David MacDonald Afganistan
episode 117 | Nov 21, 2023
Law Enforcement/Military
Law Enforcement/Military
Personal Growth
Hunting & Fishing

Silvercore Podcast Ep. 117: War Zone to Wilderness: Finding Solace in Shooting Sports and Hunting

Heading out on a routine patrol in Afghanistan was the last thing David Macdonald remembered prior to waking up in a hospital, three weeks later and half a world away. His first question, "do I still have my legs”? In this deeply moving episode of the Silvercore Podcast, David shares his harrowing experience that landed him in the hospital and his subsequent remarkable journey towards physical and mental healing. As a passionate advocate for soldiers facing similar struggles, David sheds light on the importance of mental health support within the military community. David is an avid sport shooter and hunter and he delves into his work with Stoeger Canada and Beretta Defense Technologies, bringing next-generation weapons and technology to our soldiers. Don't miss this powerful episode of the Silvercore Podcast that showcases the indomitable spirit of a true hero.
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Silvercore Podcast 117 David Macdonald

[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I'm Travis Bader, and this is the Silvercore podcast. Silvercore has been providing its members with the skills and knowledge necessary to be confident and proficient in the outdoors for over 20 years. And we make it easier for people to deepen their connection to the natural world. If you enjoy the positive and educational content.

[00:00:30] Travis Bader: We provide, please let others know by sharing, commenting, and following so that you can join in on everything that Silvercore stands for. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a member of the Silvercore club and community, visit our website at silvercore. ca.

[00:00:52] Travis Bader: I'm joined today by a Canadian infantry combat veteran who spent three weeks in a coma in the U. S. military hospital in Germany. With no fewer than 47 broken bones in his body. He's a past director of Wounded Warriors Canada and a passionate advocate for soldiers facing physical and mental health challenges.

[00:01:08] Travis Bader: He's an avid sports shooter and hunter, and now works with Stoeger Canada and Breda Defense Technologies, getting next generation weapons and technology to our soldiers. Welcome podcast, David McDonald.

[00:01:21] David Macdonald: Thanks for  having me. I appreciate the opportunity to come on into the podcast and. Yeah, answer any questions or talk wherever you want.

[00:01:28] Travis Bader: Well, I'm  stoked. You know, well, I guess, first off, how was your flight  in?

[00:01:31] David Macdonald: Flight was fine. Uh, they said we're going to hit turbulence and it never really happened. So I can't complain. Um, I'm always thrown off a little bit that it takes, you From where I live, uh, you know, near where I'm flying out of Toronto, I don't live just outside Toronto or anything like that.

[00:01:45] David Macdonald: The time it takes to fly from heat, from Toronto to Vancouver is basically the exact same distance. It goes from, from Toronto to London, England. So, you know, it's, uh, 

[00:01:54] Travis Bader: it's crazy, man. It's probably cheaper 

[00:01:56] David Macdonald: to fly to London. It is. My sister lives there and I see her about three times a year and it is cheaper to fly there than it is to Vancouver.

[00:02:01] David Macdonald: But, uh, you're saying he might've 

[00:02:03] Travis Bader: had a bit of a celebrity on the flight. Yeah, 

[00:02:05] David Macdonald: we were, we were, um, me, uh, me and my, uh, coworker were flying out here and we were boarding the plane and a couple of seats back from us. And I, I got on the plane and I'm like, is that Pierre Pauly? Yeah, because it looks a bit like him, but I didn't want to be the guy to be like, call him out, but kind of had to.

[00:02:21] David Macdonald: It looked like he was talking to someone and I was just like, Hey, Pierre. And he turns around, he's like, yeah. I'm like, Oh, okay. It is him or like, I just didn't think, you know, the leader of the opposition was going to be flying economy WestJet out to, uh, out, uh, uh, Vancouver. But yeah, it was, uh, it was cool to see him.

[00:02:37] David Macdonald: Um, you know, he sat there and talked to a whole bunch of people and stuff like that. Then he went to the back of the plane and, you know, was doing, I guess, some stuff with his team, but, uh, but it was just really cool, you know, to see him. It not to see, I used to see him on a commercial flight and not taking like a government airbus or cause I'm sure that's available to him.

[00:02:53] David Macdonald: So yeah. 

[00:02:54] Travis Bader: Yeah. It's, you know, it's, I'm sure it's all part of it, but I mean, he's got a choice and some people choose not to, 

[00:03:00] David Macdonald: and I've, I've taken, I was lucky enough to actually fly one of those. Government Airbus is one time back from Alberta, from a military accident. So they're, they're, they are comfortable.

[00:03:08] David Macdonald: So yeah, I believe they would be. It's a little, it's definitely better than flying economy WestJet, not that anything's going bad against WestJet, but, uh, it's a little more spacious on those government, uh, provided, uh, contract flights, but. 

[00:03:19] Travis Bader: That's funny. You know, I, uh, recently I was talking with a friend of mine and he's, uh, moved up to the Soyouz area and he was asked to run as a mayor up there and he's a big advocate, advocate in the firearms community.

[00:03:34] Travis Bader: And he's got a firearms business. People could probably figure it out just by the information I'm given here. And, uh, he's involved with his local range and they're. He gets a contact saying, Hey, we've got a, um, uh, someone who wants to come into the range. It's, it's Pierre, you'd want to come to the range and talk to some people there.

[00:03:52] Travis Bader: And so I guess he's part of the, uh, the process going around, looking for places that, uh, he needs to drum up more support and, um. So my buddy missed by a narrow margin of getting elected in, but this reporter just did an absolute smear job on him a couple of times. And even after he missed it, the reporter comes in and makes, he's just like, it was, anyone can look it up.

[00:04:16] Travis Bader: They can see it. It's pretty self evident for what it is. Um, Just making broad allegations and nothing of it's true. And so my buddy is sitting there and he's, you know, pretty, pretty upset about this, but he didn't do anything about it. And he probably had grounds to do something about it, but he's of the mindset that the universe will unfold as it should.

[00:04:36] Travis Bader: Yeah. Well, Pierre is coming up. And so he's like, well, just, you know, Pierre got to let you know through, through your, uh, people to you, uh, there is a reporter up here who's not going to be friendly. Um, And, uh, here's what happened to me, you know, just, you know, comport yourself accordingly. Just here's a bit of a, bit of a heads up anyways.

[00:04:58] Travis Bader: So Pierre comes up, does his thing, and I don't know if it's common practice or not, but it was because my buddy gave him the, the specific heads up on this event, but they made sure to have their cameras rolling as this guy, the reporter came in to do his, uh, interview with him. And he starts going down the similar kind of Poor reporting tactic.

[00:05:18] Travis Bader: Right. And, uh, there's Pierre in a vineyard chewing on an 

[00:05:21] David Macdonald: apple. Oh, okay. That, that's the famous interview. The famous interview. 

[00:05:25] Travis Bader: How do you like them apples? And, uh, so anyways, my buddy's like. It's true. I didn't do anything. The universe correspondence corrected. It came about this guy's name is mud. Now everyone can see him for what he is.

[00:05:37] Travis Bader: And it's, uh, it is interesting. It's nice. What goes around comes around in a way that's, I guess, positive and 

[00:05:44] David Macdonald: yeah. Well, I mean, and I've, I've been in interviews with media before where, you know, generally they're, you know, generally they are respectful or something like that, especially when we're talking about, and whenever there was an incident that occurred for, you know, before we pulled out of Afghanistan or when we had troops in Iraq, for whatever reason, when, especially when I was with the charity, I was like, I'm the number one call list for let's call this guy and get his opinion on what happened or something like that.

[00:06:07] David Macdonald: And, um. And I was always kind of like, well, I'm not saying anything until, obviously until it's been cleared by the army. I'm still in the army at this point for a fair amount of it. And I got to, you know, cause mainly because I didn't want to say anything or speak out of turn before the families had been notified or anything, it has to be done that way.

[00:06:25] David Macdonald: I'm, you know, that's important, but I've, yeah, I've sat interviews before where they, the reporter clearly wanted to go a certain Yeah, and I just would not give it to them. And those are always the interviews I found that surprisingly, they never aired at six o'clock. They were just kind of like, yeah, we're going to quash that story.

[00:06:43] David Macdonald: Cause they just wouldn't, he just wouldn't give us, we'll be one, you know, him to say it. And, uh, we're all trained in the army with media awareness. Um, but, uh, I was lucky enough that I also had some added experience and I had some, I, I have, I have. I had some previous, uh, little, you know, I pulled a doozy here or there, um, in past interviews, I, I, uh, I got in a little bit of trouble with my army unit for the public affairs in Ottawa because after the, uh, uh, after the attack that happened in, uh, at parliament, uh, where the, uh, Nathan Cirillo, unfortunately was killed, uh, again, I found myself in front of a camera with the CBC and global, and I think it was the global interview.

[00:07:27] David Macdonald: They caught me, I was at work, I was working at the TD, TD bank at the time, actually, or something like that. And, uh, they, I was a little emotional because just everything was going on and, uh, I think I probably called out ISIS to, this is my address, this is my home. You're feel free to come, you know, and talk to me anytime you want or something like that.

[00:07:43] David Macdonald: And got a little bit of trouble for that. But, uh, at the same time, you know. , it's already out there. What are you gonna do? But, uh, yeah, but, but you know what I did? They hear that? Yeah, they did. And really, I, I became known and amongst the Army units in Toronto, the guy that called out Isis, that, that told 'em exactly where I live.

[00:08:00] David Macdonald: Good for you. And come join you. Feel free to come by whenever you want. Yeah. Maybe 

[00:08:03] Travis Bader: come by at night. Maybe they feel a little braver, but 

[00:08:06] David Macdonald: all means, but yeah, you learn that, you know, you can't let em, everyone let emotion get into it the exact same way that interview that, uh, that Pierre did. It's, it's not about, that's about.

[00:08:15] David Macdonald: You know, stay in the point of your, your, your message or anything like that. And, and being respectful, most important of all or anything like that. I think that's really the key factor there. And even if the reporter clearly, it doesn't really want to be, or want you in a certain way, you kind of have to keep on message.

[00:08:29] David Macdonald: Right. So. 

[00:08:30] Travis Bader: I remember, you know, oftentimes I'll get phone calls from, from media cause I've been in media in the past and they want an opinion on something and. Uh, I think the first one I did with CBC was, I was in my twenties and, um, man, cameras were on, the reporter was there. They're I'm talking about everything I know, which is well within my wheelhouse.

[00:08:53] Travis Bader: And then he asks me a question. I forget what it was. I had no clue what the answer is. And the correct answer should have been, I don't know. Yeah. Right. But the cameras are on, you're up there. I'm like, well, it could be. And I was sitting here speculating. And I think a lot of times we can be our own worst enemies when we do that.

[00:09:10] Travis Bader: You having media training with the military, I think is fantastic. I think is, uh, let's say firearms owners or hunters or, uh, people who are going to be talking to the media should at least get on Google and look up or AI. Hey, well, how should I. Approach this. Cause it's a business deal. It's a transaction.

[00:09:28] Travis Bader: They want something. Yeah. And it's just, I found a friend of mine. He's in, um, he works for the, uh, provincial government and he says, you know, the whole thing is a business deal. Uh, ask him ahead of time. What is it you're trying to achieve? What would you like to see? And if it doesn't align with yours.

[00:09:46] Travis Bader: That's easy. It's an easy answer for you, right? You're out. Yeah. 

[00:09:49] David Macdonald: But yeah, as you said, I mean, the best thing you do is say, I'm sorry, I don't know that answer, but you can, I'll refer you to this person. They may be able to, you know, um, and I don't know what it is about being in the army whenever there's a report around, they always seem to catch you.

[00:10:04] David Macdonald: When you're in the, when you're coming out of the field, right after like just a bad drive of a exercise or a training event and first time, actually the first time I ever got in any media event whatsoever, it was actually, I got into a stars and stripes article. Okay. Uh, I was down in, we were down in Texas doing some cross training and, uh, we were getting ready to go overseas on my first tour and it was, uh, It just happened to be a Stars and Stripes reporter reporting that, you know, there's Canadians down here.

[00:10:30] David Macdonald: What if, I guess it was big news that, you know, we were down there and we were actually, America finally realized that, you know, Canada had deployed, was deploying troops with Americans into Afghanistan like that. So, uh, uh, so they tried to interview a couple of us and it was well before the public affairs officer could get out to the, you know, to the desert range where we were at.

[00:10:48] David Macdonald: And we had just been hiking for up in the mountains around the El Paso area for probably You know, eight hours we're coming off the mountain range and that's when the reporter was in my face and I'm, it was handled well, but yeah, it was just like, you know, of course you're catching us all at the worst time possible.

[00:11:04] David Macdonald: At the time I was like a young corporal, just, I got my stripes and it was just like, it. Looking back now, I'm like, yeah, I could have done better at that interview, but what are you going to do? Right. It's a learning 

[00:11:14] Travis Bader: experience. As long as we treat it like that. I mean, there's all these things like late at night, you'll wake up.

[00:11:19] Travis Bader: I'm like, I should have said that. I should have done that. Right. 

[00:11:21] David Macdonald: And. Oh, I probably shouldn't have said that. 

