, as well as I do, like it’s, there’s a lot that goes into podcasts. And so to be hanging around that, that long is a kind of, self high-five, I guess.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:02:53    You definitely deserve a high five for that because there’s some podcasts. What, what is it not even 10 or so episodes that they average that number. Yeah. And so to be able to sit around for, for that long is pretty impressive. Any podcaster I should say, who sticks with it, for any extended period of time, obviously has a passion for what it is that they’re doing. They must enjoy it because it’s so easy to just pull the plug and walk away from it. If you’re not enjoying it, there’s no reason to continue doing it. So, it’s not really easy to do so, so it’s obvious that you’re enjoying what you’re doing and, and the work that goes into it. Sometimes  I know, and we were talking earlier before we started recording, but I know sometimes the work can be tedious, and sometimes, it isn’t the easiest thing to do, but ultimately when you look at the big picture it’s worthwhile.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:03:54    So, I’m glad you’re sticking with it and we’ll get more into the podcast and a little bit, but first I want to, go back into your childhood. I mentioned a little bit earlier, a little bit about your childhood and I want to talk about your family and, but the couple of major tragedies that you had at such a young age. Would you be able to share some of those experiences and your childhood and what that was all like, paint that picture for us?  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:04:25    Yeah, absolutely. And first of all, podcasts like yours are very good, like therapeutic methods for things that people have been through,  experiences. And For the longest time, I kept my story bottled up and it was just not something I wanted to share. And actually, it was, an article, that I posted for another podcast, and then coming on there and speaking is kind of what got my podcast started. But, I was like, wow, the power of storytelling is crazy. I grew up in North Carolina, grew up in Lumberton, North Carolina for most of my life. My father was a defense attorney. He was very successful. And, it was, I just had like a perfect life. Like we had we were living the white picket fence, the American dream.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:05:18    We had a really nice house. So it was in a good school system, had all my friends, I had not a worry in life. And then, our story kind of took a weird turn. It was like September of 92. I was in fifth grade. So I think that’ll tell everybody my age. But yeah, I woke up on like a Saturday or Sunday morning and my parents said we’re moving to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. And, as a kid, you’re like a timeout. I’m in fifth grade, I’ve got this girlfriend, we’re going to get married. We’re going to be together forever. I have all my best friends here. What, why are you altering my life so much? And, I wasn’t in the know at that age and my sister and I, the next thing we know, we move within a month and go to South Carolina.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:06:07    My dad got hired at a technology company,  I think was the name of it. And we go down there, we start going to a new school, making new friends.  I’m having to go through the whole transition of the new guy at the school. Kids were brutal in early 93, my goodness. We moved down there and life was good. And my father was like, you couldn’t get a better dad. Like you honestly couldn’t. And I mean, I take pride in being a father. The number one thing in my life is being a dad. It’s no more entitled. That you asked me my titles before military members, husband, father came up and my dad just, he would come home from work and he would get changed out of his suit. And the next thing, he would go outside and start playing basketball with me.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:07:02    And then my sister would be upstairs and he would go upstairs and he would start, she would play like school with her dolls and stuff. And this is before smartphones and all this other stuff. So you had to use your imagination. So she would have all her stuffed animals set up and he was like the principal of her school. And then he would go play SuperNet, endo games with me, and stuff. And it was just very hands-on. And then around eight o’clock, you would settle down and you know him, my mom would watch TV or what have you. And, some of the things we do it’d be like ride bikes, I said, or play basketball. I remember we were riding bikes and my father was, he stopped. And he started, he pulled out this brown bag out of his pocket and he started breathing in it.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:07:42    And I’m just so confused. You’re winded from riding a bike. And he’s, no, I’m fine., Hey, but between me and you just keep this between, just don’t tell him, I don’t want to freak out. He’s my best friend. I’m like, all right, I’m loyal. I’m not a snitch. I’m gonna look out for you. So we start playing basketball a couple of days or weeks later, and he does the same thing. And this went on for maybe four or five times. And, every time I was just like, she didn’t say anything. So January, well, no, this is actually June of 93. We were, it was on a Sunday. He was mowing the yard and he comes in and my mom ends up bringing him back to the bedroom, basically strips them down, and starts putting cold, washcloths, and stuff on them.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:08:32    And she’s like, I think he had a little heatstroke on the yard and I didn’t think anything of it. I was like, oh, he’ll be fine. He’s my dad. He’s invincible. And about two weeks later, I was, I think this was a Tuesday night. It was June 23rd, 1993. And I’m upstairs. We had this huge, playroom area. So I’m upstairs. My sister and I are up there playing, I hear this loud side. And my sisters go downstairs and see that it’s fine. It’s probably mom in the kitchen or something. And she runs downstairs and then she screams and I end up running down behind her and we look, and my dad had basically, he was sitting on the recliner, watching television with my mom and he stood up and he just, he had a heart attack right in front of her.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:09:19    And he fell, collapsed right in front of her. So we ran downstairs and then the next thing was just a blur, trying to revive him. We were kind of herded back to my parents’ bedroom. And I just remember sitting there and, this is 11 years old. My life is forever changed. it’ll never, that normal life will never be the same again. Even if he recovers and it was a roll when I, after that, the next, gosh, I think it was 17 days or something like that. Like I said, my mass sprayed off, but it was the 9th of June, or excuse me of July. He passed away and. He just had a heart attack. He had smoked, he had a lot of stress.