The Protectors

Episode 143 - The Protectors - Jason Piccolo
Drive On Podcast
The Protectors

Dr. Jason Piccolo is an Army veteran, a former special agent, and a supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent near the Mexico border, and went on to work with the White House Security Council’s Human Smuggling Cell. He is also an author and a fellow podcaster of the show called The Protectors.

Links & Resources


Scott DeLuzio   00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the 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 a 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. Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Dr. Jason Piccolo. Jason is an Army veteran, former special agent and supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security, former US Border Patrol agent near the Mexico border, and went on to work with The White House Security Council's Human Smuggling Cell. He's also an author and fellow podcaster of the awesome show called The Protectors. And I don't know where you have time for squeezing me in, in all of this. So welcome to the show. Jason  

Jason Piccolo    00:00:54    I've always got done for you, brother. I appreciate you having me on the show. He does one thing I liked. I like getting on other people's shows and sometimes it's just nice to have good conversation in a different format, so I appreciate it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:01:07    Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad to have you on, so why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background for anyone who might not be familiar with you. Who you are and what you've been up to?  

Jason Piccolo   00:01:16    In the nineties I was listening to an enlisted artillery guy, 13 Bravo active duty got out, joined the guard and Intel unit did some HUMINT for a little bit, but I also went to college commissioned as an infantry officer. Instead of going back to active duty, I went into the US Border Patrol, did that for a bit. Then I became a special agent with the former US Customs work in narcotics trafficking. That turns into ICE later on in between all of this stuff, I get recalled and 2005 get sent to Benning for a while. Then Shelby, and then from Kuwait, Iraq came back from that with the workers, then army civilian CID agent work in the Guantanamo Bay investigations. Then I went to work for another DOD agency, then Ice. And now I work for another federal agency right now as a special agent. So yeah, man, and in between there, I got a bunch of education, raised some kids and I started this, my podcast, The Protectors, back in 2019. Yeah. Everything. And it's, I love podcasts and man, that's like my outlet. That is like my therapy as you know. Well, right.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:02:25    Yeah. I have to agree a hundred percent with that. I mean, it's, it's just something that when I started, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I just kinda fell into it. I started doing it and I didn't really know how much I would do it and how much I would even enjoy it. But, after I started talking to some guests and going through it really does become almost like a therapy where you just get to chat with some people. So here's some incredible stories and learn a few things along the way. And it's in a selfish way, I like to learn things. And when I get to talk to all the great guests, these smart people that I've had on the show, it's helping me improve myself as well. And hopefully other people as well.

Jason Piccolo      00:03:10    Yeah. That's the thing is I get something it's like when I, when I go to counseling and stuff like that, I actually haven't been to counseling in years. But when I used to go, I'd always get something out of it. It's the same way when I have a podcast. And when I'm a guest on a podcast, I learn something new. Whether it's about me or about someone else or something, I could either improve on myself or something that I'm like, wow, I didn't know I was doing that.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:03:31    Yeah, absolutely. And that's the nice thing about having all these different perspectives and points of view that, that you get from these different guests and the people that other podcasts you might go on and, and things like that, you get, you get so much a different perspective and it just opens your eyes to the things that you might just be missing. Cause you just, I don't know, you didn't think about it or you didn't think that way about whatever the issue was, so it's really great.  

Jason Piccolo    00:03:57    Well, the cool thing too is you, you find new information out in our world right now. We don't talk, I don't hardly, I hardly ever talk politics on my show, but I've been a part of the political spectrum for a while. But the thing about podcasts is you don't get, you get more information out of them than you do in mainstream TV. Now, I listened to a lot of Rogan. I listened to a lot of different back and forth between other different people just to get different perspectives on things that are going on that aren't soundbites. And with the podcast you have to even, even a short format is 20, 30, 40 minutes. So you gain some decent information out of there.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:04:34    Yeah, it is. And if you think about the time that you could spend sitting in front of your television watching Netflix or whatever, what are you really getting out of that entertainment? It's good to kind of just unwind and unplug for a little bit, but it's also nice to be learning things too. And if you can spend that same amount of time watching or listening to a podcast, instead of just droning on about something else or Netflix or whatever, then you're, you're improving yourself, you're bettering yourself. And I think that's a win. So it's cool that you found your way into podcasting. I think we both started around probably around the same time. I think I was in 2019 as well. So, it's just a good, good thing to do and I'm glad you're doing it as well. I enjoy listening to some of the conversations you've had on your show and it's just a fun thing to do, I think. So let's talk about your career and kind of go back a little bit. You've done an awful lot in your career and I'll be honest. You don't look old enough to have packed that much experience into your life. So, I'm going to just go what you started young, like a child prodigy or something, but when you, what got you into the military? What is the background on that? What got you into the military and kind of follow along from there? I guess,  