[00:11:23] Travis Bader: Probably shouldn't have. Those are the worst. Right. Um, but as long as we can look at it as a learning experience and actually learn from it. Yeah. That's kind of how I get over kicking myself in the butt too hard.

[00:11:36] David Macdonald: And that's really anything in life, you know, like I've, I've made a lot of mistakes and I'm sure we'll get into some on the podcast today or something like that. And, uh, but I said, as long as it's, if you learn something from it, you know, it's not really truly a failure yet. Well, 

[00:11:51] Travis Bader: you know, yeah, we're talking a little bit off air here about, um, I think I use Brad Brooks as an example and, uh, Brad, he owns our galley and he's makes tents and trekking poles and he's a climber and he makes this lightweight gear and it's fantastic hunting gear.

[00:12:05] Travis Bader: And my first podcast I did with him, I'm researching all the gear because I figured we're going to want to talk about gear and everyone's going to want to hear about gear. And he, I get ready to record and he says, okay, Travis, this is your podcast. You do what you want, but I'm going to If you don't mind, I'm so sick and tired of talking about gear

[00:12:24] Travis Bader: Can, can we talk about the passion of the hunt? Yeah. Yeah. And, and that was what he was passionate about at the time. And so that was a big learning thing for me. What is a person passionate about at the time? Now you've, like you're saying before your story, you've told it a fair number of times. It's an important story.

[00:12:41] Travis Bader: It's a, it's a good story. Love to hear it on the podcast, but if it's not something that you're passionate about. We can talk about other things too. 

[00:12:48] David Macdonald: Uh, no, you know what, I I'm, I'm happy sharing my story. Um, I think it's an, it's an important, it's definitely an important, you know, uh, It's an important to show you kind of how I progressed to where I am now or something like that, and what also still the challenges that face, you know, that I face on a daily basis today, I think it's really important that now I, you know, I'll say this ahead of time, I've, I've also, I've, I've seen some of your podcasts, I've seen some of the people on it, uh, just recently this morning, I was watching the one officer down with the RCMP officer and it's funny.

[00:13:21] David Macdonald: It was actually giving me kind of chills, but his story is no different from, uh, In terms of, you know, what he, not what the trauma that he experiences and the reason and the thing that caused it, but all the things that came after. I'm like, yep, I did all that. It's a cycle. It's the same kind of thing that happens to every single person.

[00:13:39] David Macdonald: I was like, dad, it happens at different times in different ways and things like that. But I was just like, yeah, that all sounds kind of familiar. Uh, the destructive pattern, you kind of go down and then pulling yourself back and something occurred or some sort of incident occurred that. Allows you to kind of be like, okay, I got to stop doing what I'm doing.

[00:13:56] David Macdonald: And I got to get my head straight on. Uh, but I know I'm happy to share, uh, parts of my story. I'm happy to share, you know, the whole thing, as you mentioned. So when I was getting into the veterans help space, I was extremely passionate about it. Um, uh, I realized that, uh, I wasn't alone, you know, for a long time there, I felt completely alone.

[00:14:15] David Macdonald: I thought, you know, they'd given us all the briefings. I had time for it to where you could experience this and PTSD is a real thing. At this point it was 2007 and it was good enough that they were like, oh yeah, this could all happen. But then again, when you look back, I'm like, yeah, that wasn't, that was a half hour lecture we had.

[00:14:34] David Macdonald: And it was happening at like two o'clock in the afternoon on a Friday. And we're like, when are we getting out of here so we can go home? Like, like you weren't really, you weren't paying attention, right? So, uh, and you know, when I've deployed the first time, I think I was 23 years old. Maybe, maybe 22.

[00:14:53] David Macdonald: You're invincible, right? You're, you're, you're not, you're not worried about, I remember when I was 

[00:14:57] Travis Bader: 22. 

[00:14:58] David Macdonald: Yeah, you're, you're, you're not worried about all the mental trauma that your tour could cause or anything like that. You're all, you're concerned about, you're not even really concerned about dying. I, I wasn't actually concerned.

[00:15:07] David Macdonald: The only time I actually at all thought about, oh crap, I actually might die. I'm sorry if I, I don't know if I can swear on this or anything like that. But if it comes out, if it comes out, I 15 years in the infantry, man, it, it, it almost happens, I came out to catch myself now with my son, because I'm like, he's going to say something when he stays at daycare and I'm going to get in trouble.

[00:15:26] David Macdonald: But, uh, but yeah, you're not thinking of the only time I thought at all that, oh crap, I actually might die here was actually the plane ride into Afghanistan. That's it, eh? Yeah. Up until that point, I was just like the worst fear I had and the worst fear I had onto her was I may do something that may kill one of my buddies, one of my platoon mates.

[00:15:43] David Macdonald: I may not see something, I may miss something or anything like that. That's what I was concerned about. You weren't concerned about, you know, every time you left the wire. You're rolling out. Yeah. You said I had a little ritual. I said a little, I'm not really a religious person, uh. There are no atheists and foxholes.

[00:16:00] David Macdonald: Yeah. Yeah. But I said a little prayer to God. I'd be like, bring me back. And it always seemed to work until it, until it didn't. But, uh, but there was a little, you know, moment there, but that was it. And then it was just, okay, let's go. It's mission time. And, uh. So when you're, when it actually does happen and the incident occurs, and then you start having all these challenges at home, you know, both physically, but also mentally, it, you just feel completely alone.

[00:16:26] David Macdonald: You don't, you don't remember the lecture you had, you know, a year or two ago or like that, then this could, this could happen to you. And, uh, so when you finally. What do 

[00:16:37] Travis Bader: you feel triggered at? What do you feel is a, uh. . 

[00:16:41] David Macdonald: So in initially, um, and I, I, when I talk to school kids, 'cause I still do occasionally have school, uh, I, I like doing, going out and talking to, you know, both school, all age groups from like, you know, public school all the way up to high school.

[00:16:53] David Macdonald: Uh, the initial trigger for me and as I like to, and I say this because we'll get to that in a second, but I'd like to say it, is that it was a, uh. It was firecrackers initially, totally makes sense. Of course, explosions. My job overseas was, I had, let me preface, I had one, probably one of the best jobs you could have, I know people have probably said it before.

[00:17:15] David Macdonald: As a infantry reservist deploying, I had a

[00:17:21] David Macdonald: I'd probably one of the best jobs you could have overseas. Okay. I was force protection. Okay. So we went out and, and did all this, all the security for all the supply convoys. So I got to live at CAF with all the luxuries of CAF, but I got to go outside the wire and go out to the fobs and go out to all the cops and the outposts every, every day.

[00:17:40] David Macdonald: Hmm. So I got to see the countryside more than even the infantry guys did, cause they had their little areas of operation. I got to go to every single area operation they had from all the way up in the North, down to the South. We even went off into the furthest kind of US base where we had a Canadian artillery station at.

[00:17:57] David Macdonald: And, uh, so you got to see a lot of the country. You. You know, we had a lot of potential to get into contacts. Um, we didn't really see too many, which we're, you know, good or bad, depending on who you talk to, but. 

[00:18:11] Travis Bader: And that, and that builds too, right? Every time you go, is it going to happen? Is it going to 

[00:18:14] David Macdonald: happen?

[00:18:15] David Macdonald: Oh, absolutely. Like the, the stress. And, you know, on that was, and then my, you know, and then I like to say like my job was, was I had fun. I thought I was, I had, I had the greatest job within force protection is that I was just, that was a rifleman dismount. So I wasn't a driver. I wasn't a gunner. I was a backup gunner for the vehicle, but my job was to get driven around.

[00:18:34] David Macdonald: Well, you get driven around, but it, and I, I tell this to my civilian friends and they look at me like, I'm absolutely just, you know, are you nuts? Like. Uh, because when I say I was a human bomb detector, that's literally the best description I could give you is what my job was, is that we're driving down the road.

[00:18:50] David Macdonald: We were in these, the, the RG 31 Nile, as they had got for us at this point. So a vehicle specifically designed to roll over an ID and have a blow up underneath it or anything like that for survivability of the crew. But. You know, they cost more than the average, than the, than my life does or like that. So, 

[00:19:07] Travis Bader: uh, well, I guess who's, depending 

[00:19:09] David Macdonald: on who's doing it, yeah, but, uh, but anyway, so we're driving down the road.

[00:19:13] David Macdonald: My job was to get out of the perfectly good mine resistant vehicle. If we had a little, if we had any sort of, you know, idea that there might be something up, up, you know, in front of it. And go walk with my team and do vehicle checkpoints, uh, well, the vulnerable checkpoints and search for IEDs ahead of it.

[00:19:30] David Macdonald: So the convoys are back here. We're about, you know, up to, you know, a kilometer in front of it, searching around, uh, looking for, you know, anything that looks at a place. And I remember when I first landed in theater, they were like, Oh, you look for like garbage. Okay. Look for, look, look for garbage. Cause that's a good place to put IEDs and look for yellow containers.

[00:19:51] David Macdonald: Cause that's what they like using homemade explosives with. And then you actually get outside the wire and you're like, there's garbage everywhere. And the main thing they use to transport everything in this country is yellow plastic containers. So I'm like, great. This is look, look, look for, look for low riding Toyotas and Corollas.

[00:20:07] David Macdonald: You're like, okay, well what the taxis or every, like, you know, like all of them. Cause all of them are, you know, from the, you know, 1980s or seventies and all the, all the suspension is shot on them. So you're like, yeah, that's a good idea. Okay. So this is going to be an easy job, right? Right, right. But you got a brilliant track.

[00:20:22] David Macdonald: You really felt you were finally kind of like, you know, you felt that you're doing something over there. And we went out ahead of the mine clearance crews that went out to the road clearance every morning. So we were out ahead of that. So the time they rolled, we already cleared the road by the time they rolled up.

[00:20:37] David Macdonald: Um, and they're like, Oh, you had metal detectors. You had dogs with it. No, we don't have any of that. It was literally step, step, step, nothing blew up. I guess we can keep going or sticking, sticking your head inside culverts. And you know, your body looked with a flashlight to look for, you know, where it was in there now that we knew how to defuse it, our job was just to find it.

[00:20:56] David Macdonald: Right. So, and if we found something, then you're calling the common engineers out and they're going to, you know, diffuse it for you. If you're lucky enough, you had might have an engineer with you that could do it. But, uh, but still, I, I thought it was the greatest job you could have. We weren't stuck in an outpost.

[00:21:13] David Macdonald: We got to do that thing and then come back and have a, you know, a pizza back at CAF. Well, he got good food. He got, and I think overall, we had the respect of a lot of the, you know, Red Force battalions that were out of the FOBs. Cause you know, we were still at least infantry doing the job, getting their supplies.

[00:21:29] David Macdonald: We always made sure that if we're going out to like Spur, Wilson or Matt or, you know, or Frontenac or whatever it is, well, we're going to make sure we load up on pizzas for the boys and bring them out to the Merthlit It's the least we could do. Right. Um, but anyway, so the stress of that, you're not thinking of the time that's building up.

[00:21:49] David Macdonald: Sure. There'd be a lot of stress. Oh yeah. Yeah. And you're, uh, You're just, you know, you're just doing this day in, day out, you know, and we were just counting, no, you're not going out every day. Cause we have a, you know, a platoon of guys. So a patrol would usually be around three vehicles. We have nine vehicles in the platoon.

[00:22:06] David Macdonald: So sometimes you're back at CAF doing other stuff, VIP protection. Uh, POW protection, because you can't have a high value Taliban prisoner at the hospital. Cause any of the Afghans that work there, sure, they're going to try to kill them or anything like that. So your job is to protect, but your own, you know, you're a little conflicted about too.

[00:22:24] David Macdonald: Cause you're like, this guy probably just tried to kill me. Not that long ago. Yeah. 

[00:22:27] Travis Bader: Yeah. That's a, a tough moral, 

[00:22:30] David Macdonald: ethical thing. It is what it is. But yeah. You would do escorts for the local Afghans that work on camp and things like that, or, and we were QRF for the, for the calf as well. So if the base ever came under attack, it did it on our tour.

[00:22:41] David Macdonald: But in a later tour in 20 20 10, it, it did, I wasn't there at the time. Um, but uh, I had a bunch of friends that were from my, actually my reserve unit that was over there at that time. And so they had to fight off an attack at calf, which. Sounds like, uh, but actually for all of us, we're like, Hey, to do something cool.

[00:23:01] David Macdonald: Like, uh, again, it's the, it's a weird mentality, but like, you know, that's that's a soldier's mentality. Right. So, uh, but so anyway, fast forward, you know, You go from high speed unit doing that kind of work or anything like that, which, you know, some might, some may say it's not a high speed, you know, job, but it doesn't really matter in terms of this product.

[00:23:20] David Macdonald: I felt like we were doing something really, really, you know, valuable and cool. And we were involved or, and we did a bunch of multinational operations as well with the Brits and the Aussies and things and, and like row Marine commandos and stuff like that, which, you know, you wouldn't think we'd be able to, right.

[00:23:35] David Macdonald: And then you, it all comes to a screeching halt. What happened? So. I can't tell you the exact thing that happened that day, because I have no memory of it. Hmm. Uh, it was late in the tour. So our, our tour, we called it the never ending story. Okay. Tours for Canadians usually lasted six months long. Workup training usually was six months long.