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:10:09    I had noticed thinking back, like his neck would get really red and I would ask him about it. And he’s like, that’s from shaving. I didn’t know that I was 11 years old. I didn’t know anything about shaving.  After that, we pretty much lost our house. We were in this little apartment in South Carolina and I’m 11 years old and I’m now the man of the house and I’m grocery shopping and learning how to budget money. And I’m learning how to pay bills with my mom and staying up late, seeing her stress about stuff I’ve never had to worry about. And I’m like, what is this? So I grew up really quickly and we left South Carolina because my mom wanted to get another job. The cost of living in South Carolina was too much. So we ended up going back to Lumberton.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:11:00    We had a support system there too for my mom. She didn’t have a strong support system in South Carolina. She didn’t work that much at first. She was kind of an at-home mom, but we ended up going back to Lumberton and I was happy. My friends were there. We had a new house and everything. And my sister just really got in with the wrong crew and my sister Myers. And she never really got over my father passing. She struggled with it and we both did, but we never really talked about it. Let’s get it, I don’t think we really knew how to talk about it. And we really didn’t bring it up much. We would bring up little memories of him, but it was just there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:11:46    And it wasn’t a lot of, I don’t know. I think we just got caught up in our lives in school. How it isn’t sixth, seventh, or eighth grade. That’s your life. And we, you said she got mixed up in the wrong group. And she was actually sexually assaulted at a party and came on and told me about it.  And then she started to get bullied and picked on for it afterwards. It got to the point where she would hide when the school bus would come. She would go outside like to wait on it. My mom would leave, go to work. And then Myers would come back inside because of the ridicule and everything she caught, the second she entered that school bus. It was just, it was traumatic to her and people were laughing at her, but nobody helped her.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:12:39    And I kept talking to her and telling her, Hey, things will be fine. You can get through this. Well, she ended up turning to drugs. She turned to alcohol, she started smoking. And a lot of this was behind my mom’s back, knowing nothing about it, later on, I told my mom and she said, I had no idea.  But it was the same thing he said, Hey don’t say nothing to mom about this. And then there were some suicidal tendencies as well in the whole time. She’s 13, 14 years old and we were 18 months apart. So for me, it was hard and it was the arguments that were going on at the house. And it was just a toxic environment. This was a toxic home life because my mom’s just lost her husband.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:13:28     My sister is unraveling right before us, and I had no idea how to handle any of this. I’ve just been told, keep secrets from everybody. And so I was trying to stay out. I was, I was tired of secrets. I was just trying to, I would go to my room and kind of do my own thing. Well, my mom had met this guy, probably the nicest man ever to walk the face of the earth. She met this guy, Alan Simmons. He lived in Sumter, South Carolina. They dated for a while. And then, some or 98 were supposed to move to South Carolina. And, I had a little girlfriend in South Carolina and my sister had this, this guy that she was dating or excuse me, North Carolina. And both of them were, we’re not looking forward to that hour, drive up the road.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:14:19     I might as well be going to Germany. We’re never going to be together. Oh my gosh, all this stuff. high school love. And I remember I was hanging out with my girlfriend and Myers was hanging out with her boyfriend and we went to Red Springs to visit my grandfather and to visit the burial site, my dad. And on the way back, that was the last time I saw her and her boyfriend kind of took off on the road. That night she called me and we were supposed to be at my grandmother’s house and we’re going to get the next morning mode. And she called me and she said, Hey, I’m going to be a little late., I’m going to be hanging out with my boyfriend.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:14:59    But, just want to tell you, we’ve made it through this. We’re about to get a clean start. I just wanna let you know, I love you. And I was kinda weird. And I don’t tell my sister, 14 years old, 16 years old, we don’t tell each other, we love each other. And then I was like, all right, well, I love you. Love you too. And I hung up the phone. I went to my grandmother’s house and didn’t think anything of it went to bed. And that morning, I woke up and I was upstairs and I could kind of hear because the stairwell was right by the bedroom. And I could hear my mom and my grandparents talking. My mom, she said, where’s Meyer’s at, I have no idea where she’s at.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:15:44    I haven’t heard from her, I go back to bed and then, here, someone at the door, someone talking to them and I thought it was kind of weird. And they said, Myers has been, I do hear she’d been involved in an accident and my mom starts crying and I’m thinking they got in a wreck, they got in a car wreck. She’s going to be fine. She’s probably banged up, bruised up, but I didn’t want to run downstairs and, what happened? What happened? So I stayed up there and my mom came up and she came and woke me up and she said, Hey, uh, we need to talk. And she’s fighting back her tears. And she says, Myers has been in an accident. I said, okay. She is all right. She’s said she’s been shot. And I said, oh, what? And she said, yeah, she, basically it was, it was a murder-suicide.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:16:39    And she was, unfortunately, taken from us August 23rd, 1998. And, they’d pulled off on a log-in trail. Found drugs there, there was Coke at the scene and everything, but when the cops arrived, her boyfriend had turned the gun on himself and they were, she was already gone. But yeah, unfortunately, we lost both of them. And, after that, it was I’m 16 years old. I’m like, what in the world has happened to my life. So it made me question everything. It made me question my religion. It made me question any and everything. And that was it. And now on top of that, we had just moved or we were starting a move to South Carolina. So the 24th, 25th, those days,, it was, it was a world might’ve people. I don’t even remember who I talked to.