Jason Piccolo     00:05:55    Well, as we record this show, I am 12 months in 26 days away from 50. So there we go. I've packed a lot in because as you know when you join the military, a lot of times you join when you're young after you matured a little bit. And the reason I went into the military is like, since I was a kid, I wanted to be a soldier, a soldier, and a cop soldier and a cop. So I thought in order to become a cop, I had to become a soldier. So I have, I don't know, man, I never wanted to go artillery, but here's, I don't know if I've ever told this story on, on a podcast. So maybe this will be an exclusive. Awesome. So I'm 20 years old, I just turned 20 and I'm like, what am I going to do with my life?  

Jason Piccolo     00:06:42    It's one of those things where like, I went to community college, I had a lot of, I didn't have the best childhood in the world, so I didn't do too good in community college. In fact, I failed out and then I was like, you know what?  I was working on a survey crew at the time and I'm carrying the gear and I'm like, I can be doing something better with my life. So I go down and I wanted to try it. I want to get my foot, my feet tested, in feet in the water for a side, I joined the US Army Reserves. And back then the reserves had infantry. So I joined a unit that had 11 Charlie, and that's the only, it was a mech infantry unit. I didn't know much about it. I just know it was infantry.  

Jason Piccolo     00:07:21   Back then you can go to drill before you go to basic training. I think you could still do that. So I go down there, I'm drilling. I go talk to the commander. I go, Hey, you know, how's it going, man? I'm like, I didn't know about bullshit. Like after basic training, when can I go to ranger school and airborne what's going on it? And he goes, he goes, we're, we're mech. If we're lucky, we might get one ranger slide every few years. And I usually go to a, you have to go through a board and all this other stuff or something like that. I was like, oh, there's no way. I'm like, I got to go active duty. So I go to my recruiter and this is in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. And I go, Hey I want to go active duty.  

Jason Piccolo      00:08:03    I want to go infantry. I want to go airborne, blah, blah, blah. And he goes, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. All we have to do is file a hardship letter, right. That you can't afford to live on the asset world and you have to go back, you have to go back to duty. I didn't know any better. And I was just a dumb kid, like, oh, okay. It's just a piece of paper and blah, blah, blah. And he's thinking to himself, he's like, oh yeah, I'm going to get an active duty stat., I go in there, I filed this hardship, the reserve unit. It's a pain in a butt back and forth, back and forth. And then what happens was he goes, okay, I'm going to bring you out of maps. And he brings me in, out of maps. I think the end of August, early September, almost the end of the fiscal year.  

Jason Piccolo    00:08:44    Right? So I go down, maps guy goes, Hey, you know what? The only thing we have available, I think it was a carpenter. I always, in my head, it was always in artillery and I'm like, artillery. I'm like, you're crazy. I go, no, he goes, look, you follow the hardship by the time you're you get your paperwork shuffled and, and we can get you back in the system. He's given me this big line of bologna. And he goes, you filed a hardship. We can get you out of here in two weeks. These are your options. He goes, Hey, look, you're going to our chiller, it's combat arms. You can do all those fancy schools. And I'm like okay. So then I, I, that's how I ended up in artillery. And then I go to basic training down to Fort sail.  

Jason Piccolo      00:09:36    And a funny story. I don't know if I ever told this one either when you remember a movie with Pauly Shore called in the army, now I do. Yes. Well, he was there when I was in basic training, learning about the army at Fort sill, Oklahoma. So he was walking around our chow hall, walking around everywhere and we're like, oh my God says Pauly shore. And, for the people out there who aren't as old as I am, Pauly Shore was a big thing at one time. And so that was funny, man. But then when I get to my artillery unit, it's in Colorado, Fort Carson, fourth ID, and it's mechanized, artillery, one, five fives. And I'm like, oh, and 1 0 9. And I'm like, oh my gosh. So I did that for a bit. And when I got out, I ended up eventually branching infantry it's just so weird. How many people have recruiters' stories that the same recruiter ended up sleeping with one of his private wives and taking all these Polaroids? The only thing that saved him was his fist, his face wasn't in the Polaroids, and this is pre-cell phone and pre-data and everything.