[00:23:59] David Macdonald: Our workup training was just over a year. Cause at this time in round 2007, the reg force had already been deployed to Afghanistan since 20, uh, 2002. You'd guys with multiple tours, they were just getting tired. They were releasing, they were getting out and there was a recruitment problem, even the same way it is now, but there was a recruitment problem at the time.

[00:24:19] David Macdonald: And so they thought we have a great resource. We'll, we'll pull reservists up. And they'll fill backfill spots in the right force battalions. And we'll, and we were all on board because we're getting, you know, extra pay. Sure. It was, you know, a good chance for us to work with the right force units. That extra time, I really think actually set us up well.

[00:24:39] David Macdonald: Cause it allowed us to really, really meld with them, but also gain their respect. Cause it, when we first landed, there wasn't a huge amount of, uh, uh, respect between, there was a professional comradery, you know, but. It was a little, yeah, the first couple of weeks were a little, uh, tough to, uh, to get through, but, uh, so anyway, so, uh, we, we deployed, we did our first six months.

[00:25:04] David Macdonald: I didn't even get my HLTA until six and a half months into the tour. When we were getting, when we were thinking, okay, it's time for us to rip out. We were told, well, your, your replacement coming in, they're not ready yet. They've been deemed that they had need additional training in Canada. So you're all here, you've all been voluntold for, you're going to be here for an additional three to four months.

[00:25:26] David Macdonald: We didn't care. Sure. We're like, great, cool. Second, second bar, you know, a bar on the tour, a metal and more pay for us. It was really, it came down to great more three months, additional pay, like with danger pay tax free. Hell yeah. Like we're, we're all young and the ones that aren't, they all have mortgages and they're like, I got to pay that off or I got a kid in college that, you know, like, so So went on my leave, came home, came back to, you know, went, came back into the theater or something like that.

[00:25:54] David Macdonald: And I was there for maybe a month, um, went into orders that, that morning that we were going to go out and do the standard, what we called the milk run, which was a, a move of supply moved from what we call the CLP. Not the oil, I'm sure that was on one of the trucks, but we were going to move, uh, combat logistic patrols, we got a CLP and we're going to go from CAF to Mastamgarh.

[00:26:18] David Macdonald: And I think it was to Wilson and possibly, um, went down to Spur, went and back one day run. Something we were doing, you know, we called the milk run. Cause it's something we, we did so often that it became kind of, it was through Kandar city. Uh, but through the Pantaway district center like that, which is a bit of a Taliban hotbed, but, and, uh, so we were going through more orders that morning.

[00:26:42] David Macdonald: Uh, I was deemed the team medic actually, cause I was a, I was TCCC qualified and we didn't have any other medics going out with us that day. Medics were a hot commodity on my tour. They really didn't have, there wasn't enough of them to go around. So, so like, Oh, Max, Max, you're the team medic. I'm like, Oh, okay.

[00:26:57] David Macdonald: Yeah. I was really on board with that. I like doing the medical stuff. And, uh, I probably the most experienced medic on, uh, outside of civilian world or anything like that, like when, because I'd been involved in a couple of mass casualty situations on the tour and things like that. Uh, so anyway, the last thing I remember is that rolling out outside the wire in my vehicle.

[00:27:18] David Macdonald: We were lead vehicle out that night, that morning. Next thing I remember, I'm waking up three weeks later in a hospital in Germany. That's going to be an odd feeling. Oh, you're waking up another continent away. Yeah. In a clean, first of all, I knew it wasn't in Afghanistan anymore. Cause I'm in a clean white room.

[00:27:35] David Macdonald: When you're waking up, what were you thinking? Well, that didn't happen. I've, you know, that no sand anywhere, no dirt. Right. Right. And I'm like, uh, okay, this is weird. Yeah. 

[00:27:45] Travis Bader: What was it going through your head? 

[00:27:47] David Macdonald: First thing through my head is honestly, it was, I, you know, did I have, are my legs still there? Hmm.

[00:27:52] David Macdonald: Yeah. We had a kind of a growing, we had to be the kind of thing like, Oh, if you're, if you're sent to Germany, you've lost, you know, you've lost an appendage, like you, your leg arm was gone. So, uh, I remember the nurse came in and you know, they saw that I was awake and stuff like that. So they came in and they were trying to explain what was going on or something like that.

[00:28:10] David Macdonald: And 

[00:28:10] Travis Bader: they're like. So you woke up without anybody around you. No, yeah. Nothing, nobody around me. You just kind of start opening your eyes. Open my eyes up 

[00:28:15] David Macdonald: and I'm like. Things are focusing. Yeah. And I'm like, well, hold on, where am I? Right. Nurse runs in and she's like, Oh, you know, You were, you were involved in an incident.

[00:28:26] David Macdonald: You know, you're, you're okay, but you're, you're, you are hurt. You're in Germany. I'm like, Oh, once I heard Germany, I'm like, Oh, so I was like, you know, do I have my legs? She's like, yeah, yeah, sure. No, your legs are good. And I'm like, Oh, okay. Wait, do I have, do I have my arms? Cause I, at this point I'm on so much morphine.

[00:28:46] David Macdonald: I can't feel anything below my neck. And being 23, rather than ask if I'm paralyzed or like that, I'm wondering about my legs, my arms. What's the third question? Yeah. You know what the third question is going to be? I asked like, you know, is everything still good down there? And she took a look and I thought she took way too long to tell me that she was like, yeah, everything's where it's supposed to be.

[00:29:06] David Macdonald: I'm like, Oh, thank God. Okay. And, uh, so then it kind of, you know, over the next couple of days, they explained to me, no, like, you know, this is what's happened. You were involved in a, in a, in an accident. It was, uh, it wasn't the official report is that it wasn't a dude enemy action. It wasn't due to combat.

[00:29:21] David Macdonald: It was a vehicle accident. A Afghan Corolla, uh, drove, try to drive into our vehicle and RV, our, we were going to go clear bridge. It'll be clear just outside of Canada, Canada, our city bridge. Uh, between calf and Kent and that was curtsy Canada, our city. Um, and we declared this bridge probably 90 times before or something like that, you know, something like that.

[00:29:45] David Macdonald: Right. You know, and we were in the lead vehicle. We went to go clear the bridge ahead of it against the rest of the convoys. So we would drive across the entire thing and then set up a, you A security point on their side, somewhere between that area, between when we get to the other side of vehicle drove out and almost hit our vehicles.

[00:30:01] David Macdonald: We swerved, but we were going so fast at this point, our vehicles are top heavy. It started to roll and it just rolled and it didn't stop rolling for about like a hundred feet. So everything in the vehicle that's packed in the vehicle happens to be packed right near me. So everything, all the bags and everything is, even though they're secured, they're ripping out or like that.

[00:30:26] David Macdonald: And it's just all falling on top of me. It's like a tumble dryer. Oh yeah. My machine gun slams me in the face. Um, apparently I hit my head into the back of the glass of the RG. With enough force to crack the glass and that's bulletproof resistant glass resistance of 50 cals. Now it will still crack if you shoot it.

[00:30:44] David Macdonald: Right. Sure. So what exact force that was, who knows, but it was enough to crack the glass and flatten my helmet. Uh, and, uh, that led to me having a skull fracture that pretty much went from my back, my neck, all the way up to my front, my left orbital, orbital bone right here, which, you know, led to the coma and everything else that was going on here.

[00:31:04] David Macdonald: It's like that. And so. Waking up in Germany, yeah, that was, and then, you know, it, it, hearing the, you know, getting the physical injuries out, but really, I think the more, the most traumatic part of that entire day was finding out that I was in Germany, my platoon was still in Afghanistan and they still had a month left of their tour and I wasn't going back.

[00:31:31] David Macdonald: Like these, these are guys, you know, men and women that I'd been with for two years at this point. Yeah, they were closer to me than my family in most cases. And 

[00:31:42] Travis Bader: that'd be tough. Yeah. What about the other people, the other occupants of the vehicle? 

[00:31:45] David Macdonald: They got away. Okay. Yeah. Uh, it just happened to be that I just happened to be in the worst spot of the vehicle when this rolled over like that.

[00:31:52] David Macdonald: And, uh, the driver got out, uh, the crew commander got out the back. My gunner hurt his back a bit, but he was, he managed to stay in theater, but I was just completely, you know. Yeah, there was no walking away from that. And now, um, I had bleeding in the brain. They, uh, I'd crushed every bone in my left hand or something like that.

[00:32:14] David Macdonald: It's looking pretty good today, but it's been 12 years now. And, um, you're right handed to begin with. I'm right handed to begin with. So I didn't have to learn to do anything with my other hand, which is good. But, um, yeah, I broke my, broke my pelvis, dislocated my left leg, had some spinal fractures. Um, Later in life, I find out, you know, during the incident, also severed a nerve in my, in my leg or like that, that controls, doesn't hurt, but it controls, uh, four of the five toes.

[00:32:44] David Macdonald: So they just don't move. They don't move at all. And actually they, they just, they, they just operate independently and they kind of just stay close together like that. So it comes up, I guess, with some balance issues here or there, but it's just one of those things. You got a feeling there? Yeah, I got a feeling for the most part.

[00:32:59] David Macdonald: Okay. But just, they just move as one. So it's almost like kind of like a flipper more than anything else. But, uh, then as you find your final things, you know, as you go on, but it, the, the bright side to it coming home, uh, and the physical injuries, despite them being as much as they were, it, you know, young and got to say super fit.

[00:33:25] David Macdonald: There's nothing to do in Afghanistan other than. You know, play poker, work out, work out. I was working out twice a day over there like that. Right. And I'm at the point, you know, you're, you're almost Olympic level fitness. So being that physically fit, you recover pretty quickly. It helps a lot. Uh, yeah. And that's, I'm learning today now that I'm 39, turn 40.

[00:33:46] David Macdonald: Yeah, even though the workouts aren't as intense as they once were, you got to keep it up because it's, it's, the injuries don't stop and that, and they're starting to bring their ugly heads here and there from past. So, 

[00:33:56] Travis Bader: uh, well that effort at the front end sure pays dividends in the back end. 

[00:33:59] David Macdonald: Yeah, but, uh, but I'm a little more, a little more prone now to sit on the couch and eat a bag of chips than I am to work, go to the gym, but, uh, but, uh, So you recover quickly, but yeah, mentally though, the, I didn't realize the, you know, it took a couple of years for me to realize really what was going on mentally.

[00:34:16] David Macdonald: Did 

[00:34:17] Travis Bader: other people recognize it before you? 

[00:34:19] David Macdonald: You know, I think they did, but they were in denial just as much as I were. Um, and I mentioned before, uh, firecrackers. So, and, and, and this is why I want to say that, you know, they just say that. Triggering, you know, everyone's triggers a little bit different.

[00:34:37] David Macdonald: Everyone, you know, no mental health injury is the same. Although, as I said, when I left in your officer down podcast, I was just like, okay, all that stuff that he did, I did as well. Yeah. That's Nathan Kepler. Yeah. It's a very, very, you know, everything I'm like, okay, maybe different way he did it, maybe different reasons or different, you know, but it's very, very similar, but.

[00:34:56] David Macdonald: It doesn't mean that the triggers are necessarily the same or even the way the trigger. So when I say, when I was telling kids, you know, I tell kids firecrackers, everyone's like, yeah, of course the explosions you, you worked with IEDs, you, you've had explosions happen around you. I was involved in rocket attacks and overseas.

[00:35:10] David Macdonald: And I'm like, yeah, you know, I was, I spent a lot of time at Massengar, which we called the catcher's mitt, which was literally just a base with a big open end that faced Panja, that, uh, the city center. And there's always these great pots where they'd lob mortars in at us. And, but then I explained, well, what about the fireworks do you think triggers me?

[00:35:32] David Macdonald: And everyone's like, well, the explosions. I'm like, no, it's that the explosion is actually a release for me. There's a calming effect because over, and then when you're there, but if you heard the explosion, you survive. That's right. Hearing the launch, the little funk of it, leaving the tube. Oh, even now, like I'm, it sends some shivers down my spine.

[00:35:52] David Macdonald: Yeah. Guys. All you could do is, you know, I remember there was one incident in Massacre, we heard the thunk and you heard get down and there was nowhere to, I was literally in the middle of going from my, uh, uh, ballistic hut up here down to where the, uh, logistics headquarters was, was getting some orders and like that.

[00:36:12] David Macdonald: And I was stuck in the middle, just in this open flat area with nothing but gravel around you. And the only thing you do is get to the ground and hope you hear that explosion. You know, you did and look, you know, I managed it, it, it hit on the other side of the base and it didn't affect me, but it definitely stuck with you a little bit.

[00:36:28] David Macdonald: Cause you're like, okay. 

[00:36:30] Travis Bader: In the moment when that happened, it is a hit adrenaline rush thing. 

[00:36:34] David Macdonald: This is great. Yeah. Oh, and you're like, ha ha. Right. You, you missed me, but at the exact same time, and again, you're young at the time, you don't realize what's going on, but it does definitely leave a scar in your head of kind of like.