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:17:41    I don’t remember anyone coming up to me, everybody comes up to you. And what do you say to someone when that’s happened? I’m so sorry. I’m here. I mean, there’s really not a lot you can say. And, I just remember a week later, I’m starting school at a brand new high school in South Carolina as a junior. And right when I pulled up to the school, it was crazy because she loved that song. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith was a big song at that time. And I pulled up to school and I’m sitting there and just 3000 people at Sumter high school are sitting in the parking lot. I gotta go in here and I’m on now. I’ve got to go in here and start. And that song came on the radio and I lost it.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:18:27    Absolutely lost it. And, I can’t be seen crying in high school.  pride and ego and all this sort of the white, my tears, I go into the school. I walked in there too, and they had her student ID as the screensaver on the computer. And I lost it again. And I was just oh my gosh, cause we’d already been there and taken our school IDs and stuff. And, it was hard. It was really, really hard. And my sister, my older sister, she’s taken it a lot worse than me, but for me, it’s, it’s been something that I’ve, I’ve struggled with. I’ve actually, if I were to say how well I’ve handled it on a scale of one to 10, believe it or not, everything I’ve been through, I would say honestly, probably about an eight, cause I’ve just kept moving forward and it’s actually, it’s part of my story.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:19:24    And it’s unfortunate, but it may sound weird, but I do look at the time that I had with them, the 11 years of how with my dad and the 14 years ahead with my sister and people will look at this story and they’re oh my gosh, I can’t believe you went through all that. I feel so bad for you. My heart breaks, I look at it like I was lucky. I had 11 years and 14 years with them and I was fortunate for what I had and what I was given and the memories I still take away. I still hear my dad’s voice. I still hear my sister’s voice. I can still smell them. I can still hear my sister laugh., I can still hear my dad. I’m out there playing basketball with me and stuff. So I can, I still have those memories and I’m thankful that I still have those. That was, that was pretty much my upbringing.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:20:12    Those memories that you’re talking about are things that will last a lifetime. It’s been years since then, but years and years but you’ll still have those memories. They’re important pieces of who you are and, while those experiences are certainly tragic in and of themselves, add in how young you were plus, the frequent moving and everything else that you had going on in your life. It kind of makes it more of a volatile situation for such a young person to be going through all that.

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:20:58    I just wanted to add a kind of piggyback of what you’re saying. One thing I can honestly sit here and say is, probably, just as proud as anything else that I’ve achieved during that whole time. I never turned to drugs. I never turned to alcohol. I’m sitting here 39 years old. I’ve never been drunk a day in my life. I’ve never tried a drug. I’ve never attempted to take my life or anything.  I put my head up and, and it can’t move them forward. That’s like one of my big things to anyone out there is, no matter what you’re going through, if you keep your head up, you’ll be surprised, which you can put, you can achieve and you can get through. And this was way before mental health was at the forefront. This is before talking to people like you, you don’t do that. You don’t go to an agency. You don’t go to a doctor or anything like that. It’s just that. I just wanted to throw that out there. I’m sorry.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:22:03    No, that’s really something to be proud of. But, and you’re right. back then, it was not something that was encouraged for you to go and talk to somebody, that was for, quote, unquote, crazy people to go, like you had to be really messed up to go. And padded rooms and the whole nine yards like that, that level is, what we’re talking about back then, kind of painting that picture for people who maybe weren’t around back then or were too young to really realize the situation back then. But, when you were talking about moving in the fifth grade, I also moved in the fifth grade and it wasn’t as far as what you did, it was just a town over, but still, it felt it might as well have been to another country because it’s brutal. It’s not like you can just hop in your own car and go visit your friends that you used to hang out with any time you want, because you have to wait for your parents to go over there and everything. And then those friendships fade and they draw apart and all that kind of stuff.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:23:15    I know what you’re going through with that.  Going to a new school, being the new kid is an uncomfortable time too. A few years before that I had lost my grandmother, who I was very close to. I was seven at that point. So I was what, two or three years before that time period., I remember that initial shock and disbelief of losing her. And it was something that affected me for quite a bit quite a while after that. I don’t know if it was because she was the first person that I knew who I was close to who passed away, or not. But,, but that was a tough pill to swallow. I can’t imagine having two people like you, your father and your sister who you’re close to passing just a matter of a few years from each other, especially unexpectedly that way.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:24:10    in my grandmother’s case, she was battling cancer. And, and so at, at some point, it became kind of expected. We knew at some point she wasn’t going to make it. It was just a matter of time, but in your case, that’s, that’s just like ripping off a really, really shitty band-aid, that, that it’s like instant and it’s, it’s painful and it hurts and it’s, it’s awful. and so I think I can’t imagine going through all of that all at the same time. You mentioned that you didn’t turn to drugs, you didn’t turn to alcohol, you didn’t, you didn’t have any suicidal thoughts or anything like that. What were some of the coping skills that you used to get through that time?  