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Veteran Stories

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Jay Lytsell

Jay is proud that he comes from a long line of military veterans. His grandfather was in WWII, his father in Vietnam, his brother in the Army, and two uncles served in the Navy. Jay tried college after high school but found it difficult trying to work to support himself and pay for school at the same time. When he received a call from a recruiter with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1989, he knew, based on his family history, it was a good option, so he enlisted.

Basic Training for Jay was at Parris Island, SC, and his Artillery Training was at Fort Sill, OK. He spent time in the Mediterranean, served in Desert Storm, and served off the coast of Africa during the Liberia evacuation in 1990. He was later sent to Camp Lejeune, NC, and was honorably discharged in 1993. He headed back to his home in Ohio, where he had a new baby waiting for him.

Jay was drawn to North Carolina, where he spent time during his service as a Marine. So, in 1997, he left Ohio and moved to there. He missed the military and in 2006, he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard. He deployed to Iraq in 2009. Jay found his time in Iraq to be completely different from his previous military experiences. Although Jay experienced trauma during Desert Storm, he was able to adjust to civilian life much easier than when he returned from Iraq. Iraq was a constant reminder of many things he experienced as a Marine, and the horrors he was faced with during Desert Storm kept returning. “It just got worse in Iraq, “ admits Jay. “It still bothers me to see the hopelessness and despair on the faces of the Iraqi people. To this day, I cannot get them out of my mind.”

Jay was honorably discharged from Army active duty in 2010. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress and Plantar Facialtis. Jay admits his transition back into civilian life has been a struggle. At first, it was difficult to leave his house. “Every time I think I finally recognize all the triggers, a new one assaults me,” he admits. “It is a hard way to live.”

Life is getting better for Jay. “I have an amazing wife who understands that she doesn’t understand me! I am not sure why she has stayed with me,” he says, “But I truly appreciate her.” There is enthusiasm in his voice when speaking about their grandson that stays with them every other week. The little guy has brought a new excitement to his life.

The Lytsell’s roof has been leaking for a while due to a faulty and unfinished installation. Purple Heart Homes is helping to provide a new roof for Jay and his wife, Maureen. ”Purple Heart Homes is a port in the storm. This is something positive for us and gives us peace of mind. We are eternally grateful.” We are grateful to you Jay, for your service to our country, and we welcome both you and Maureen into our Purple Heart Homes family.

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