[00:36:46] David Macdonald: Remember the thunk of the tube means you're, you're, you're going to die. The explosion is a release. You just survive. So I remember, uh, one May 4th, May 1, May 2, 4 weekend, I was out with my girlfriend and we were down at, uh, we thought it'd be really smart to go down to, uh, uh, Atherton Bay in Toronto, massive firework display.

[00:37:07] David Macdonald: And I couldn't handle, I, I, I just, I retreated to the, like the basement or like that. And, you know, and she didn't understand at all. She was, she got upset again, alcohol was involved. So, uh, and I was weirdly enough, I actually found the person we were visiting her, her dad was down there and I was like, he was like, you okay?

[00:37:25] David Macdonald: And I'm like, no, I don't think I am. And he's just like, yeah. And it turns out he was, he had been a, uh, a Vietnam vet.

[00:37:36] David Macdonald: And he's like, yeah, yeah, don't worry. I get it. And I'm like, okay. So I felt kind of safe that moment, but that was like kind of the first sign of, I remember I was crossing a field on another day, same thing, fireworks go off. And the first thing I do is I go to the, I'm like, I have groceries in my hand, throw them off and I go to the dirt.

[00:37:54] David Macdonald: It's usually an explosion. And then I go booking it across the field and back home. I just leave the groceries there in the field. Yeah. And then I got home and I was, I was so confused because I'm like, why did I do that? I'm, I'm home. It makes sense at the time. It makes sense completely. It's, it's, it's your body goes in, you know, the training kicks in and you immediately go into, uh, what, you know, survival mode, but then you get, you get, you think about it after a second, you're like, I'm home.

[00:38:16] David Macdonald: There's, there's, there was no threat there. Um, trying to 

[00:38:20] Travis Bader: rationalize those things is, um, can be difficult though. 

[00:38:24] David Macdonald: And you feel completely embarrassed. You felt that. And that's it, right? I felt like a jackass. And then. 

[00:38:30] Travis Bader: And I think that's where people have difficulty. And I think it exacerbates the issue because you're like, well, I shouldn't have done that.

[00:38:36] Travis Bader: And I shouldn't have felt like this when the reality is how you feeling and how you're reacting is a perfectly natural response to everything that's happening. And. I remember my wife will kill me for this, but I remember years ago, you know, having an argument, I'm basically, I'm rationally trying to work through this.

[00:38:56] Travis Bader: And I'm like, this doesn't make sense, right? This is how you're feeling. Does it make sense? It's essentially what I'm saying to her. And she's like, you're right, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel like this, we need to address this. Okay. And I think that same sort of logic applies to the situation like this, like, okay, maybe I can't rationalize it.

[00:39:16] Travis Bader: But I'm still feeling it and I can recognize it. So let's address 

[00:39:19] David Macdonald: it. But also, and, and as, at the same time, I was just like, oh, well, this is just, this'll probably go away. This is common. You just got back from tour not that long ago or anything like that. You know, you're just going through the motions of it.

[00:39:31] David Macdonald: Cause again, and this is where some of the lectures, maybe the army taught us kind of was actually the worst enemy because, oh, this is, this is normal or like that. 

[00:39:41] Travis Bader: It'll go away. It's just like a muscle. It'll go away. Yeah. Muscle injury. It'll go away. A break it'll go away. If I ignore 

[00:39:45] David Macdonald: it. . And then you kind of realize over the years, you know, it, it, it didn't, you know, kind of go, the stress was always, hypervigilance was always there.

[00:39:55] David Macdonald: Um, it worked, it played in my benefit cause I got into security, got into, you know, special constable work and stuff like that. So it kind of, you know, played in my benefit there, but it, and then, but then also like, you know, my sleep was, was shit. Absolutely. You know, I maybe sleep three hours a night and that went on for four and a half years.

[00:40:14] Travis Bader: Yeah. So that's, that's probably one of the biggest things that you need is sleep. Oh, 

[00:40:21] David Macdonald: absolutely. But I, but I couldn't. I was, my brain would just not shut off. And so what do you do? Well, at the time I'm like, well, if I'm going to be awake, I might as well work. So I just kept taking jobs, multiple jobs. I used to work with what I called the Ironman shift.

[00:40:38] David Macdonald: So I was working two, I was working at the time, two different security jobs. I was working at the science center. I was working at the Harborfront center in Toronto. I would do an eight hour day shift at the Harborfront. No, sorry. I'll do an eight hour day shift at the science center. Then go down and do a 12 hour night shift at the Harborfront and then go back and do an eight hour shift at the science center.

[00:40:56] David Macdonald: And only then would I then go home and you think, well, you're going to sleep or like that. Now you've just been up for 36 hours and like that. And I would go home and I would just sit, I would just sit there and be like, I know I'm tired, but I know there's no point in sleeping because I'm going to be up in two hours.

[00:41:13] David Macdonald: Did 

[00:41:13] Travis Bader: you turn to sleep aids 

[00:41:16] David Macdonald: or substances? No, at, at the time, I, despite me working all that, I was also living in Toronto in Midtown. I couldn't afford substances if I wanted to, um, I, and at the time I didn't realize I, you know, I didn't realize I could go through Veterans Affairs for it and, um,

[00:41:39] David Macdonald: There was to this day and it, it, it, uh, it, it still hurts to this day. Yeah. The, what not, I wouldn't say the betrayal, but when I came home, um, the reserves weren't prepared to deal with casualties from Afghanistan. It, it really is a shame because at the point where we, while we were deploying a lot of reservists from my tour, I think, you know, my tour is almost, we were almost 50, 50 with right force in terms of the amount of people, preservers that deployed and up near the, up near like later tours, you're getting upwards of 60 percent preservers were deploying on the tour.

[00:42:16] David Macdonald: But when we got hurt. And we came home, we instantly reverted back to from, this was three classes of reservists. There's class a, which just standard be going in. You sign in for your days or your weekends and you get paid for that. Class B, which is a whole other thing. You're kind of quasi full time, quasi not.

[00:42:33] David Macdonald: There's certain benefits depending on how long your, your contract is. It's a contract and then class C. So you deploy, we, we deployed as a class C. You're essentially, you have all the benefits of a rank four soldier, you're full time. Um, you're, you're, for all intents and purposes, you're, you're the same as a Regforce soldier.

[00:42:51] David Macdonald: Uh, you're attached to a Regforce battalion during that time when you're either deployed or you're doing your workup training. Um, and near the end of the tour, they offered all of us component transfers over to Regforce cause we, as far as our concern, we've proven ourselves. They offered it at our rank, which was almost unheard of.

[00:43:09] David Macdonald: Um, wow. And so I got, uh, I was looking at, uh, five year stint at, uh, two VP in Shiloh really didn't want to go there, but, uh, but it's where the next, it's where the next tour was going, this was pre injury. I really want, my, my goal was to actually come back and at this point. And I was just like, these guys are, these guys are bad ass.

[00:43:34] David Macdonald: This is, I really wanted to at least go try for selection for see saw. I was like, I'm going to come back from tour, stay fit. Cause I'm going to be in good shape and I'm going to put in my slip, you know, maybe, maybe go to VP and then put in my selection for see saw. Injury changed all that I got injured, my CT got pulled.

[00:43:52] David Macdonald: There was no way I thought at that point I'd, you know, I was physically injured. So there's no way I was going to be trying out for selection. I couldn't make it through. Um, and I know at the time I wasn't thinking mentally, but meant looking back now mentally, there's no way I could have gone through the mental game of it or anything like that.

[00:44:08] David Macdonald: So, um, Not a cop out, just, it just is what it is. It was the, it was the hand that life dealt me or anything like that. And, um, so yeah, anyway, as I said, so going back, I couldn't afford any of the substances or anything like that. Didn't realize that. And when I got home, the, I, you know, I wasn't even. When I got home, I basically got told, okay, report to the MIR at CFP Toronto on Tuesday.

[00:44:40] David Macdonald: It was like a Friday. I got home. Okay Everything's still broken. Everything's still, you know, swelled up I was cleared to for a flight home from the hospital in Lungstuhl If I had known that the last medical care I was gonna get was in Germany. Really? Yeah, I would have requested to stay. I would have stayed there as long as I could.

[00:45:01] David Macdonald: I basically came home. I got landed on the, the, the tarmac in Toronto. And that's where medical care stopped. He said, 

[00:45:08] Travis Bader: well, you walked in here. Okay. They're 

[00:45:09] David Macdonald: like, well, you're a class A reservist now. Class A reservist. You don't, you don't get the benefits of a reg force soldier or a class C you, even though, and actually when I first got to the MRR, I got wheeled in a wheelchair and they're like, I'm like, yeah, I'm here for my appointment.

[00:45:24] David Macdonald: They're like, what appointment? They had no clue. Like I'm like, I'm in from Afghanistan. Like we don't have an injured soldier coming in from Afghanistan today. Well, I'm here. No, I'm like, well, I'm here and I'm, I'm, you know what? Yeah, I'm here. Like, uh, and I just got back from Afghanistan. So I don't have to tell you.

[00:45:40] David Macdonald: And they're like, they had to like search for the file. And they're like, okay, we finally found it. Um, at this point, my head's still ringing. Cause you know, I, I, I got, you know, I've got headaches, go lower migraines going or something like that. Cause of all the head injuries and the, uh, still, you know, the split skull and things like that.

[00:45:55] David Macdonald: And, um, so in a way the doctor comes in and he's like, oh, we looked at your file or anything like that. Uh, you know, you were gonna probably have to transfer to your, to your civilian doctor. What civilian doctor like that? You know, like I had one, but. How are they going to treat the injuries? The, uh, like, you know, I expected, I might be going to, you know, I had a friend earlier in our previous tour that had been really injured in an IED strike.

[00:46:18] David Macdonald: And, uh, when he got back, he was immediately transferred to Sunnybrook. So that's what I thought where I was going. None of that. So, and then I'm like, okay, well, I document a lot of pain and I've got a lot of broken bones and things are still swelled up. I got a lot of cortisol going through my body, like crazy or like that.

[00:46:33] David Macdonald: He's like, okay, don't worry me. You know, we'll, we'll be, obviously we'll take care of that for you. They sent me to the pharmacy at the MIR. T3s? Oxycontin. Here's three bottles of Oxycontin. Take it when you feel pain. So that I, so, okay. So I did have access to some substances that I think about it or it's like that.

[00:46:51] David Macdonald: Right. But probably the worst substance you could possibly give. Let's just get somebody addicted. And then to make matters even worse, this was all in one visit to me when I'm rolling myself back out. Suddenly one of the pharmacy nurses comes running up to like, Hey, sorry, like, um, let me check what they gave you.

[00:47:08] David Macdonald: So they checked the bot, the bottle. They're like, yeah, this would have killed you. They gave you blood thinners by accident. Wow. First sign that everything was about to, you know, was going to go to shit for the next four years. Wow. Uh, left my own devices after that. No, no contact with veterans affairs, no case officer assigned, nothing.

[00:47:30] David Macdonald: Just basically get better. You have 30 days to get, actually I was told you got 30 days to get better or you're out of the army. Wow. So I showed up at my unit, you know, barely able to walk, but they're like, you're back on duty. Good to go. And you're 

[00:47:47] Travis Bader: thinking who raw? I'm a tough guy. 

[00:47:49] David Macdonald: I'm thinking I'm young.

[00:47:50] David Macdonald: I can, I can, I guess this is just another thing. I'll do it or something like that. Right? Um, fast forward four years, you know, haven't slept in forever. Luckily I'd never developed a. I mean, I didn't like what they were doing to me. Yeah. Um, my, I decided to quit it in gold, just deal with the pain after I took one and my, my fiance at the time or like that, uh, she, uh, she made, she was going to work.

[00:48:16] David Macdonald: So she, she kissed me, you know, before she went to work, I was laying in bed, did my job at the time. So I was just like, okay. Um, and what I thought was 10 minutes past. When she comes back in the room and I'm like, well, what are you, what are you doing here? Like, you know, I thought you had to go to work.

[00:48:31] David Macdonald: She's like, what are you talking about? I'm like, I thought you had to go to work. Babe, I've been gone. I went to work. She, she worked downtown in Toronto. We were, we lived up at like Uptown. She's like, I've been gone. I've been gone for 10 hours. Yeah. I wouldn't like that. I'm like, Oh, I got to get off these things.

[00:48:47] David Macdonald: Like, so, so luckily I never went down that, that, that opioid path. Thank God. But. It would have been real simple to do it. I mean, yeah, they gave it to me, you know, right. Um, it was actually years later I was talking to, I was at one of the, one of the, the, uh, wounded warrior events. I was talking to a general, um, Which is, you know, a weird thing to say that, you know, corporal was talking to a general as we were peers, but, uh, I wasn't, you know, in the military, I wasn't there as part of my military rank, but, but we were kind of shooting, you know, we were shooting around or like that.

[00:49:25] David Macdonald: And I actually got him to publicly admit the army was completely unprepared for the reservists to, when to deploy and to be injured. They had, there was no plans. No plans at all for how to deal with reservists that have been, were injured in Afghanistan. Cause they're just, they just had never had really occurred before.

[00:49:45] David Macdonald: And like we, they never deployed us into a, a war zone in that type of capacity and that type of conflict. Right. Obviously we deployed into Bosnia. We'd, we'd gone to, you know, in place, we'd gone, I don't, I think some of us had gone to Rwanda or something like that. Um, but it was a different combat zone. It wasn't outward flat out combat and fighting an insurgency.

