Last month at our first film workshop for veterans at Fort Hood, I had the pleasure of working with a small, cohesive group of amazing soldiers, who produced six incredible films. I want to share the story of one of those soldiers: Captain Tony Martinez. The challenges he faced in the service of his country were severe, but the way he has faced them is truly inspirational.
A West Point graduate (2004) and rising star in the officer ranks, Martinez was diagnosed with PTSD after his second deployment to Iraq. Not sleeping at night and barely keeping it together during the day, Martinez gravely doubted his ability to continue to lead. Yet he was assigned to lead a company in Afghanistan in early 2011. Before shipping off, he threatened to kill himself, and also wrote a formal memo detailing who should take over the company in the event he had a mental breakdown while in Afghanistan. In his own opinion, Martinez never should have been redeployed, and yet as a result, his condition deteriorated further, and he ultimately faced general discharge. Please take a few moments to read more about Martinez in the two-part article called An Officer on the Brink, in Stars and Stripes Magazine, at www.stripes.com/go/captain.
But don’t give up just yet on Captain Martinez – his story is far from over. In spite of the challenges he faced, Martinez fought for recognition and help both within and outside of the Army. As a result he was able to secure a disability rating from the Army and the VA, and is continuing his education to get his MBA at Texas A&M.
It was a true pleasure to work with Tony at Fort Hood. In his words, “Our film workshop gave me an outlet to relate with others and to be creative once again…a feeling I have not had in quite a long time.” If you have the chance to watch his film, Library of Self, you’ll see that creativity first hand. Click HERE to watch the film he made with two other talented veteran-filmmakers at our workshop.
Wishing Tony all the best and looking forward to seeing him the next time we’re at Fort Hood.