Scott DeLuzio    00:10:43    Yeah. That's pretty awful having a recruiter going and doing that behind your back to one of the private thoughts. I mean, I've always heard of recruiters who have screwed over the recruits, but never in that way.  

Jason Piccolo      00:11:01    Oh my gosh. That's how I ended up in the military,, I don't wanna discount my service and the nineties at all. No, not at all. Joining a guard was cool because in the summers I would become a cadet too. So then in the summers for like 9 30, 60, 90-day tours, I would, what do you call it? Burn marijuana and do the counter-drug mission for the guard. So we go out there and we cut the weed down, we burn it, either it's, just hemp fields or it's like, grows. And the DEA guys would just be feeding us hamburgers and Gatorade all day, man. It was just, it was fun, man. So we just go out there and we cut. We'd all. They were like industrial size, shredders, and everything else you can imagine. And I got bit by so many Hornets are bees or whatever in those summers that it was unbelievable. As soon as you cut the weed down, man, I'm like, come on.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:11:55    Well, so it, that gave you a good, a good base for your, your future career in law enforcement. So after the military, you switched over to the law enforcement side. So what made you want to make that switch? Right? How did you learn about the law enforcement side from, from anybody or, what caused you to go in that direction?  

Jason Piccolo    00:12:18    Yeah, my best friend that I met in Fort Hood, Texas ended up going to the US Border Patrol. And I was like, what the hell is a border patrol? So I remember going like spring break during college, went down to the Southwest border, San Diego and he brings me up in the mountains and here I am on my, you know, my damn running shoes on jeans and a t-shirt and we're out there tracking aliens up in the mountains and I'm like, oh, this is fun, man. I gotta do this. So when I graduated college, I went through the process for the border patrol and I ended up getting the same exact station as him. So it was like, unbelievable. So I ended up with his wife who was my training officer. And then he would always come and steal me and we'd go and track Allianz all day.  

Jason Piccolo      00:13:04    And eventually I got onto an ATV unit with him. So we drive ATVs at night. We worked a midnight shift in Ellis. That was awesome, man. You can't beat that experience. So that's how I got into law enforcement. And the border patrol is interesting because when you get to the academy, you're a civilian, but it's a paramilitary type academy. So you're wearing uniforms. You gotta shine boots and gig lines and all the other stuff you're supposed to look squared away, supposed to iron your uniform. And you have a lot of civilians there and many have a lot of prior service, but some of the civilians don't understand. So I remember we had this one guy and he couldn't take it. It was like two weeks. He was there. He was like, I can't take this. And he leaves all this stuff in his room and he goes out, and this is Glynco, Georgia. It's an old Navy piece. I think it is a klutzy, federal law enforcement training center around there. And he climbs the offensive fence. And he leaves thinking that he's going AWOL. And I'm like, we're all like, bro, this is a civilian job. You just say, you don't want it and you leave. So you can't make it up, man. And these are the types of people., I love law enforcement, but some of the people that make it through and get in, you're just like, come on, bro. Where did you come from?  

Scott DeLuzio    00:14:20    Yeah I live in Arizona, so I've seen people who have been walking through the desert for quite some time. So I live in the Phoenix area, which is probably 150, 200 miles or so from the Mexican border. So for people to be walking up in this area, they've been walking for quite a while.  

Jason Piccolo     00:14:40    Yeah. I lived down in Sierra Vista for a while. And then when I was in a border patrol as detailed out in Idaho, which is right near there, it's on the border, but it's like out in the middle of nowhere, Arizona.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:14:51    Yeah. So I mean that job, I can only imagine especially down there in that area, you're probably seeing much more frequent than what we see up here. Just because of the proximity to the, to the border and everything. But my gosh, I can only imagine the stories that you might have and, and the, the things that have come across the border and the people that you've seen and, and things like that. It's gotta be pretty incredible.  