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:24:59    That’s a really good question. Some of the coping skills I have, first of all, I’ve always been close to my mom. I’ve always been close to my mom.  I’ve always been able to talk to her about anything and everything, my older sister. So definitely my family helped me out a lot. I’ve always made friends wherever I’ve gone. So I’ve always stayed in sports, helped me out. I loved playing basketball from a young age, so, coming home and going out in the driveway with my friends and playing basketball, I had a really good group that lived in my neighborhood. And, people like Alan Gentry, the Caldwell family, I mean, these are people that just really, knew my story, never brought it up, never talked about, to talk to me about it.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:25:48    And it was just, they were, they were phenomenal just to be around it kind of an escape. And so definitely sports, definitely a strong support system and doing things. I like just hobbies, hobbies, just, kind of taking that time from me, just spending time doing what interests me. And that’s something that even now I like with podcasting, it’s a hobby, it’s something that I like doing, and it’s something that’s therapeutic. It kind of gets your mind away from things. So I would definitely tell everybody out there that if you feel like you’re, you’re having to turn to other things. Just look deep down within you and find who are those people you enjoy talking to? Who are those people that you can be present with and enjoy their company and get lost in the time, get lost in the conversation.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:26:39    And then we all liked that little bit of us time to find things you like doing, whether it’s a book, working out, getting engaged in sport. I don’t even believe it or not like sports. I don’t even let it bother me now. If my teams lose, there’s a bigger picture of life. Then, the Tar Heels lost last night. To me, that’s not important stuff to me anymore. And I do see people get bent out of shape about that. But, yeah, one thing is funny. You’re talking about fifth-grade moving. I remember we went from North Carolina, so my dad went to North Carolina and he played football at North Carolina and Chapel Hill. So I go to school in South Carolina, I got North Carolina bag and all the Clemson, South Carolina people, it was like gang warfare.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:27:29   I got over there. That was my bullying that I received was not because of my haircut or because of the way I looked or anything like that. It was simply because I was a Tar Heels fan. And I honestly got in fights at school because of that. It got to the point where I’d come home. My dad would actually teach me how to fight. This is how you defend yourself. This is how you fight. Just find stuff you like get a good support system and that, right now with social media, like it is, you can reach out to old people, old friends, old high school friends and old college buddies and, people you’ve served within, there’s lots of I’ve, I’ve got good support systems right now, Angels 14, every Friday afternoon for veterans., we have, we have a zoom call and we get on there and we just talk and you’d be surprised what we help each other get through. and then I have a family with the Lima Charlie network. We really are family. It’s good to have resources like that available. And then mental health. I’m a huge proponent of mental health as well.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:28:39    Yeah. And those are great things. And we’ve talked about hobbies and things like that on this podcast before where people get involved with artwork or music or whatever the thing is that is their thing. I mean, those are the two obvious examples that always jumped to the top of my head. So I always say those, but I mean, it really could be anything. Yeah. It could be baking, it could be working on a car. It could be, mechanics or whatever it could be  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:29:11    Working out. That’s a good analogy.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:29:14    That’s excellent. That’s an excellent way to do it. The crazy thing is, and I know this from personal experience after you’ve been out of shape, you get out of the military and you get the DD 214 body, you’re getting out of shape. And, you just finally decided to get off the couch and go for a run. I remember when I first moved out here to Arizona, I went out for a run and I think I was maybe a half-mile into the run and I stopped. And I was about to puke my brains out because it was just, I was sucking so bad and it was so terrible. But then I said, what, I’m going to, I’m going to do it again. But I forget if it was the next day or the day after whatever it was.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:30:06    And I went out again and I went for another run and another run and another run, and I just got better and better and better to the point where I can, I can run long distances and never feel that way anymore. It doesn’t always feel the best,  it challenges me and I like it. I’m not, I’ve never felt like  I was just going to puke anymore after, after that. So it’s definitely a challenge, but it makes your body better and it makes you, not, not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. When you challenge yourself and you, you achieve a goal,, say I’m going to, I’m going to run a X number of miles, or I’m going to lift X amount of weight or whatever it is. If you challenge yourself and you push yourself, it feels good. And it gives you that little boost, an event that feels good, whatever it is that makes you feel good

