My name's Mike and I'm a former Special Forces Engineer Sergeant. I medically retired from the Army in 2014, at 80% disabled. I’m the father of 3 kids ranging in age from 10 to 15 years old, and I'm usually just an all-around happy guy that cracks corny jokes, leaving my kids shaking their heads. Oh...and I look at child pornography. Wait...what?! I'll explain.
What followed next was being taken away from my team, and being told that I couldn't do what I loved to do anymore. I was forced to medically retire. What would I do for a career? I was approached with a few opportunities making big money doing various things.
One opportunity stuck out, though. And how much money was involved, you ask? It was an unpaid internship, so...no money. It was an opportunity to help sexually exploited children and put away the monsters that exploit them. To me, that is more valuable than money.
Two men walked inside our white picket fence, up on to our porch, and sent my dogs in a frenzy. I came out of the kitchen to see two berets in the top window of our front door. One was the deep red of an airborne soldier with a cross indicating a chaplain. The other was green like the one my husband Matthew wore, the one I have in the dash of our car, the one my son Declan wears around our house.
They rang the doorbell, they knocked on the wide old door, and they knew I saw them but somehow I couldn’t move. The 100 year old hardwoods beneath my feet had been refinished by hand in the dream house Matt and I had just bought to raise our son in. Our son, who was sleeping on the couch peacefully in his car-seat, after just being brought inside only feet from the front door, our son who I would do anything to protect from the shot heard round our world. Those beautiful hardwood floors we had loved so much were no longer enough to hold me up while everything came crashing down around us and they swallowed me whole.