Veterans Share What Inspires Them on 'To War and Back'

July 25, 2019

(Connecting Vets) - On the sixth and final episode of “To War and Back,” Marine Corps veterans Scott Huesing and Kirstie Ennis share their sources of inspiration, and Army veteran Boone Cutler shares a tool he created for veterans battling depression.

The podcast is a RADIO.COM original, created in partnership with Connecting Vets and hosted by journalist and Navy veteran Phil Briggs.

The episode begins in Southern California, riding along with Huesing to a charity event. Huesing is headed to meet with Nick Velez, a Marine he served with in Ramadi, Iraq.  Velez, founder of the restaurant, “Bastard’s Cantina," describes how the leadership of Marines like Huesing helped him build a successful business after getting out of the Marine Corps. 

It was the charity they co-founded, “Save The Brave,” that truly changed their lives and the lives of fellow combat vets. The organization, formed after the suicide of one of their Marine Corps brothers, helps veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress through chartered fishing trips off of the California coast. 

He says of the excursions, “If these veterans want to talk, they talk. If they don't, they fish, and there is no pressure, or there is no screwing around on your cellphone. You are truly unplugged...and like we say, that's where the healing begins. It sounds so cliche, but it does. It's soul food for you because you are surrounded by people who understand what you have been through.”

Just as Huesing has made helping vets his life’s work, Army veteran Boone Cutler is also on a powerful mission to help his fellow warfighters. Cutler created “The Spartan Pledge," urging veterans not to take their own life. Instead, they are encouraged to contact a fellow warfighter if they find themselves dealing with thoughts of suicide. The pledge has been taken by thousands of veterans nationwide.

But Cutler’s path is rarely clear. During a short visit to the Middle East, he took a few days off from his daily CBD and marijuana regiment. In that short amount of time, he developed a deadly heart condition. 

As his health deteriorated, he faced a choice: either travel out of the country for a rare stem cell procedure, or risk his heart giving out on him. “The word 'miraculous' is used too many times and inappropriately on this planet. What I have been through can only be described as miraculous, and I'm alive again...You are never out of the fight and I think that is my job here,” says Cutler.

For Marine Corps veteran Kirstie Ennis, rehabilitation from both her physical and mental injuries tested her will to live. But in this final episode, she describes how she founded The Kirstie Ennis Foundation to help all veterans who may be struggling to find solace in the great outdoors. 

“My main goal is I want to see more veterans outside,” explains Ennis. “I think we all too often overlook the things that we need that are right in front of us.  We stare at our screen, or take the magic little happy pill instead of getting outside.”

For all of our veterans, the energy from their life-changing transformations is being channeled into the following organizations:

Save The Brave

The Spartan Pledge

The Kirstie Ennis Foundation

You can find “To War and Back” on the RADIO.COM app and everywhere you get podcasts.

Follow Phil Briggs @philbriggsVet