Jason Piccolo      00:15:20    And Gina was interesting, man, because later on when I became a special agent, I ended up working in what they call a high-intensity drug trafficking area group, which is a DEA task force DEA. And at the time it was customs and state and local law enforcement. Once in a while, you get an ATF guy. And I was literally like two miles away from my other border patrol station. And I had, I had no idea all these drugs were coming across the border right there, like in cargo containers and everything else. So it's weird. How in law enforcement, you don't know what's going on around you, if you're working certain crimes, like a lot of times when you're a police patrol, you don't realize that, Hey, there's human trafficking going on here. There's drug dealing going on there. There's terrorism here, there's this, that, and everything. And unless you get exposed to it. So there's a lot in law enforcement. That's not just clear-cut. It's not just, okay. We're going to go after these people for this, breaking this violation and doing this and that.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:16:20    Yeah. Now you briefly mentioned counseling and things like that earlier. And part of this podcast, we're talking about mental health and the things that people have experienced and, and stuff like that. And I look at someone like yourself and you've, you've clearly accomplished a lot throughout your life. And so whatever troubles and, and things that you've gone through, before you, you still manage to not let those things kind of overwhelming in control, consume your life basically. So what was that process like for you? When you, at some point you decided, you knew, you needed to talk to somebody, go to counseling and, and whatever. Y what was that process like for you and, and what, what kind of led you there and, and how did that turn out for you?  

Jason Piccolo     00:17:14    Lena? I think I have different types of, I think a lot of people, some people get stuck in their childhood, like their childhood trauma. It transcends their life. It me, I, I kinda can't compartmentalize my life. My childhood and my childhood, that seems like a completely different person. It was a semi-broken childhood II talked about. I was on someone else's podcast the other day, and I talked about it for the first time about getting kicked out, coming back. My dad leaves, my mom tries to kill herself. And then I moved out for good when I was in high school, luckily I had friends. I can go live with them. And, but yeah, I was, I was motivated different type of motivation, but, and knowing how the system can fail you as far as like the educational system.  

Jason Piccolo      00:17:59    And because back then, if you were a broken kid, they would just say, okay, you know what? I was on a college-prep track. They said, okay, we're going to put you down in a general track. You go over there, just leave us alone and get out of there. I compartmentalize that. I figure, Hey, you know what? I joined the army. I did everything. I'm self self-made later on. I have different types of trauma throughout the years. And if there was a time in my life around by 2011, 2012, where I was very numb, I was very, very numb like that suicide on them. And it was different from ideation. I think that's it. Wasn't just like, oh, wow, suicide. Cool. It was more like, wow. If I kill myself, nobody will really it'll be, everybody would be better off. And it'll be like, well, Hmm.  

Jason Piccolo      00:18:48    But it was different, it was such a numb spot. So that's when I first started seeing the counselor. And then that's when I started first, started taking some anxiety meds, general prescribed anxiety meds to kind of get my brain focused, to get on track. I don't really suggest prescriptions. I suggest finding some sort of mental therapy. And like we talked about before the podcast and him talking to people and being open has helped me so much over the years, I've gone back and forth with counselors. One thing I always caution people about is when you go to a counselor for the first time and you don't like them, they eat, there's not a fit, go to another counselor right away. Don't give them two or three shots. You have to, you have to fit. And there's plenty of counselors out there.  

Jason Piccolo     00:19:43    Either they're educated, they're not educated, they have certificates, but there are plenty of people that could give you the mental health help that you need, but it might not necessarily be that 22-year-old kid. Who's just kind of, what I think would be kind of cool. If I go talk to some vets or go talk to smell Leos and check the block and move on. I have my counselor, I ended up for a long time with a lady in her sixties kind of liberal. But then the F what caught me was, she, we started talking about a zombie apocalypse and this just random conversation. And we would have conversations, but every time I left that session, I got something out of it. And it wasn't like, oh man, if I kill his RV that way, it was like, no, my brain, I can adapt to it because as well as I do, like, you can read a lot of books.  