[00:50:04] David Macdonald: Right. So. Um, IEDs were, you know, mines were the main threat in a lot of Bosnia and Kosovo area. We were dealing with an active IED threat that, you know, and it, so. Is this why you 

[00:50:17] Travis Bader: got involved with, uh, wounded warriors? You spoke at the Senate too, 

[00:50:19] David Macdonald: didn't you? I did. I testified at the Senate, uh, when I was with wounded warriors, but I went in, I went as a capacity, as a corporal in the army, as an injured veteran.

[00:50:28] David Macdonald: Because, uh, and I'll talk about that in a second. I got a really cool story about that experience, but, uh, how I got involved with wounded warriors, I actually knew about them for a while. I actually received one of their care packages when I was in the hospital in Germany. Um, it was a, the whole thing about wounded warriors was started and, uh, it was started around a soldier that, uh, a combat engineer that had been injured, uh, I forget, 06 in Afghanistan.

[00:50:54] David Macdonald: Okay. It turns out he was my fire, him and me, we had been fire team partners during boot camp and a soldier qualification course. So we got, we were pretty close together. Um, and that's how I kind of knew about it. And then I got it. I actually got into Wounded Warriors after I got into the veteran's aid space.

[00:51:12] David Macdonald: It was actually further on down the line. Um, But, uh, no, actually how I got into the whole veteran's aid space was I started off as an, it was actually my own kind of story of reclaiming my life back again, fast forward four years after my injury, no sleep, not really sure what the hell was going on with me.

[00:51:30] David Macdonald: Um, I had kind of given up, I pulled away from my family. Yeah. Uh, so, but for about almost four years, my mom didn't know if I was alive or dead. She never, she didn't, she never heard from me. And, uh, I'd gone married, gone divorced. I'd F that relationship up completely, uh, decide to get into another relationship, which was completely destructive or like that, you know, like going down this path or like that.

[00:51:57] David Macdonald: You've heard from all the, you know, a bunch of other guys that are on this podcast or when you hear from other people like, Oh yeah, it was doing real stupid stuff. Were you recognizing it at the time? Oh God, no, no. It was always someone else's, you know, it didn't work out because that's just the way it's supposed to go, or they didn't do this or, and it wasn't getting fulfilled in this way or like that.

[00:52:16] Travis Bader: But what had to happen for you to 

[00:52:18] David Macdonald: recognize it? I actually got extremely lucky. Um, So I went into my army unit one day and this was 2012 and went in my army unit. And, uh, they, they went to me and they're like, and at this point there was maybe there was two injured soldiers in my unit that had been injured in Afghanistan, me and a guy on 2010.

[00:52:41] David Macdonald: Um, and they, they just, they came to me. I happened 

[00:52:44] Travis Bader: to show up that night and they said, Hey, you know, I think we, we, something came across our desk and. I think it's a good go. Now, anyone in the army will tell you when you hear a good go, you are merely suspicious of that because it's like ice cream, you know.

[00:53:01] Travis Bader: You know, it's like the D day and do what we're doing. They're giving you ice cream. You're like, Oh, is this actually going to happen? We're, we're, we're jumping into the buzzsaw here. It's like that. Right. And so you're like, yeah, okay, let's, I'm willing to hear it out, but what is this good to go? I'm like thinking, I'm like, they're going to send me on, they're going to appeal cute.

[00:53:16] Travis Bader: They're going to. You know, some, you know, bad drive course or some other I'm going off to, you know, like, uh, something or like that. And there, but I'm like, okay, I'm interested. Sure. Send it my way. And it turned out it was the troop. It was the first inaugural true patron love, um, March to the top. So this was true.

[00:53:35] Travis Bader: We'd love as a, uh, not as a charity in Toronto. And they decided they were going to do an expedition. Taking 12 injured soldiers all have been injured in different areas in the military, not all Afghanistan. So I'm previous to that. Uh, and we were going to go climb a mountain in Nepal, 22, 000 foot, you know, mountain Island peak, and we were doing it to raise awareness and money for.

[00:53:58] Travis Bader: Had you done mountaineering before? Oh God, no, no, I'd done some rock climbing, but like indoor rock climbing at like, you know, that's some, you know, 30 foot tall. 22, 000. So if people, I'm just thinking of perspective here, mountain Baker, which is kind of the highest peak that we have. You can see over that's 10, seven, I think.

[00:54:17] Travis Bader: Yeah. So that's twice the size that in, so 22. That that's up there. Oh yeah. That is out there. It is above the clouds. What, what peak is that? Island peak. Island peak. So it's in, it's on, it's in the, uh, shadow of Mount Everest the entire time you're climbing. You're when you actually get to the actual mountain base of your climbing Mount Everest is right there next to you.

[00:54:39] Travis Bader: Um, and it's about, you know, you think Jesus, that's another 9, 000 feet, 10, 000 feet more than what we did, but, uh, So we, we actually, our training camp was actually out here, uh, in kind of, not that far away from Mount Baker. Like we were climbing the Columbia ice field and doing a bunch of training out there.

[00:54:57] Travis Bader: Uh, so yeah, whenever I come out here, I'm always kind of like, I, my hotel here to now I'm here for something else. I was sleeping in my hotel. I can see the mountains and it always brings back good memories of being up there for three weeks, just kind of training grounds, but, but it was, the climb itself was amazing.

[00:55:12] Travis Bader: I didn't, you don't actually realize when you think of Nepal, you think of, oh, ice climbing, you know, there's a huge amount of, you gotta, you gotta remember, you gotta get there. Yes. It took, It took, what, 14 days just to get to the base camp. And then you're just walking and it's everything from temperate forest to rainforest to Rocky, you know, it, we set up the Sherpas or anything.

[00:55:33] Travis Bader: Oh yeah. Yeah. We Sherpas and like, it was a dream experience. We had Yaks and we, you know, but it has every train. If you went to Nepal, you could film any, Anyplace in the world, minus an urban city, you could film there and you could, it could be Ireland. It could be Scotland. It could be, you know, Vietnam.

[00:55:52] Travis Bader: Like it could be anywhere in the world because they have all those different environments right there with you. You're climbing, you're, you're walking across wire bridges that are 200 feet long over, you know, gorges with waterfalls and like that, that, you know, that's pretty cool. And you're walking past that had been, you know, like trade routes for 2000 years.

[00:56:10] Travis Bader: Like it's, it's Nancy Bazaar is this amazing town built in the amphitheater of a mountain where it's literally, it's just carved out. And all the town is just on this one up inside this one Hill. And then they tell you, Oh, Alexander the great went through here. That's cool. You're like, Jesus, like, like, like, you know, the history here.

[00:56:28] Travis Bader: And like, just the, it was just amazing. So, but really it was being back in a group of soldiers. And so hearing some of their stories and hearing what they've kind of, some of the things they've been through. And that's when I realized that's when it kind of clicked. I was like, I may be not okay. And it was the first time I'd cried in four years, finally telling them my background, my story.

[00:56:55] Travis Bader: And unfortunately the one downside of that. Is once I finally start feeling emotion again, it just, I couldn't, I couldn't stop. Yeah. But, but, you know, my, my girlfriend or, or I started trying to start dating during this time a little bit, and it was really hard to get a date. It was really hard to keep a date after.

[00:57:15] Travis Bader: Cause like, cause sometimes I would just burst into tears and I'm like, I can't, I'm sorry. It's like, you know, try and explain this. And they're like, yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm going to, thanks. It's not sexy to be at a restaurant and you're like, just, you know, crying by your, you know, I'm like. It is what it is, right.

[00:57:29] Travis Bader: It is what it is. And it's an absolutely normal by product to what's going on. But I think. Still didn't realize I was suffering from PTSD yet, that took another year. And it was actually, it was after a bad drive of a winter X with my army unit that, uh, I was hanging out on just my rock and it was just a, it just cold, even freezing.

[00:57:54] Travis Bader: Um, And it just, it was one of those weird ones where they're like, you know, take down your tent, put your tent back up, take down your tent, but it was a learning experience, but of course they have to cram a week's worth of stuff into one day. Right. So anyway, um, anyone who says winter camping to me now, they're like, Oh, let's go.

[00:58:10] Travis Bader: I'm like, yeah, no, you know what? I'm good. I'll be okay with you in the summer. How's that sound? I've been there, done that. I know how to survive in the winter. I don't need to go and practice it anymore. But, uh, yeah. Yeah, I was sitting on my ruck and I don't know what came over me or like that, but it just, I just broke down and, uh, a sergeant came up and he's just like, you okay?

[00:58:30] Travis Bader: And I said, no. And I think it was, I was, I was in the throes of my divorce at that point. And it was a really tough night, uh, working a night shift or anything like that, uh, the previous, in the previous week. And, um, I can't remember what it was. Something, basically someone, someone posted something on my Facebook.

[00:58:51] Travis Bader: Uh, I know I'm on a podcast right now and it's going to be on social media and stuff like that, but I got to say, like, I'm on social media. I understand, you know, the impact it has, but I don't think a lot of people understand how, what impact it can truly have. And at this point, this is early days of social Instagram didn't exist yet.

[00:59:05] Travis Bader: This was just Facebook. Yeah. So one of my friends decided to post a, what he thought was a supportive message on Facebook. Okay. And not thinking, not realizing that all my, you know, ex wife's friends are also on Facebook and we're all still friends. So they see this and they just start going in on me thinking that I had posted, you know, and one of them told me again, through Matt, through a message that said, you know what, it just, it probably would have just been better if you didn't come home at all.

[00:59:37] Travis Bader: And then it started dawning on me and I, you know, I realized, I was thinking, I'm like, you know what? Yeah, they're right. 100 percent right. What am I doing with my life? I'm working at, you know, two dead end jobs. I'm not really doing anything. I'm not successful. I've just lost, you know, what I thought was the love of my life.

[00:59:56] Travis Bader: I haven't spoke to my family. I've lost all connections or like that. I don't really have any friends. Not making any money. Meanwhile, I'm like, I have. Buddies that were killed overseas that had families. They had children. They had a whole life ahead of them. They didn't get to come home. I got to come home, survive this injury, recover and what the hell am I doing with my life?

[01:00:16] Travis Bader: You're right. I don't deserve this. So that morning I decided I'm going to kill myself. And the only reason I'm standing here right now, sitting, talking to you and where I am is because the platform in the subway was too crowded to get to. I was, I was going to jump in front of the subway. So I, that's the, that's my, my way to go.

[01:00:36] Travis Bader: And I just couldn't get to the platform in time in order to get in front of the subway. And then I thought even shittier about myself. Cause I'm like, I can't even kill myself. I can't, I'm not even successful at that. And I got really hit a really deep low. And then I had the weekend exercise scheduled and I went on it thinking the army was the one kind of, you know, comfortable spot for me or like that.

[01:00:55] Travis Bader: It's where I thrived or like that. And I didn't even thrive on that weekend and I just broke down. So when I came forward and I, I, it all came out, I told the Sergeant, listen, I'm, I'm going to kill myself, man. Like I'm in, I'm in a horrible spot. All at that point within the unit, people started muckling onto me.

[01:01:14] Travis Bader: Officers started being like, okay, well, hold on, like, there's something wrong here. We need to, he needs some help. So they directed me in the right direction. I did get finally in back into the MIR, which I didn't want to go. Yeah. But luckily at that point, a new doctor, uh, you know, a new officer taken over and like that.

[01:01:31] Travis Bader: And it was a much better experience. They realized that I was suffering from something and I got some psychological care. And that's where my road to recovery started happening. The very first thing they said, and anybody out there right now going through this and going through in the, you think you're in the worst spot of your life or things like that, and it doesn't matter if it's caused by trauma or you're just having a shitty, shitty fucking week.

[01:01:53] Travis Bader: Yeah. Um, The first thing is always the same thing I tell everybody is you need sleep. Cause I guarantee your sleep, you're not sleeping. Your synapses are all screwed up. Your chemicals in your brain. Cause you're not sleeping. And, uh, how do you get sleep when you're not sleeping? Well, I, I, I, yeah, I was put on medication.

[01:02:12] Travis Bader: Sure. And I tell you, oh my God, that first, that first morning waking up, I slept 10 hours straight and waking up, I wouldn't say I was necessarily rested, but it was just. Whoa, night and day. Oh, completely. Yeah. That outlook and that perspective that you have, people say, oh, it looked better in the morning.

[01:02:33] Travis Bader: Right. And oftentimes it's just, you need that sleep, that regenerative, that rest process for you to have that, that different perspective. So that was the first step in the road to getting back to my recovery. Um, and starting to think straight again, or something like that. After the climb, um, I did, Troop, Troop, Troop Patriot, that's how I got involved with Wounded Warriors.

[01:02:58] Travis Bader: Somehow after the climb, I guess they saw something in me. I became kind of the media darling for the climb. So Troop Patriot Love offered me a, uh, looking back at it now, I'm like, I should negotiate better, but, uh, they offered me an unpaid internship to come in and work as a marketing intern. And that's when I got my very first taste of kind of doing stuff for veterans.