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:31:09    Yeah. Well, it’s your, your body is a table and we hear it in the military all the time, but you have your four pillars, you have your, your mental, your spiritual, your emotional, and your social. And a lot of times, if one of those, it’s just one of those four is the slightest bit off that table’s going to get a little wobbly and you start putting stuff on top of it. So you start putting daily tasks, kids have basketball practice, they have theater practice. You have this appointment, you have to do it, you have bills that you have to do. You start putting stuff on top of that table. And it starts getting really wonky. Now, something in my case where, for example, I had so many unfortunate things happen at such a young age, boom, that the spirit is already knocked out.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:32:03    The mental one, emotional there, that table could collapse. If you throw too much on top of it, you need to strengthen us because they do play into each other. So what you’re saying,, even like the physical piece, get off the couch, go run and set little goals. Don’t think that you’re going to look like Dwayne Johnson in a month. And don’t think that you’re gonna be able to run in the Boston marathon after two weeks, just go outside in your neighborhood and say, all right.  I want to make it to the end of the block once without being winded. And then I want to be able to, my goal is to make it to the end of the block and back without being winded and just set little goals like that. Don’t, don’t go out there and try to set the world on fire with your physical feats, just take baby steps.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:32:54    And you’ll be surprised like you said, what it does to your mind and your confidence. And then once you start getting healthy and one of those pills, and this goes for any of them, it starts to trickle down to the other one. And the next thing, you’ve got that solid Oak table that can withstand any and everything. Even when adversity does come your way, Hey, I’ve, I’ve failed so many times in life. It is a part of life. You’d be naive to think that you’re going to live to 80 years old and not fail every month of every year, it’s going to happen. So you just, you take it as a lesson, learned, you bounce back and you get stronger in those pillars. And, people around you start seeing it too. And it starts to rub off on others.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:33:39    Yeah, it does. And if you’re in a toxic environment where everyone is not doing well mentally or whatever, you’re going to end up slipping down that path too, because you kind of fall in line with whatever is going on in your environment. And so, maybe having someone, be the catalyst that, that helps change, that environment could help other people because it works the other way too, because if you start having people with a positive attitude, positive mindset, and that’s what you’re constantly around, then, then that will bring the other people around. And maybe they’ll start seeing the more positive things and at being more positive and more, healthier mentally and everything like that, to say  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:34:28    It’s more energy to be negative.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:34:31    Yeah. I mean it does, but sometimes it can also be an easy thing sometimes.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:34:40    Yeah. If it’s easy to just blow up and just have this negative outlook on life and, oh, it’s not my fault that, that such and such happens. It’s everyone else’s fault or anyone else, but it’s their fault that all this stuff, bad stuff is happening to me.  And if you have that kind of outlook on life, that’s really easy to do, to just point the finger and blame other people. It’s hard to look at yourself and say, what, maybe I need to change. Maybe it’s me that needs to change. I need to do this. But once you do that, then life gets easier. That’s when you start making those changes. So that bad stuff doesn’t happen. You start making that a part of your life and a part of your routine, where were you booking on yourself and say, okay, what can I do to change the situation? And sometimes the answer is nothing. Like sometimes there are going to be things that are out of your control and there’s nothing you can do to change it. That’s fine control  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:35:43    What you can control.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:35:44    Exactly. But look at that stuff that you can control and, and try to make it the best situation that you can make it be without pointing fingers and blaming other people and making excuses, do your thing and make it the best that you can make it.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:36:01    I read something in a book the other day. It is actually a biography of Val Kilmer’s biography. He’s going through something like throat cancer and all this stuff. And he said the universe is rejection is the universe is protection. And I live by that.I love that quote. If I was to get a quote tattooed on me right now, that would probably be the one because everything I’ve been through has set me up for something or it has helped me avoid something. And sometimes these things happen and you’re oh, life is so bad. Why does my life stink to set you up for something else? And, I mean, you, you could probably even relate to your story. You go through stuff and you get put through the wringer and you were like, why, why in the world? You’re gifted, amazing people that come in and out of your life and everything is setting you up for something bigger. You just gotta know when to see it and what to do with it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:37:00    It is. And  I like you, when my brother first passed away, I struggled a lot. I struggled with my faith and everything. It was a really hard time for me. I have a lot of different problems, but I eventually came to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason. You may not like it, it may be a tough pill to swallow, but all of the things that happen will lead you down a path to make you ultimately a better person. Absolutely. And you may not like to hear that, especially when you’re talking about something as tragic as losing a loved one, how could you possibly be better off without that person? Right. Like that. But to me that took a long time to compete, I don’t know that I would be doing the things that I’m doing today.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:37:54    helping out the veterans, helping out doing the podcast and everything. I don’t know that I would be as passionate about the things that I’m doing,  had it not been for that experience and it’s not, and it’s not to say, I’m glad that things happened the way they did because certainly, I’m not. Let’s look at the positives again. What can we control? I can’t control the fact that my brother is gone. I, that’s, that’s done. It happened and I can’t bring him back. So let’s look at the positive side of whatever the situation is and that’s about as good as it gets right now. And, and so when I’m looking at it, it could be worse, right? It definitely could be worse than the situation that I’m finding me in.