Jason Piccolo     00:20:37    You can do a lot of research. You can be as educated as possible. And believe me, that is one of the reasons I got so much education. And I say it that way facetiously is because I have to keep focused. I have to have different things going on. You mentioned in the beginning about how you do, how do you do all this? Well, that's the other mental health thing I do for myself. I keep focused for the longest time.I give this speech all the time about my professional resume and my personal resume. For the longest time, I was working on his professional resume, which included a master's, a doctorate, every certificate, possibly imagine. But around 42, 43 years old, I was like, why am I doing all of this? For what, for a job. I had a job.  

Jason Piccolo      00:21:23    I have a job. I need something to do. That's for my personal resume, something that's going to keep me mentally going. And that's why I do the podcast. That's why. I write a lot of ads. I write books, it's something I enjoy. And I don't do it because it's a job. Same thing with the podcast. I don't do it for money. I do it because I love talking. Uh, any media, I do any TV appearances and stuff. I like talking about law enforcement stuff. So I go on the news. If something I want to champion causes a write-up, I'll write an article about it. If I want to talk to another podcast or, and see what they're up to, I'll do that. It all comes down to finding stuff to keep your mind focused because when it starts wondering when it gets off mission, see these are debts. The other thing, this is all a mission to me. These are my missions. They're not on a mission to get another job. They're not going to miss you. They're on a mission to keep me mentally healthy.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:22:27    That's a pretty important mission to have. And when you're, when you're that focused on that particular mission it's hard to, hard to get off course where you're, don't going to really focus on accomplishing that goal. And when you're doing things like the podcast like you said, you're not getting paid for this, but this is benefiting you in other ways that that money isn't going to benefit you. So, it's a smart move to do things like that. An, move away from that, that numb feeling that you're having and, and do things that matter to you and give you a sense of purpose and a sense of direction and meaning,  

Jason Piccolo      00:23:22    Well, on top of that, I'm raising two kids, but you see, that's how I compartmentalize things. So tonight I think I emailed you and I said, Hey, look, I, I get to push the podcast back a little bit. Cause I told my daughter, I'm like every day we're going to go, we're going to practice soccer. So I know I, I, I want to spend as much time with my kids so I could break off for 30, 40 minutes to a podcast and I'll go back upstairs and I'll do everything. When I'm editing my podcast, I have a little laptop thing. I sit in front of the TV with them, or I sit with them or do something. So we're spending time together. If, while we were watching a movie anyway, I could do all my editing and stuff. But that's the other thing too if I want to focus on things that are cool, like hanging out with the kids and stuff like that.  

Jason Piccolo      00:24:01    I talked about before, by my childhood. And I remember when I was a kid, one of the times my dad left was when my parents left me home during Christmas. I think I was 15, 14, or 15. They didn't want to go on vacation because I was a pain in the ass. So they went home. My mom came home on Christmas day and she's like, worked my dad, your dad. And I am getting a divorce for like the 50th time. And I was like, okay. So since then, I never really liked Christmas, but then a couple of Christmases ago, I'm like, what? I'm like, it's not about me now. It's about my two awesome kids and about the joy in their eyes and everything else. So I discounted all that crap in my childhood and flushed out part of it away and said, now I have these awesome kids who, and I'm building memories with them.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:24:48    Yeah. And that's an important thing to keep in perspective, too, because if you are making Christmas a kind of a miserable experience in, in your house, as your kids are growing up, then that's going to move on and continue on in their lives as they get older and,, potentially have kids of their own. And, will that just make your grandchildren have that miserable Christmas experience as well. And you don't want to do that. You don't want that.  

Jason Piccolo      00:25:22    That's all good stuff, man. That's me in a nutshell when it comes to mental health, one thing I have been doing is I'm trying to get and this is one thing I don't think I have, I posted a couple of things about it. And your show kind of talks about that. I'd like to just get this stuff out there, but testosterone, I'm as I'm reaching 50 by testosterone levels are like, they dropped to like nails. I'm like, what's going on? I'm like, why am I exhausted all the time? Why am I just fatigued? I'm like, I'm happy., I'm mentally happy, sometimes I get a little beat up and down, but I'm like, man, why do it like two o'clock in the afternoon? I just hit a wall, get my testosterone checked.  