[01:03:21] Travis Bader: Seeing that there was a group out there, non government agency. Trying to, uh, help out Vetson and it was cool. I got handed a project working with Degree, the deodorant company and Tough Mudder. Cool. So I put together a team of Wounded Vets that was going to run Tough Mudder, but we didn't like, you know, yeah, the cross promotion was Degree.

[01:03:41] Travis Bader: That's where the very first Degree do more commercial came from or I think that in Canada, uh, you can find on YouTube. We did commercials for them. Um, which I thought was kind of cool. And it was my first kind of experience project managing that. And, uh, but then my, my time came up at TPL. They decided we're not going to offer you a full time position.

[01:04:00] Travis Bader: It was, you were, you were great for us, but you know, we're going in a different direction. Okay. No, no hard feelings or like that. Um, Oh, well, a little bit hard feelings to be honest with you. Cause I was like, yeah, come on. Like, like I, I'm a perfect for this next role, but, but then they'd kind of direct me to some other charities and that's when kind of wounded warriors started getting involved and they're like, we, We, you know, we've seen you, we've seen you at a couple of your talks you've done or things like that.

[01:04:26] Travis Bader: We like what you have to say. We like your message. And they brought me in initially as a volunteer coordinator for Ontario and that kind of blossomed into, well, you know, we need a new financial director. Would you be interested? At the time I was working at a bank. So they're like, man, you must know finances.

[01:04:43] Travis Bader: I was a mortgage analyst. I don't know how I even got that. To be honest, TD hired me. Um, Well, no, that's not true. I, I, I, I, at this point, I had enough experience in working with different charities that I learned that, you know, a lot of guys don't think as an infanteer, you have any skills to bring any job.

[01:05:02] Travis Bader: You actually have a huge amount of transferable skills. You just got to learn how to sell them. So I remember I was actually, I remember I was at the interview for TD bank. And I'm in a room, you know, waiting and there's all these people with master's degrees in finance and stuff like that. And I'm like, yeah, I got to call a certificate in, you know, firefighting.

[01:05:21] Travis Bader: Yeah. But I show up every day. I'm on time. That's true. But present well, I, so they said, name us a time and I'm like, oh, the interview is going okay, but I'm like, I don't really, I'm not really sure there's, they're, they're buying it, but I was told, okay, you gotta do something to set yourself apart. You gotta do something to set yourself apart.

[01:05:35] Travis Bader: How do you sell your skills? And then you went and then I got the name us a time. That you exemplified customer service under stress. And I'm like, got it. Got it. Okay. Let me tell you this time I was in, you know, the, the, I was in the Argandab going through a village and then like, they're like, what, the what and where?

[01:05:56] Travis Bader: Like, okay, I'm in Afghanistan and we're clearing a village and I come into, I come out of this. Now we didn't have a platoon with us. I literally had me and six guys and we're clearing a village, but this was completely. Okay. But it's what you had on hand or like that. So we're clearing this pocket of these, of like, you know, gray pots and stuff like that.

[01:06:13] Travis Bader: And I enter into a gray pot, uh, to clear it and I get an AK for a kid with an AK 47 on my face. Okay. Well, he's got the drop on me if he wants to shoot, but is he Taliban? Is he just a civilian? Like everyone has a gun over there. I think that I had all within my ROEs to shoot him. Sure. And instead I held my hand out,

[01:06:40] Travis Bader: managed to get him to put down his gun to me, you know, and sit there and just kind of talk and calm down. And then, so I could go about my way. So next thing you know, you know, he's, he's no longer my enemy. He's now my, he's now at least a non combatant. I didn't have to shoot a kid. I didn't have to kill anybody.

[01:07:02] Travis Bader: I sold NATO. Yeah. Tell me, uh, more, uh, better customer service under stress. Beat that everyone else. Right? I'm not, and they, and they hired me based on that interview. And I went, I went in as a mid level manager, not a manager, but a mid level position or like that, uh, within the bank. So anyway, Wounded Warriors was like, he knows finances.

[01:07:27] Travis Bader: Let's bring him over as a fundraising director. Like this offered me this role. And I was working with Wounded Warriors for a couple of years in that, in that role. At this point though, I was starting to feel that I went to all these different dinners, all these different events. And while I felt we were helping vets, I was It started feeling that my story was, was no longer becoming my story.

[01:07:49] Travis Bader: The one I've just told you, it's like that. It was now becoming the narrative of a charity. Yeah. And I started feeling that I wasn't really, I need to reclaim my, my, my tale. Cause it's mine. It's no one else's. And, uh, that's weirdly enough. And again, just the way fate works, I guess, or it's like that. Uh, I got involved with Stoeger Canada, but in not, but in the, in the sense that they want to get involved in helping vets.

[01:08:22] Travis Bader: So they were my client for a while. Really? Yeah. They, they were my client. Uh, I went and did a couple of trade shows with them. Yeah. Uh, but as the Wounded Warrior, like director and like that, so I would do some cross promotions with them and they'd be able to push Wounded Warriors and get people to sign up and donate and stuff like that.

[01:08:38] Travis Bader: And then I'd be there answering questions of the charity, but I was also really into firearms. I, I had my pal, I liked, you know, so I saw this, I'm like, this is a great opportunity to, to, to do this. And I was talking to a bunch of the sales reps and stuff like that, and then... When they would go off for lunch and do trade shows, I was the only one left sometimes in the booth.

[01:08:55] Travis Bader: Then I'd be like, guys would come up and I'd start regurgitating what I heard about the guns and learning about them. Anyway, the GM at the time saw that I was selling the guns and I'm like, he's like, you're selling guns better than you're selling your charity. I'm like, well, you know. I'm passionate about this right now.

[01:09:12] Travis Bader: Sorry. Sorry. You know, the director of the charity. I apologize in advance, but, uh, But yeah, I had to state that, you know, I was realized this is kind of a cool company, never thought a millionaire or anything would come of it. Just, it was a fun partner to work with. Um, and then unfortunately my predecessor at the, at the Stoger, uh, fell ill.

[01:09:32] Travis Bader: He was, uh. Yeah, he can tell his own story, but I'm not here to tell his, but he fell ill and it was deemed that he, he had, he could no longer work. So I got called into Stoeger, the Stoeger Can offices. I'm thinking, okay, they're either going to, they're either going to cut me a check or they want to talk about, you know, if there's something we can do to help out their, their manager.

[01:09:54] Travis Bader: So I'm sitting there with, uh, I'm with Spiros who's the, uh, now the, the GM of, uh, Norman Precision USA, but he was our GM at the time. And, uh, we're just kind of talking and we're kind of like, and I'm starting to see that, like the conversations kind of going towards, well, do you know anybody that would be good for this role?

[01:10:12] Travis Bader: They need to be this, this, this, this, this. And I'm like, that's all me. So I call them out. I said, just, I'm like, are you offering me a job? He's like, do you want a job? I'm like, hell yeah. And I'm like, if you offer to me right now, I will go back to my charity and I will quit today. Not that I didn't want to still work with veterans, but it's just, I need a change needed to happen.

[01:10:33] Travis Bader: Something had to change. Yes. He couldn't offer me a job right then and there, but he basically said, if the job, if you want the job, the job is yours. So a couple of weeks passed and we finally got the job off. I wasn't gonna do anything until I got a job offer and signed the contract. Um, but that was all done.

[01:10:47] Travis Bader: I handed my resignation in to. To Wounded Warriors, and I've been with Stoeger for eight years, almost eight years now, doing what I'm currently doing, which is, uh, military law enforcement. So working with, doing all the government contracting, working with the D and D to get them their new weapons systems, um, equipment, working with all law enforcement agencies in Canada, uh, helping out individual officers as well.

[01:11:13] Travis Bader: Yeah. You know, for, even though it's not necessarily, you know, military product, but if they need any of their hunting needs and stuff, we do that as well. Yeah, it's just, it's customer service. Yeah, that's what it is. And, you know, and for, you know, getting the contacts there, but, uh, it's just, you know, it, and then in the last couple of years, in a lot, well, the last year I've kind of really been thinking of getting back into the, in some capacity, veterans helping out vets.

[01:11:38] Travis Bader: Whether it's telling my story in some capacity, podcasts or something like that. I'm not sure I'm ready to start my own podcast yet, but in some regards of saying, you know, there is light out there, Afghanistan's over, but I'm sure there's guys still suffering from it, but now we've got a whole other group of people now deploying over to other areas, maybe not combat zones, but training accidents occur.

[01:12:01] Travis Bader: Finding ways to systemize the message and let people know. Be able to communicate what you know in a way that other people will hear at the widest possible scale. And I think that's something to sit down, think about and what, what makes the most sense for you. But I mean, even just talking on this podcast, you bring up a bunch of points of similarities.

[01:12:22] Travis Bader: People will have similarities. They might have different backgrounds, different life experiences, different tolerances, different, and different ways of interpreting things. You and I could be in the exact same situation, but just because of those differences, it affects us in completely different ways.

[01:12:38] Travis Bader: Having these conversations, uh, normalizes it. I think that's probably the biggest, most important part and something I really appreciate about you is being able to have that conversation without it being you. Right. I am not my PTSD. I am not my it's I'm not the, the cut I caught on my arm before that's healed up.

[01:13:01] Travis Bader: Right. Yeah. It sucked at the time, but it's healed. And now we're on there. And I think that's, uh, I, from my perspective, probably a massive value that you can provide to everyone else. I I'm hoping so. Um, you know, it's, it's. It sucks to say that I've lost almost as many friends overseas as I have that lost the battle at home.

[01:13:28] Travis Bader: Um, you know, we, we, yeah, guys died over, you know, on tours like that. I've been to enough RAM ceremonies in my time that I never want to have to go to another one again. Um, but I've done them since we've come home. And that's the number that absolutely kills me with like that. Is that, and I was almost one of them myself.

[01:13:46] Travis Bader: Well, I wanted to talk about that cause it's an interesting thing. And you said the Facebook post, would it be better if he just didn't come back or it would be better if he just didn't come back. And you said, yeah, they're right. Yeah. I should kill myself. And I think the disconnect that's very difficult for a lot of people to see when they lack the sleep, when they're lacking the direction, when they're lacking, maybe their substances, maybe they're not eating right when they're exercising, right.

[01:14:18] Travis Bader: All, all of these different things that come into it is that. Logically, maybe they were right. Maybe there was a part of you that shouldn't be coming back. You need to change and it doesn't have to be a physical death. It can be a spiritual death or a, right. There's a part of you that that's not right.

[01:14:38] Travis Bader: That needs to change and it can die as you don't run away, but you run towards something more desirable. And I think that's the hard part that a lot of people. Uh, perhaps get stuck up on when they're lacking all that sleep and not thinking, right. It's like, okay, logically, yeah, there's something that's not right.

[01:14:56] Travis Bader: Okay. It needs to stop. How do I stop it? Yeah. Yeah. And you know, it's, and especially after everything we've gone through, just as a, not just the military, but everyone, everyone has gone through over the last three years, whatever, however long it's been. I think there's a little more understanding of, you know, what mental health.

[01:15:16] Travis Bader: Not is, but maybe what more, what mental health is not right. Um, everyone's stressed. I, I I've, I've, I've talked to a couple of groups since the pandemic and I'm just like, I, I, I about three or four times a year, I, I guess, lecture at Centennial college in Toronto to the, of all people, to the RMT students, um, to explain them what, what, you know, sometimes what mental, what military combat trauma can do.

[01:15:43] Travis Bader: Not to just a military member, but similar experiences amongst first responders, police, firefighters, these are some of your clients you're going to get and how typically, um, I'll register with a massage therapist. That's going to be, you're going to be the first gateway to their therapy. They won't go see a therapist because I'm not weak.

[01:16:03] Travis Bader: I'm not going to go talk to someone. Right. They won't go, you know, to anyone, they'll do a doctor, but I'll go for a massage. Sure. Because that's, that's true. That's not the weird about that or like that. Right. Young, attractive girl over at, you know, like, like, like, like, of course, why not? When I could do that, you're going to be the very first point of contact and the body holds trauma.

[01:16:20] Travis Bader: That's a good point. The very first time I went for a massage, again, it, I, I, I, I teared up because they want to start working on my hip. So I've heard this time again, the body holds trauma. What does that mean? How does that happen? I, you know, I can't have explained how it happens exactly. I'm not, I don't have enough medical knowledge to explain it.

[01:16:41] Travis Bader: What I can say is that literally in something within your muscles or anything like that, it holds almost memories of that trauma that occurred in that incident or anything like that. Sometimes when you, like, I know when I wake up on a cold morning, every injury I've had to my, all 15 years of infantry to my experience with my knees.

[01:16:59] Travis Bader: My, you know, hamstring tears I've had, stuff like that. Oh, I feel every single one of those. Yeah. That's different type of trauma, but it's still there. That's the easiest. But think about that is you've suffered a major physical injury, you've recovered, but there's mental impact that things that have happened there, your brain is no different from your heart or any other muscle with it.

[01:17:18] Travis Bader: It's still sending out, you know, chemicals and all working together. And that somehow cast, you know, where you had that trauma, it stays there, like that. And sometimes when you go for a massage and I'm saying this to anyone that's going through this or like that the very first time you go, don't be surprised if you have a real emotional reaction because it's, and I tell that to the RMT students as well as don't be surprised if they have an emotional reaction to you, you know, touching them doing your work.