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:38:44    And so I think, I think that that’s a healthy way to look at it is just trying to find the positives in even the crappiest of situations. Even when, when we had the Afghanistan withdrawal a few months ago and, that was, and especially for people, anyone who served over in Afghanistan that was such a bad time, it was not an easy thing to deal with. But,  when you look at that situation and, and you think about the good stuff that we did over there,  we took the fight over there, to the enemy, and we prevented future nine 11 kinds of attacks here in the United States. So think about all the Americans that are still alive because those texts didn’t take place here and stuff. So, yeah, it sucks that we lost whatever 7,000 or so people over in Afghanistan, that’s a tragedy, but how many more would there have been here at home? Exactly. Had we not done anything? So, you can look at it that way,  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:39:55    Tragedies at jigsaw puzzles you play around with it enough, it turns into triumph. You’ve just got to figure out how to do it.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:40:04    Yeah. You just, the pieces have to fit together the right way and fall, fall in line. Yeah. And sometimes it’s one of those hard thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. It’s not like  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:40:14    There’s patience, everything that goes into it.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:40:16    Yeah, exactly. So as you mentioned earlier, you’re in the Air Force and you joined a little bit later on in life. What ultimately led you to joining the military?  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:40:31    That’s a good story. So I finished high school. I was following my mom’s career path. Most people can probably relate to that following what your parents want you to do. And my mom wanted me to be successful. She wasn’t doing anything wrong. It’s just her expectations of my life and mine. Weren’t exactly lining up at the time. And, so I went to college. I didn’t really want to be in college. It has been two years since losing my sister. I still wasn’t in a good spot. And it took me a while to really get my feet under me with what I wanted to do. And I went to school for physical therapy as an assistant, and I was doing that and I was, I’ve always been kind of a workaholic. The second I found out that if you work, you make money.  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:41:16    And if you lay in bed, you don’t. I was like, Ooh, sign me up. So I started working at a YMCA. I was a personal trainer. I worked for a milk company. I was actually a milkman. I worked, oh my gosh. I think I tried to be an insurance salesman. At one point I was all these little jobs to try to figure out what fit for me and physical therapy. Personal training was good. It allowed me to live comfortably for a while. But then I started working at Red Lobster and I was working there and I was doing really well. And, that’s where I met my wife. And in the back of my mind, my dad served in the Navy. My grandfather served in the army and I had always had this little internal conflict of how do I compare to my dad?  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:42:05   My dad went to North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he played football. He joined the Navy. He went to Campbell Law School. I’m working at Red Lobster and nothing against Red Lobster. But it got to the point where I was just like, let me go talk to a recruiter and see what options are available. And my recruiter honestly was honest with me from day one. He really was, look, you’re going to come in. You’re going to be the oldest guy in there, but you’re going to be told to sweep dirt. You’re going to be a piglet. And I take out the trash and do all this little stuff for a couple of years, but depending on how much you put into it, you can rank up and trust me, it will pay off if you’re good, it’s a relationship. If you’re good to the Air Force, she’ll be good to you.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:42:54    And, in kind of like what my, my commander likes to say now, he’s like, you’ll eventually get a divorce from the Air Force, but y’all gonna be married for about 20 years, but when you get that divorce, you can get alimony and all this stuff, if you treat her well, or y’all may partway is at some point you get nothing. But it’s all about what you put into it. And that was intriguing to me and the stability, then the pride for serving my country, and being able to, being able to speak to myself on the same level as my dad and my grandfather who were two of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life. And so I decided to join and I kind of kept it from people for a long time.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:43:36    And, because there were a lot of issues with maps and my vision. Apparently, I had the worst vision in the United States Air Force for someone who doesn’t wear glasses. I came in and hung up my blue apron. I like to tell my classes that I was the, two, two times server of the year voted by the local readers of Sumter county, at Red Lobster and 98 Jordan, I hung up my apron at the top of my game and decided to walk away and join the military and the rest is history. So yeah, it’s kind of what got me in the Air Force.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:44:12    That’s interesting. I like hearing about how people got in, into the military, especially, people got in on the older side of things. A lot of people join 18, 19 years old, right out, right out of high school or whatever. I was one of the older people in my basic training classes too. I wasn’t quite as old as you were, but so I know what it was like, I already graduated college. I already had a pretty, pretty good civilian job when I left for basic training. And, then being really humbled by, sleeping, sweeping the floors, cleaning the toilets, 20-year-old supervisor. Yeah. It’s, it’s like, man, I, it was, it was definitely a humbling experience, but yeah, so that’s cool to hear, hear those stories. So tell us about the Shadows Podcast. So I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join you on your show. And I encourage everyone. Who’s listening here to go check out that episode and all the others that are on there, but,, what’s the podcast all about for anyone who maybe hasn’t heard it before?  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:45:27    Yeah. The Shadows Podcast was actually something that, like I said, goes back to my childhood. I wrote an article about my dad’s legacy. I talked about your legacy. Is it in a box or is it internally on display with other people? And what I mean by that is, we love, especially the military, my office, I’ve got awards, coins, patches, all this stuff on my wall, but that stuff’s eventually going to go in a box one day and it’s all about what I taught my daughter, what she carries on and passes on to her kids and to their kids. And that’s really your legacy. And we had lost that a lot. So I decided to write an article about it. A guy asked to come on a podcast and I did the podcast and my, the topic did come up and we talked about it a good bit.