Listen to this new episode of Got Your 6 podcast as Tony Nash talks to author and former United States Army Sergeant Michael Bluemling Jr., whose personal mission is to help the veteran community particularly with transition.
Michael talks about his trauma growing up with an abusive father and shares how he overcame this, as well as other challenges in life. A fully disabled veteran following a brain injury, Michael now focuses on fitness, Spartan race, and his service dog, Chanel.
As a fourth generation service member, Michael says he grew up learning about the fundamentals, such as making your own bed with hospital corners every day – a habit he practices to this day.
“No mission too difficult, no mission too great. I wouldn’t be who I am without the military. This country wouldn’t be what it is without the military.”
He opens up about the abuse and trauma he faced as a kid with an alcoholic and drug dependent father.
He has since self-published three books that aim to help other survivors move on, break the cycle of abuse, and trust people again.
Michael opens up about the discrimination faced by veterans once they leave the military. Citing his own experience, he has vowed to help veterans cope with transition.
“A lot of veterans are misunderstood when they come back into society because people don’t really understand them, and so it’s kinda hard to talk to somebody, to have them help you or reach out.”
One new belief that has improved his life is that no one person can do it alone, which he says also applies to veterans. To work on this, he has allowed himself to open up to other people by branching out to form business partnerships – a move that has allowed him to share his ideas, trust others, and gain a support system to carry on.
To help him cope, he got himself a service dog named Chanel, which he trains himself. He says it has made a positive impact in his life because he felt he was able to live and heal again.
His advice is to never forget about yourself in the process of helping others.
“A lot of veterans, we need a pause for a minute… What I realize is I gotta take care of me. Unless I take care of me, then I can’t help any other veteran.”
He also highlights the importance of humility. Coming out of the military, Michael says he realized he is not the only person who can do great things.
“Yeah I did a lot of great things but guess what, somebody did something, too. So it’s more about what the experience did that I can share with them versus what I did for myself.”
He talks about the financial challenges he faced when starting his business Power of One – a learning experience that helped him figure out his next career steps.
While money is needed to survive, he says “money doesn’t make you happy.”
In 2020, he ran for US House representative of Florida's 21st district but dropped out due to COVID concerns. At 43, he says he realized the importance of his actions and the positive impact these should have on others.
“I think that successes are great but your failures actually catapult you forward a lot further."
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