[01:17:49] Travis Bader: Um, because it very likely will happen. Also, I was always tell them, build your, you know, build your, your inner circle of trusted, you know, uh, medical professionals with you, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, because you being their first point of contact, they, they trust you, especially if they come into you for a long time, they trust you.

[01:18:12] Travis Bader: Now I also tell RMT students. It's probably going to be your best client you've ever had. Cause they're going to come to you for life if they trust you. They're like, yeah, I'm going to go to them. I was like that. Um, so you've got a lifelong client there. That's good for you. That's good for your business.

[01:18:26] Travis Bader: But, uh, but you only can treat so much when it's like that. Right. And you don't want to take on that, that trauma either. It's like that. But, uh, so build that client, build up that professional network because there might be a time when you say, Hey, like, you know, I've, I might know someone you want to talk to.

[01:18:42] Travis Bader: And normalizing the, and having the right words to express it makes it a lot easier. Absolutely. Right. If someone had told me, you know, I, the very first therapy I ever had in that four year stint, when, when the army wasn't looking after me was the only therapy I had was RMT. Cause I had a friend that was an RMT, uh, that owned an RMT clinic and she was willing to treat me for free.

[01:19:06] Travis Bader: Perfect. That was it. You know, I was going to get that. I got lucky enough that I had that. Sure. But. So it's building up that support base or it's like that, um, building up both for the, the practitioner, but also for nor, I just said, normalizing it for the actual soldier themselves. Normally I'm asking for the, for their first responder.

[01:19:25] Travis Bader: No, I said for the everyday person, because everyone's going through stress. Sure. I said, when I taught the RMT students since the pandemic, I'm just like, okay, who's stressed out here? No one puts up their hand. I'm like, okay, BS guys, come on. We just went through a global pandemic. The whole world shut down.

[01:19:42] Travis Bader: Everyone here should have their hands up that you guys are stressed out. If anyone who's not, I seriously want to know one, your trick and two, you're a psychopath, dude. Like you don't feel things. Yeah. So, but I tell them. It's nothing wrong with that. You've just joined the rest of our community of stressed out PTSD stricken first responders and soldiers.

[01:20:07] Travis Bader: We've been dealing with this for 10, 15 years. So there's, I think DSM four. Uh, it says, uh, PTSD needs a life threatening trigger to be, I think DSM five says CPTSD or complex PSD, PTSD. Did they remove that life threatening thing? I, I, I don't know. Um, but yeah, I mean, there there's, uh, I mean, mine was definitely.

[01:20:35] Travis Bader: There was definitely a life threatening element to mine. Uh, I, I, I, I, my heart did stop on the helicopter ride back to CAF from the injury incident or like that. I had to be, I had to be brought, brought back and stuff like that. Again, no memory of it. But being in a coma for three weeks, you have a life threatening injury.

[01:20:51] Travis Bader: I think that your brain's basically telling your organs are shut down. I think, I think a lot of people, but there was a chocolate bar guy. Did we talk about today? Uh, you know what? No, but on the other podcast, you did or something like that. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, yeah, that's right. Nathan and I talked about the chocolate bar guy, the guy who goes into for people who haven't listened to that one.

[01:21:11] Travis Bader: Um, Ordinary individual, this guy's not a soldier. He's not a first responder goes into his corner store, buys a chocolate bar, uh, starts eating it, gets halfway through and it's full of maggots and he goes back, guys like, I'll give you another bar, give you a refund, whatever it is, day's over. I mean. All right.

[01:21:30] Travis Bader: So he eats some maggots, right? Yeah. That's most people would look at it like that. But then he stops, he thinks everyone's laughing at him. He thinks everyone's going to be talking about the maggot eater. Doesn't want to go to his, I guess he's involved with the church. Doesn't want to go to the church group because he figures or starts avoiding things.

[01:21:45] Travis Bader: He starts having reoccurring thoughts. He starts and all of these typical PTSD type, uh, symptoms from eating a chocolate bar with maggots in it. So when you're talking about everyone's stressed, everyone's got something. I think that there is a value to people understanding that whether or not they meet a clinical definition or not in some book that a guy made, if they're seeing these sort of things that they're going through, there is a path forward that they can take that others have taken that's proven successful.

[01:22:17] Travis Bader: And I think you raised an excellent point there. And I think one of the things that needs to be said, and I mean, ask any, you know, Any, especially, but if you guys ask any veteran out there, it's like that there is no community that is harder on ourselves than our community. And you were going to find, and it happened to me where I, I came forward with my injury, even years after I came forward with my injury, with my, my, you know, problem system like that, where I was told, you know, what's wrong with you?

[01:22:47] Travis Bader: Just suck it up. But what, what, what is your problem? Or it's like that really like. So and so's got it worse. So I've done it. You know, like, Oh, well, and, and there's, we're always comparing tours. It's like, Oh, well, you went to it. I, I remember I spoke at a, uh, at a, uh, charitable bike, bike, like motorcycle, like motorcycle rally or something like that.

[01:23:04] Travis Bader: And all these were, it was one of the veterans motorcycle groups. And I didn't know too much about them, but I was like, yeah, they asked me to come out and talk to them. I'm like, absolutely. I'll, I'll, I'll talk to you before you kick off your ride. And I was told, tell your story. Okay. So I told my story.

[01:23:19] Travis Bader: That's what I just told you. It was about Afghanistan. And later I got a seething, angry email from the organizer, from the, of the president of the riding company saying, you didn't want to talk about Bosnia, all these guys that serve in Bosnia and Kosovo and Rwanda. Sure. I'm like, okay. Was I supposed to, but absolutely.

[01:23:41] Travis Bader: Why did you not talk about that? I wasn't there. Be hard for you to talk about. I was in grade school when you guys deployed there. Like I was still, you know, I was eight years old when you deployed into Bosnia or Rwanda, my war was Afghanistan. Well, that wasn't a real war. Okay. Here we go. So this whole thing starts to, we are horrible to ourselves, to each other and like that.

[01:24:02] Travis Bader: And that leads, I think, to the same thing. This guy at the chocolate, you start getting feelings of, well, I don't have it that bad. Right. People are going to laugh at me if I come forward. And I'm really worried about this next generation of soldiers deploying because they're deploying to places like Latvia, Jordan.

[01:24:16] Travis Bader: Poland, UK to train the Ukrainians and for, and to do operation, impact of mop up operations in Iraq. Who knows if we're going to be involved in the middle east in some regard with what's going on there. Africa probably the, if we have any troops left and I think we have some troops in Africa, but especially in like the Western African regions, that's the closest thing you have to putting troops in an area where there's an open conflict where Canadians could actually get shot at.

[01:24:41] Travis Bader: So now you have all these Afghan vets and ones that are still left over, but the ones that are now gone out that are, are we going to treat the, the guys that are deploying to Latvia as somehow their tour was less than ours, because we got shot at and they're just training the Ukrainians that are going to go off to war.

[01:24:58] Travis Bader: It's not, it's an unfair comparison. Sure. If, if a soldier gets. It'll happen. Oh, absolutely. I know, I know, I know it will. But a soldier gets hurt in training. Why is it any different from the fact that I got hurt on a combat patrol in Afghanistan? And I wasn't injured due to combat action. I don't have a sacrifice medal because I don't qualify for it.

[01:25:19] Travis Bader: That hurt, that, that bugged me for a long time. Sure. I can see that. Right. Not that I wanted an extra piece of bling on my chest, you know, do, but you know, that's not, we, we, we, We, we, we measure ourselves with the amount of medals you got or things like that. It's not a fair comparison. Uh, but it's the fact that, you know, you, you have guys now deploying in non combat roles, but they do a very, very serious, important job.

[01:25:44] Travis Bader: They're away from home for months on end. They've left their families. Training incidents, training accidents are just as deadly as combat related incidents or things like that. And. I don't, you know, I really hope that any of these guys could come back where if they were involved in a serious training accident, where they got hurt, it doesn't diminish at all what they're going through either physically or mentally, the fact, and I've heard it from other, even today, I've heard it from people when I said, well, I got hurt in Afghanistan.

[01:26:10] Travis Bader: My story was being told to a group of vets and they got hurt in a training accident in Canada and they're like, yeah, but like my injury is not as, it's not as, it's not as severe as yours. Why? Well, because it didn't occur on tour. What, what does that matter? It doesn't you lost a leg, you know, I'm, I'm still intact or like, you know, like, like you've had, you actually have severe, you have more severe injuries than I do, but it doesn't matter what, what, you know, like the fact of the matter is, is that you were injured in your line of service, same thing as a cop, you know, you were injured.

[01:26:44] Travis Bader: I talked to tons of cops are like, yeah, but you were injured in Afghanistan, man. That's like serious stuff. Dude, you got shot by, by some gang banger or you got the crap beat out of you by a bunch of, you know, drug, you know, like drug guys or like that, when you were, you know, had to go in alone or like that, um, you know, it, it really, why are we comparing this?

[01:27:06] Travis Bader: I think that's a massive point, right? Like people should be, I've got a couple of, and I'm going to just ADHD diverge here just a little bit, a couple of questions about things we talked about earlier, which is, um,

[01:27:25] Travis Bader: Uh, supplying arms and equipment to the military, different armies. But you were saying it's kind of like a brotherhood working with the competitors as well out there. Yeah. I guess I should probably talk about job here, since that's what I'm really here to do. Uh, Believe it or not, I do work for Breda, uh, despite everything I've said.

[01:27:45] Travis Bader: Yeah. Um, so yeah, so, uh, just like the army is in Canada is fairly small. The defense industry is even smaller. Yeah. There's only, you know, a couple, you know, there's only so many players in the, in the, in the game or anything like that, uh, we're one of them. And, uh, so, you know, the Canadian army only puts out so many, you know, Uh, tenders a year, you know, for especially, particularly for firearms, you know, it's a, it's a hard, you know, it's not always everyone's competing for the same thing or like that.

[01:28:19] Travis Bader: Uh, you know, last year, back in 2020, we won the sniper rifle contract or something like that. And it was a big win for us. It was great, but we were competing against, you know, three other bidders and like that. And we had a bit, we had outbid them. A lot of people think that that would may lead to an environment of extreme competitiveness and well, like, I don't like that guy or animosity and animosity and just don't talk to him or anything like that.

[01:28:42] Travis Bader: But it, it is, as I said, as you said, it really kind of is a bit of a brotherhood in its own right. Um, I'm going to, uh, later, well, actually we have, so we have a range day tomorrow, uh, at the Range Langley, uh, here in BC. It's one of our, it's our first ever BDT range day we're running. Uh, so I got, got to promote that.

[01:29:01] Travis Bader: Yeah. Uh, all military law enforcement are allowed to come out. It's a free event. What's it going to look like? We're going to wait and see, uh, really happy to arrange Langley came out and support us on that. I should plug this after it's like that, but get back to the point. But, uh, but then there's OPEX West operator expo West happening in Burnaby and my fellow

[01:29:26] Travis Bader: We're all promoting, you know, our, our goods. We're all competing for the Slack same, you know, maybe five tenders that are out there or something like that. And, uh, we also are all probably going to meet up after the show and go out for beers. Amazing. Like, you know, I, we, we actually let each other know when tenders come out.

[01:29:46] Travis Bader: Awesome. Like I don't have to notify. That's kind of unheard of. That's unheard of in other industries. Like I, even especially also if like it's happened where I'm like, I don't have necessarily a product that I think could compete on this tender, but I know someone that will, I will send them that tender, even though technically.

[01:30:04] Travis Bader: I could be like, well, I sent that to you. So you owe me a finder's fee or anything like that. Or I'll, I'll find, or I could find a product that was a bid it's I'd rather send them off to somebody else. That's good business. In my opinion, I've never been a fan of the, the finder's fee, the referral fee, the, cause you're always going to question the, um.

[01:30:22] Travis Bader: The motivation behind it afterwards. And I truly believe, you know, people say, you know, business isn't personal. I disagree. I think business is based on personal relationships, which require trust, which are built over time and all business is personal. You make pragmatic decisions within that. You got to respect the personal.

[01:30:41] Travis Bader: Well, and we just said their business, you know, isn't person business is extremely personal for me. Right. I was an operator. I was a door kicker. I was the guy I'm, I was the guy that was, that we're trying to get these, this equipment to, and I've told, you know, all my clients that, If you pick, you know, if you put out a tender or you're, you're looking, you're interested in a product, if you pick my product, great.

[01:31:02] Travis Bader: It's great for my bottom line. Sure. We, you know, it keeps the lights on our shop. It keeps me employed. That's important to me. Um, you know, life's not cheap right now. I was like that, you know, uh, but, uh, and neither is, oh, neither is daycare or God like another mortgage payment in itself, but, uh, but at the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to make sure you have the best product.

[01:31:28] Travis Bader: If that's not my product and one of my competitors, I'm ha I'm fine with that. I would rather you have the best gear and the best equipment you, you could possibly have. Um, and I really, really, so I really hope it's mine. You will try to make that work or like that. But if I really truly feel that it's not, or it's just not going to work or just ends up not working out, but you feel you got the best equipment possible.