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:46:13    And I finished. And when I finished. Ooh, I got a little itchy about this kind of podcast. And I’d always been kind of tossing it around in my mind a little bit, especially with the job I have here in questioning techniques is one of the lessons that we really work on.. Well, I got good question techniques. At least I think I do. And you may listen to my podcast and think differently, but, if you’re entitled to. I feel like I got good question techniques. I was not confident with my voice. You can probably relate the first time you hit a record and you go back and edit. Ooh, gosh, that’s how I sound. That’s gross. But I was like what, let’s try this. Let’s see if it works.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:46:55    And I shot big from day one. I was like what, if I do this, I’m going to have a story to tell everybody, regardless of where you’re from. And I started with Chief Bogdan, who is a chief master in the, in the, in the Air Force right now. Senior non-commissioned officer, one of my personal mentors. He was my first episode. And then after that, I had Shauntay Macmillan. She was a US Olympian. I’ve had a phenomenal time. We’ve had entrepreneurs, CEOs, pro athletes, actors, actresses, military members, just regular, everyday people who think that they don’t have a story. And then they get behind the mic. And they’re surprised that the more they start talking that yes you do. And yes, it can help someone else out. So that’s kind of our concept is everybody has a story.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:47:46    We Chronicle people’s journeys from childhood up until where they’re at now. And it’s very therapeutic for our guests. They get on there and they talk about stuff and I’m very much the connector. I’m a recovering people-pleaser. It’s not really recovering and it just sounds better, but I have a very good rapport with a lot of my guests. So they come on and it’s just not really a one-off. I still keep in contact with a lot of them. So, I have very good connections. We’ve been around, like I said, flirting for a year and a half, come out every Thursday with a new episode and we like to keep very diverse groups. So you’ll see when we have, like we just said, DC Glen from the hip hop group tag team, he was just on a past episode, but then we’re, we’re following it up with a military member.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:48:39    So it’s very diverse with who we have on there. And then we have a little spinoff called Rise from the Shadows, which is, they’re almost 15 minute little Ted talks and they have a certain message that they’re trying to display to the, or,  relate to the audience. And then we have like a little 10-minute closure. Those are more for a quick commute to and from work. Do you want to go for a jog? There definitely, our goal is to inspire others, but the name, the shadows kind of came from, I guess I did this backwards. The name stems from, we all have shadows. We all have those dark moments and things are going to happen to us, but our shadow can destroy us or it can become a part of who we are, and just like yourself and just like me, our shadows have kind of become who we are.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:49:29    We’ve taken our tragedies in our obstacles and we’ve turned them into triumphs and tribulations or success stories or trials and tribulations into success stories. And, you’d be surprised what the power of storytelling can do to help other people out. And, that’s one of the things that kept me going right off the bat when I started it. And because I do all the cover arts, the editing, we were talking about this beforehand, I do every, every single thing that has the shadows on it. I’m a one-man show and it takes so much time, man, this is a lot, I’ll have a guest. I’ve been doing interviews for 20 years. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I came on your show and you really made me understand the importance of storytelling.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:50:20    And then I have students who come through the course and  I was going through something. And I heard such an episode, wow. That I’ve been through that exact same thing. And that inspired me, that motivated me. And that’s, that’s what we aim for is just to inspire and motivate people. I’m not looking for 10,000 downloads an episode. I’m looking for one person to be able to leave inspired and leave motivated and feel like they can go out and change the world. Because I listened to that one episode and that’s what keeps us moving forward. And we recently joined a group, the Lima Charlie network, which is very like-minded individuals. And we’ve got a little bit of everything on there. We’ve got,  the hero front talks about people in the military. It’s pretty much focused around strictly military individuals. We’ve got an emotional intelligence guru on there that EKU gangster got the llama lounge.  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:51:20    They focus on leaders. We’ve got the power of investing in people, podcasts, which is phenomenal as well. And then we have beyond the rut who, Jerry do, going to be on the right. He’s been around the podcast game since he’s the founding member. He’s the Naismith of podcasting. It’s an awesome group and we really are a family there. And, like I said, a strong support system and we all motivate each other. We all look out for each other. I’m loving this podcast game. This is seeing what, even podcasts like yours drive on. I mean, it just motivates me. I look at everything you’re doing. I listen to your episodes and I could be improving. I could be doing this better. So it’s iron sharpening iron with it and spreading the good messages and good vibes out to people.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:52:13    and the cool thing about your show, and I would hope the shadows are our hope is to plant seeds with people, but to never see the tree fully grown. And you, we may have no idea how many listeners listen to our show and are able to go off and do amazing things based off of it. But we’ll never, that’s not something you can count with algorithms or are, five-star reviews or things like that. It’s just something that somebody is walking around right now. That’s listened to drive on or listen to the shadows podcast that we have no clue that they’re a better person because of that podcast, but they are  