Jason Piccolo     00:26:05    And my testosterone levels are down. Now I gotta go see an endocrinologist. But these are the types of things you don't think about. you don't think I don't think about my health. How do you get your testosterone up without drugs? And I'm probably gonna have to take some sort of drugs or something, but the other thing is to lift heavy. So now I go to the gym all the time, I gotta boost this stuff up to get my mental health. So I don't get back to it as numb days.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:26:34    Yeah. I mean, that's something that, after you said that I didn't, he just clicked with me and it wasn't even something I would have considered is testosterone dropping and things like that like I'm a guy, I should be able to just make what I need. Right. Like, that's just what we do, isn't it? But  

Jason Piccolo      00:26:54    He was saying it about, it was like, I was talking to another guy, another vet, and he, and we do this or that. Talk about the racing thing in a minute too. But he was like, yeah, he's like, and he's a really fat dude. And he's like, yeah, my testosterone. I think it's like 200 in, it's supposed to be 100., No, it's, it's 200. It's supposed to be like 800. Cause that's kind of what mine is now. He's like, you should get a check. So as soon as I got home, got some blood work done, got a referral from my doctor, and everything's telemedicine now. So I, and then I got an appointment with the endocrinologist and then I got more blood work drawn and it's all video. So anybody out there who's thinking about it, you could do a lot of this stuff online, but if you are thinking about it, do it now because there's a lot of times it takes a while to get into a doc.  

Jason Piccolo      00:27:41    So now I gotta go back January 4th for the next thing. That's where I find out. If I'm going to be taking, there's like a gel, you rub on your shoulder. It's weird. Are you gonna take, yeah, I'm like a gel. I'm like, that's kinda weird. And then she's like, well, you have little kids. I'm like, no, my kids are like 11 and 13. I'm like, they're not gonna be like jumping on my shoulders. There's a patch that you put on your shoulder or your ass, I think, or there's injections all to boost your testosterone up. And from what I understand is like, if you do the testosterone replacement therapy or testosterone therapy, that is, it completely changes your life. And I'm like, damn, I can't wait. I'm like, let's get this.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:28:19    Just could change so many things for people who maybe didn't even consider that I, prior to whatever it was five minutes ago, when you started talking about that, I was one of those people I hadn't even considered that, that would, that could be something. off, off-balance in  

Jason Piccolo     00:28:37    Fatigue is huge fatigue, sexual dysfunction. And I have, I'm not, I'm just going to say you have to blend with this shit. It's, sometimes there's sexual issues that happen, but definitely the fatigue thing. And there were a few other things like sensitivity, parts of your nether regions, all sorts of different things, but anybody check out testosterone and it just, it doesn't matter. My friend had God, he was in his thirties too, when he started and like me in the forties and, just check it out.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:29:08    Yeah. That's something that you think, okay, well, I'm, I'm young, I'm in my thirties or forties or whatever you happen to be. It's like, I got, I got a couple of decades before I need to even start worrying about that stuff. And I guess not right. I mean, that, that's something that can crop up on, on just about anybody, at even younger ages.  I don't know how young, typically that starts to affect people, but that's interesting. I'm glad you brought that up because, it, I know for me, I hadn't even considered that as, as something  

Jason Piccolo    00:29:41    Is so simply go to your general practitioner and say, Hey, look, my tests on. And even one of my doctors was like, well, you don't really have a lot of the symptoms and don't take that, say, look, I just want blood work. So she's like, well, you don't, you don't, you only had the only thing symptom you have is really fatigue and  

Scott DeLuzio    00:29:58    Blah, blah, blah. I might just, can I just go take five vials of blood. So I get my blood taken and she's like, and now everything's email like this secure. And she's like, your testosterone is very low. I'd like you to get that checked out. And I'm like, yeah, I know. Well, I mean, it's, and it's, I think another lesson in that too, is be your own advocate for your own health, whether it's mental health and physical health, whatever it is, you should advocate for that. If you think something's off with you're going to probably know better than anybody else, including your doctor. If something feels off, you've been living with yourself for, however old you are. You've been living with yourself all this time and you should be able to know if something is off. 

Jason Piccolo     00:30:44    Well, that's the other thing too, I was in quad and belief was like the burn per the capital of the world. And so now I have my gallbladder taken out when I was 42, my lungs are jacked up. I wake up with mucus in the morning, sleep apnea and I get, I'd like people. I, the reason I'm so blunt about this stuff is because I want other people to learn from my lessons. I get blood blisters all over my body now. So if I lift up my shirt, I get like all these little dots. And it's like, it's almost like toxicities coming out of my body. So weird. And it's like all these different things and you go to the VA and I, I go and I, I put in for the disability compensation and they're like, oh, we need to take x-rays of your lungs.  

