Rob suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving with his Oregon Army National Guard infantry unit in Iraq. Upon his return to the United States, he was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The diagnoses qualified him for full disability but left him feeling useless.
“I kind of shut myself away. I didn’t feel like I mattered to society anymore.”
Rob found purpose again when he started volunteering at Daily Bread, his local food pantry, where his family also gets a food box.
“I just kind of fell in love with it. Being at the pantry I felt like I could be around people and function properly. Big word there — function. It boosted my self-esteem. Many of the people we serve have some form of disability. I see other vets there. I can relate to them. I see that I’m not alone.
It’s all worth it when that one person comes through who’s really hurting and they give you a hug saying ‘you helped me so much.’ The look of relief and hope I see on people’s faces when they get to feed their families for at least another week — sometimes it brings them to tears.”