[01:31:52] Travis Bader: And last thing I want is an operator fielding a piece of equipment that ends up failing and, you know, puts them in jeopardy or like that. And I think we all, all within the industry, we feel the same way or like that more or less. We, we want. That's a group of people who are playing the long game. The short game is how do I make my buck?

[01:32:08] Travis Bader: Can I make it now? And I'm gone. The long game is based on that level of integrity in those relationships. Well, and anyone who can tell you that's in government procurement, it's, it's a long game, whether you like it or not, it took 40 years for them to design, to get a new pistol that replaced the Brownings.

[01:32:23] Travis Bader: Right. So it, you're in this for the long haul. We've had an exceptionally busy time. Uh, and we've been luckily very successful over the last couple of years in tenders, but, um, it's not uncommon that you, you could have, you could go your entire 30 year career and only. Really have maybe three or four programs at the federal level come out.

[01:32:43] Travis Bader: If somebody wanted to get into this line of work, is that a, uh, a difficult thing for them? Um, cause there's not too many openings. I would think. There's not, no. Um, I think. Unfortunately they're, they're, you know, there's, there's not that many openings out there. There's, you know, there is opportunities that always arise, but generally, yeah, when you, when you get into the, you know, I've been lucky enough, the way I did get into it or like that and the way and, and get, you know, be involved in this trade, you don't typically leave it unless you really want to, unless you just can't, you know, you are, it's a, it's a good position to be in or like that.

[01:33:16] Travis Bader: Sure. But, you know, there's always, you know, To anyone, to, you know, ex military or currently serving military that's thinking of getting out there and like that, uh, Police and stuff like that. I don't know why you would leave your police job, to be honest with you, cause it's a pretty sweet job, but maybe, you know, but maybe they want to do fire.

[01:33:34] Travis Bader: Maybe they want to do, Oh, wow. Well, you know, I, I, I, I will admit, and they, you know, like adversity, I was trained as a firefighter and a fire protection engineer. So, you know, I tell that to some of my cop and my police clients and they're like, uh, yeah, I don't think you can, uh, I'm like, well, I'm not working on it now.

[01:33:53] Travis Bader: But, uh, but yeah, anyone is, uh, you know, I, I get all asked all the time by, you know, by a lot of military guys. Oh, well, are you, are you hiring? No, we're not. It doesn't mean we're never not never gonna, but you need a particular set of skills. You need to be able to, you know, have just me, haven't just been a door kicker or just being an infantry or just being more in uniform.

[01:34:14] Travis Bader: Unfortunately, isn't enough. Sure. You also have to have some sort of skills in sales. Yeah. You have to have a personality. Yeah. Um, You have to have the ability to actually sell yourself or anything like that. You can, if you can sell yourself, you can sell anything else. That's what most salespeople are.

[01:34:31] Travis Bader: Their first and foremost job is to sell themselves. I'm selling myself to these agencies. I might ask, I want them to come back to me and talk to me. It's not, you know, the product is an afterthought or something like that. I want them to know that I'm there to help them out, that if they call me up at, you know, that they can trust you.

[01:34:46] Travis Bader: If they call me up at three o'clock in the morning and say, Hey, this, you know, we need something right now with Light Deck. Can you help us out? Yeah, but I will do, I will do it for you or something like that, because that's what, you know, uh, I would expect that myself or like that, because I've been on the, I've been on the front line.

[01:35:00] Travis Bader: I've been on, I've in the field where gear fails, gear will fail no matter how good it is. And you want to have a solution right then and there, you can't afford to not, right. So, uh, But yeah, so the whole industry is a bit of a brotherhood or something like that. We all kind of, you know, we, we, we're all in competition with each other.

[01:35:18] Travis Bader: As I said, we all do get along and, uh, that relationship amongst that is just, it's just as important to me as, is building relations with governments, with agencies, with, uh, anything along those lines. Cause without that, you know, sometimes you gotta work together on a contract. You don't have a choice in the matter.

[01:35:39] Travis Bader: When we did the C 19 ranger rifle program, TICA, we were, I mean, it's an interesting project manager position for me. It was when the, when I first got into Stougard, that was, I was handed that project. You're like, this is yours to manage now. So I'm managing it between the government of Canada, ourselves, our manufacturer TICA and Colt Canada, cause Colt Canada, the contracts with Canada, but it has to go through the MSP partner, Colt Canada.

[01:36:00] Travis Bader: So we're supplying them all the parts. They're assembling it. They're putting the rifle together. Then we're getting the D and D. I'm managing all the different things together. I'm making sure everyone plays nice in the sandbox. And it's not, it doesn't always work out well. Just like, you know, just like, you know, brothers are going to, are going to fight or something.

[01:36:19] Travis Bader: Right. But, uh, you kind of got to, that's what you got to do. And the unique position of being Brett, of working with Brett is that we are, um, still family owned. We have been for 15 generations. So it's still a Brett, a brother that's running the company. That's crazy. That's nuts. But, uh, and they buy the, they buy companies to bring them into the fold.

[01:36:42] Travis Bader: So like take a sack. Oh, you know, Steiner said like they, they buy them out. Right. It's not like we're working under a. Contracts where it could, the contract could end up, you know, expiring. So we can offer that kind of, you know, experience within the, uh, the fantasy industry is that, you know, and it came up with a sniper rifle is that, you know, we offered the, we won the contract for the rifle.

[01:37:04] Travis Bader: Then we go on to the contract for the scope, cause it's all within the same company. Then we won the contract for the ammo. Right. Cause we have an manufacturer as well. So we can provide that full package, different three tenders and we all had to bid on separately, but.

[01:37:21] Travis Bader: It gives us, I'd say there's definitely an advantage there and it's nice. The fact we, we don't have shareholders, we have to answer it too. We're answering to one guy. That's crazy. Um, it's a unique, I think in this world to have that type of thing happen. Um, and we, we can't just be like, you know, the shareholders will be like, we don't want to get in the, we want, we don't want to be in the firearms business anymore.

[01:37:42] Travis Bader: We're getting out. This is the next thing, you know, your company's, you know, It's been sucked out of, you know, of all the assets you had. I don't think bread is getting out of the fireman's restraints anytime soon. They've been in it for 500 years. Yeah. I don't see it either. So, uh, um, and there's a lot of investment there in that regard.

[01:38:00] Travis Bader: So, uh, I, you know, I, we're, we're, we're going to go, we're, we're still going strong in it. And, uh, yeah, As I said, um, it's, it really was a unique experience for me to come in at the level I did into this industry. I had, you know, some work before I was a range safety officers and stuff like that, certain indoor ranges, but then to jump right into the role I had because of the skill sets I had was something really unique.

[01:38:25] Travis Bader: Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. Yeah. And it, it really worked out well. Um, I just happened to also live in the exact same town that the office is in. So that worked out well as local. And, uh, You know, and I would, you know, I wouldn't change anything for it. I think I, I, it's really interesting having been an operator, been, you know, an infantier.

[01:38:49] Travis Bader: Um, when I say operate, I want to make it clear. It was never special forces. I just say operator because it's the, the. I guess the funky term now, or something like that. That was, that was the infantry soldier. Uh, yeah. I'm not trying to sound cooler than, you know, it is or anything like that. I'm not trying to, you know, those people out there are going to fat check it.

[01:39:04] Travis Bader: Oh, he was never a Seesawer. Yeah, I never was. I'm not trying to say that I was. Um, but what's cool is I get to work with them. Yeah. So something I could never do within the army. Yeah. You're still able to. Now I get to work with them and train with them and equip them and, but also be able to equip, you know.

[01:39:24] Travis Bader: Regular soldiers, regular, you know, army guys see the, see that it's been a huge pride of me, uh, that I was involved in that sniper C 21, uh, program that I don't know if I had a lasting effect when I was in uniform on anybody other than some soldiers I trained and maybe on my, on my unit itself, I am in my unit's history books.

[01:39:44] Travis Bader: Like Claire, I carried my Royal, you know, my, my Royal Regiment of Canada. I carried their flag up into the Nepal. It's been up above the clouds, 22, 000 feet. That's cool. I'm in their history book. But other than that, it was, you know, I'm not sure what impact I had within the army. Sure. But I know now that I'm no longer in the uniform, but I'm doing what I'm doing now, that I had an impact in the army.

[01:40:04] Travis Bader: They got a new sniper rifle because of the work we did and what I did. And that, you know. Whether they have it for five years, 10 years, 30 years, the fact is they got a new weapon platform and it's, my name is on it. And that's no simple feat, like you mentioned with the, uh, Browning Hi Power, it's no simple feat.

[01:40:22] Travis Bader: No, that program started long before I was in the company. Yeah. Um. But you got your fingerprints on it. Yeah. And we, I was the one that put the bid in that, that took it from, you know, RFI to RFP. It, you know, I was involved with for four years until we finally delivered the very first rifle to Canada and, uh, There's something I can always, no matter what I do in my life, there's something I can say is I did something greater than, you know, the, the small pieces I did in the army or like that, not dismissing me, not diminishing my service, but it's just.

[01:40:53] Travis Bader: Well, you're doing something right now as well, and whether you see it or not, and I'm pretty sure you see it, but you're doing something right now and just what you're sharing by sharing your story in the path that you're taking with your physical and mental health that other people look at. And it'll make an impact.

[01:41:09] Travis Bader: I'm always surprised at people who come up to me and say, thank you so much. Just the other day, I was at a remembrance day ceremony and one guy looks over and sees my hat I'm wearing and he's like, well, I've done level one, level two courses with you guys so far. Oh, that's, thank you. Another guy comes up as I'm leaving and says, you don't know me, this is my name.

[01:41:28] Travis Bader: I really want to thank you so much for the guests that you had on. It really made a big difference to me. Yeah. And, um. I know for a fact that the story that you've shared is going to have the same, whether we hear back on it or not. I appreciate that. And I, I also, you know, want to make it just going back to the, the mental health side of it, like that one, make it clear that like I'm doing much better than I did back in 2012, 20, 2000, you know, from the injury now it, it, it's not.

[01:41:59] Travis Bader: It never goes away though it's, it's, it's, it's weird. It's ugly head. Sure. You manage it. Yeah, you manage it. I, I was told for a while there, I was like, Oh, like, it's almost like a cancer treatment, you're, you're in remission right now. You're doing good. You're, I was able to go into public to the mall. I wasn't having the triggers I was having, um, last, you know, a little while.

[01:42:18] Travis Bader: I thought that kind of, you know, in the last year, since my son turned one and he's about to turn two now, I thought that, Life changes or anything like that. There's stresses now or anything like that, that weren't there. And something was kind of triggering a little bit of it. And I found myself getting going, going, going bound the path again of mental, like I'm not doing so good or like that.

[01:42:36] Travis Bader: Right. And so it's a constant management of it. It's going to be a balance. It's a constant fight. And so, but I had the tools now to recognize what's going on. I'm like, I'm not doing well. I know now I have a partner in life that I can talk to. She, you know, she's, she's awesome. She's with me. She's been with me through a lot of the recovery process and all like that.

[01:42:59] Travis Bader: So I'm, I now know that it'd be like, Hey, I'm not doing so good and I need to tell you to talk about it or I need to be left alone for a little while. Being able to recognize that is massive and knowing that, okay, I've come this far. I recognize that it's never too late to stop, regroup and pick a new direction.

[01:43:18] Travis Bader: That's right. Cause so many people, well, and for a penny and for a pound, I'm already going down this road. I'm here. I'm going to hammer on through, you know, like push through the objective or like that. And sometimes you gotta be like, well, well, hold on, you're, you can't always do that across the board.

[01:43:30] Travis Bader: And if you do the consequences of doing that may be more than you're.

[01:43:37] Travis Bader: Um, and I've seen it, you know, why do you think divorce rates are so high amongst, uh, service members and why you think suicide rates are so high amongst men is that you can't, sometimes pushing the objective is maybe just not, that'd be the best decision for you. Taking the second to be like, hold on, what is going on here in my bed?

[01:43:57] Travis Bader: And do I need some help? Get that holistic look. Yeah. Well, I'm looking at the time and I'm looking out the, uh, the door here. I think there's a couple of faces that are waiting on us. Is there anything else we should say before we wrap up? Uh, again, just plug in, uh, the BDT range day tomorrow, uh, at Range Langley.

[01:44:12] Travis Bader: Uh, we hope. You know, any serving retired military law enforcement, first responder, uh, is a lot, you know, we want you to come out, it's a free event or things like that. You come out, you shoot a bunch of our guns, it's free ammo, there'll be free food there, and we're just, we want you to come out and have a good day.

[01:44:29] Travis Bader: Um, thank you for range Langley to, uh, putting on the green to put on the event for us, all their staff and Andrew, uh, Taff there like that. That's one to support us. Um, and honestly, I just want to say thank you to yourself and having me on this is, uh, this is my first experience really kind of on a podcast.

[01:44:44] Travis Bader: It's been honestly a great one. Oh, you're a natural. Uh, I, I, I appreciate that. You can have your own show. I can see it already. I don't know about that, but, uh, Yeah. Can I get past daycare first and then maybe you can afford some of this equipment, but, uh, But no, it's, it's been a, it's been a really, really good, uh, experience.

[01:45:01] Travis Bader: Um, you're, you're a great interviewer, like that. You kind of just let us kind of talk or like that. And it's, uh, there's therapy in that in itself. I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the podcast.