Jason Piccolo      00:31:34    It's not good. But they never tell you the results. Same thing with the gallbladder. Well, we don't really know if you had your gallbladder out. I'm like, well, the scars are here and there, and then you do the lung capacity test. I'm like, well, what does it say? And she goes, well, we don't really give out the results. I'm like, so you have to be your own advocate. So my next thing is now I got to go when I got to go to my own personal doctors and I have all these different symptoms and everything checked out. So it's like, you have to really be your own advocate. Nobody's going to do it for you.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:32:04    Yeah. And, and honestly, there's a lot of great doctors out there. A lot of people who are doing great work for the veterans for just, I don't know their patients in general, but there's nobody on the face of the planet. Who's going to care more about your own physical or mental health than you. And they may care a lot, but they're not going to care as much as you are because that pain in your back or your knees or your neck or whatever it is, is not their pain. They know they're not feeling it every time they stand up or, or turnaround too quickly, or there's a fight. They're not feeling those things. Or every time that I take a deep breath right there, they're not feeling those things, but you are. And so clearly that's going to matter more to you than it's going to matter to them. Right?  

Jason Piccolo      00:32:52    Yeah, brother, there's a, there's a lot of things I need to write a book about all the bullshit lessons learned rather than because I wrote a book about my, my time working in the border and, kids and smuggling and all that. But if I could partake in anything, the biggest thing is always talking about the personal professional resume and working on your mental health that way and not just focus on these jobs.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:33:18    Yeah. And you, you mentioned your books and I want to be sure to give you some time to talk about your books, tell us a little bit about those where people can find them and everything like that.  

Jason Piccolo      00:33:30   I wrote a couple of books. I priced them at cost. Because that's another thing, I feel really guilty about trying to make money on anything, man. I'm like I have all this protector swag. And what I do is I mark it up like 30%, just like you pay costs at a podcast and stuff like that. Branding and all the other crap, but the same thing with the books. I just feel guilty about selling my books. I think I told you about that, but we'll talk about that off air. But yeah. You know what, that one, I might try to make some money because I'm going to it's going to put, I'm going to put thousands of hours into it, so, well,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:34:10    You know what though, I think if, if you're gonna, if you're going to spend the time writing in a book, even if it's just by your own personal experiences, I don't know. I don't know.  

Jason Piccolo      00:34:21, I, what, I'm starting to not see that way. Because now my book's been out for a couple of years now and well, I have a mini-book, which is like 80 pages. That's a primer on the Southwest border and about the unaccompanied alien children and how that whole process works. But the other one is my memoir about work on the border and drugs and working out for the white house and security council and all this stuff. I really actually want to start doing book signings. Now I want to go out and I want to sit down and whatever. I might actually take that book and do a third edition. Cause right now it's on the second edition and update it with the past three years because I've done so much crazy crap in the past three years that like, and here's the thing it's like, I'm not going to go into the whistleblowing story because If you Google my name and you figure it out, but I am a, a federal whistleblower that legally blew the whistle on, some Heinous stuff that was happening, a little kids on the border and throughout the country.  

Jason Piccolo     00:35:22    So that's why I wrote the book so I can raise awareness about that. That is the only reason that I've ever started a podcast, media, books, anything. So I'm thinking of wasting myself, like if I didn't blow the whistle, where would I be right now? I'm like, I certainly wouldn't be talking to you. I certainly wouldn't have a podcast because I didn't even think about podcasts. I did Mike Rutland's podcast and I was like, huh, this is kind of cool. I'm like, I should do this. So if I want to promote anything, it's the podcast. Everybody's books are out there, thank you for there is going to be a third edition of my book. I think I'll do an updated third edition book, as I said, I think I'll work on it for the next few months, but yeah, check out The Protectors podcast that is like my pride and joy right now.  