Scott DeLuzio   00:52:55    Right. And that’s something that keeps me going too, because knowing that there, again, I’m not looking for 10, 20, 30,000. I’m not trying to be a Joe Rogan can be nice, but I mean, if anyone’s out there and can make that happen, I’m not gonna say no but,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:53:18    you’re right. There’s, even if there’s one person out there after all this work who decided not to self-destruct and go down that dark road, I think it’s worth it. I mean, a hundred percent, it’s not the easiest job to do. It’s not like I get paid a ton of money to do it. I’m not, I’m not getting, I’m not going to be retiring off of it at this point. Although if there is that person who can make it into a Joe Rogan style show, then maybe I will, but same here.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:53:59   But I think it, to me, it’s worth it knowing that there might be somebody out there and I’ve heard this from other people who said that certain episodes have made an impact on them. Was it a completely life changing impact? I don’t know, but they enjoyed the episodes. They got a good feel from the message from that episode. So, it helps me, it motivates me to keep going and keep on putting out these episodes and be as consistent as humanly possible with these episodes. And, so far in the two and a half years, I’ve been doing it. I haven’t missed a week yet, and I don’t feel like I’m going to be slowing down anytime soon. So, I’m really happy to be able to do that. And I’m glad that you’re finding the same kind of motivation as well. In what you’re doing two and a  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:54:51    Half years, kudos. You’re like a seasoned veteran at this point.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:54:55    And the funny thing is when I started, I didn’t really know what heck I was doing. If you listen to the first few episodes,  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:55:03    Same way. Don’t go, listen, if you start, what, I want to check out the shadow Starlight episode 16, don’t go to episode one or two. Cause you’re going to be, this guy has no clue what he’s doing. I think I just hit a record and was even tapping the mic, is this on?  

Scott DeLuzio    00:55:17    Yeah, there’s a bit of Maryland. Those episodes are still out there. They’re not the best quality the first, maybe half dozen or so are, Kind of weak.  

Tripp Bodenheimer  00:55:27    You got to get delight 15 to really find your footing 15 or so. I think that was around our number where I’m alright. I think I’ve kind of gotten my groove now.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:55:36    Yeah. I think the first time I had a guest on the podcast was maybe 10 or 11 episodes. The rest of it was me just trying to figure out what the heck I needed to do on the technical side, trying to get it, get it going. But, but, it’s, again, it’s a worthwhile thing, even if it’s only helping out a handful of people. I still think it’s, it’s worth it. So, well with that, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I probably could chat with you all day, but I want to let you get back to your day and your family. But it’s definitely been great talking to you. We’ll probably have to do this again sometime. Where can people go? I don’t think you mentioned it earlier, where can people go, to check out the shadows and find out more about the podcast and everything like that?  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:56:28    Yeah, the shadows podcast real easy, the shadows podcast.com you can head over there. I believe on Instagram where the underscore shadows podcast, Instagram is kind of our go-to, but we’re also on LinkedIn and Facebook as well. You can type in shadows podcasts on the nose. It’ll, it’ll pop up. It’s got the sweet-looking, old-school shadows, like the old shadow’s comic that Batman kind of derived from. So our logo is that, but it’s basically replaced with an Eagle to kind of represent the military. A pretty, pretty sick friend of mine made it, but, yeah, definitely. We’re very, very active on social media.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:57:07    Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. So I’ll have linked to all of that, your website, and the social media links in the show notes. So anyone who wants to check out the podcast, go check it out. It’s a really great, great podcast and I encourage people to go subscribe to it, subscribe to it and, and definitely give it a listen. So check  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:57:27    Your episode out. You’ve got a really good episode on there.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:57:29    Yeah, I appreciate that. And I appreciate the opportunity to come on and share my story on your podcast as well. So  

Tripp Bodenheimer    00:57:36    Thank you so much for reaching out and having me come on here. I love doing this. I love, for the longest time I bottled my story, but like I said, I love to share it and spread it with people, because somebody may have gone through something similar. You never know when tragedy strikes and, if it has an, as somebody just remembers what I said for when they do go through that moment,, to be able to help them out. So I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to come on here. I’m a fan of your podcast. I think you’re doing phenomenal things. You got phenomenal guests. It’s incredible. I mean, even your website’s really good-looking. It’s just so many things you’re doing right with it. So, I, I think you big time, for having me come on here. Very grateful.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:58:21    I appreciate that. And I look forward to chatting with you again in the future, whether it’s on your podcast or mine, or even just shooting the breeze. Okay.  

Tripp Bodenheimer   00:58:31    We’ll get you on a rise from season two, rise from the shadows season two. We’ll get you booked there.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:58:36    Okay. Excellent. Sounds great. So, all right, well thank you again. And, for everyone, again, go check out the shadows podcast and, liken subscribed to that, follow that podcast as well. Really, really great stuff on there. Thanks again. 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 also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at DriveOnPodcast.


  1. Susan Bodenheimer Simmons on 1 February 2022 at 19:58

    Thank you Scott and Tripp. Enjoyed. Proud mom. Love you Tripp!

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