Jason Piccolo    00:36:10    And with pride and joy comes, it's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and not really a lot of blood, not really tears, but a lot of sweat, man, here's 300 something episodes. I think I have 280 something audio and I used to do a bunch of live shows and I love it, man. I've had so many awesome guests including yourself, and I just, I love talking to you people, man. I had the Call Of Duty Endowment on. And so there's just an endowment from Call Of Duty. And I didn't even know this. What they do is, if you play Call Of Duty, there's map packs, not map packs, but uh, packs that you can get and they give money to different organizations and Call Of Duty Endowment actually works with Hire Heroes, USA and invest in a bunch of others to get vets hired.  

Jason Piccolo     00:37:02    And they've spent, I think they've got 90,000 vets hired. They spent $35 million and a hundred percent of what goes into getting vets hired. There's no corporate bullshit that you've seen with a lot of nonprofits. So it's pretty cool man had that. And then, I mean, the authors that have been on a show, man, like Jack Carr, Brad Taylor, I got to name drop, but they're awesome. Scott DeLuzio. I mean, it's just, it's fun, man. It's fun. And I love talking to regular people, man. I've had so many regular, just everyday protectors on the show too, and I love it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:37:38    I mean,  that's great. And I am, I'm grateful first off for being able to join you on your podcast. I think it was, it was a great time. It was a great conversation. I think with everything that you're doing, basically just giving back, right? I mean, you just talk, I mean the type of person you are, you're talking about, these books that you've, you've written and everything you're, you're not looking to make a profit on any of this stuff. You're just giving that information out there and it's at cost, so obviously there's a cost involved to make a book, but, you're doing that for basically nothing. And with the podcasts, you're not making any money off of the podcast. I'm not making any money on a podcast. We're just doing it to give back.  

Jason Piccolo      00:38:27    I do have to say though, it was like, I do have sponsors for the show now I just got some and it's like, I'm not really making money. I've probably put 25-30 grand into this show. So I'm probably, and then it's probably like 50 to a hundred a month just to run it, what all the different platforms and all that. So I'm basically, I have a, in about a year with these same sponsors, if I don't get any more, I might break even. So yeah.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:38:53    Well, I mean, yeah, for, I mean, for sure it definitely, I'm definitely operating at a loss with the podcast and it's definitely draining out of, of my own personal funds and everything, but it's fine because what I'm getting out of this is knowing that I'm out here to try and help other people, other veterans.

Jason Piccolo     00:39:16    Hey, you know what, I'm paying into my therapy sessions right now.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:39:19    There it is. Yeah, exactly. And so, it's a great thing that you're doing. I'm really grateful that there's people like you out there who are doing this type of stuff, having these conversations with these people, and really spreading this information out there. I think it's really great., With The Protectors, you're telling the stories of the people who are out there protecting us and, and really being that selfless type of people who are out there day in and day out, making, making our communities and our country a safer, better place. So it's really great.  

Jason Piccolo     00:39:57    Hey brother, I appreciate you having me to talk about it. Yeah,  

Scott DeLuzio    00:40:00    Absolutely. And I'm glad to have this conversation and if you ever do get around to doing some sort of book signing, let me know, and we can maybe team up and tackle that together. Cause I, I love getting out there and doing stuff like that too. So, so maybe, maybe we can do some sort of joint thing together. That would be cool.  

Speaker 1    00:40:17    I'm really, I didn't even think about it before until right now, but I am going to retouch my book and, and throw another five or six chapters into it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:40:27    Yeah. Cool.. Awesome. Well, Jason, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today. where can people go to get in touch with you, find out more about what you do, everything else?  

Jason Piccolo   00:40:39     The best thing to do is check out Jason Piccolo, J A S O N P I C C O L O dot U S. Or, or Google Jason Piccolo. Instagram is my favorite at Dr. Jason Piccolo and subscribe to The Protectors podcast. And thanks.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:40:57    Yeah, absolutely. And I will have links to all of this in the show notes, all these, these links. So you can find them easily there and they'll be there for as long as steps. So it's available. As long as I keep on doing this episode, it's going to be here. Those links will be there. So, check it out. definitely go and subscribe to The Protectors podcast as well. Make sure you get the one with Jason Piccolo, because I know there has been some issue with some other branding issues and things like that. So it's a mixture. You get the one with the handsome gentleman on the cover there. So, all right, again, thank you for joining me. And I really appreciate the time you took to come on the show today. Thanks a lot, brother.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:41:44    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 We're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at driveonpodcast.

Leave a Comment