Team Goals: Finding Assistance Among the UNLV Warrior Household

Strength, persistence, and perseverance: prepared qualities of a warrior. For Randy Dexter, a U.S. Army veteran, other half, and dad of 3, being a warrior today is about reconstructing and redefining his life after more than a years of service. Far away from the battleground today, that nerve encompasses the world of academic community where Dexter is carving out his place.

The attacks of Sept. 11 drove Dexter to enlist. He followed the example of his grandfather, who served in the Korean War, and signed up with the Army. Dexter acted as a combat medic in Iraq for 11 years. The cutting edge became his momentary home; injury care for battered men and women his typical routine. When he returned stateside he was awarded two Bronze Star medals. He was expected to take in back into life in the Unites States with ease.

However Dexter was a various guy. He was plagued with serious post-traumatic stress disorder, suffered from major depressive disorder. He had actually sustained a serious brain injury– the consequences of being captured in an IED explosion in Iraq. The next four years of his life were spent in intensive treatment, including a number of months in an inpatient center. He coped haunting ideas of suicide. Life after military service included more obstacles than he ever anticipated; the future appeared bleak.

When hope arrived, it came in the form of a service pet dog called Captain. The two were matched together in 2014 in combination with the K9s for Warriors Project. With Captain around, Dexter’s life and challenges appeared to be more bearable.

“We have a special connection,” he stated. “He cannot work without me– or me without him.”

The sweet and loyal laboratory mix altered Dexter’s life, and let him start the steps of recovery. One of those actions consisted of returning to school, where Captain accompanies Randy in and out of the classroom.

For many veterans, the transition to a university finding out environment is intimidating. A common belief is that being in the armed force is a security blanket of sorts– a neighborhood of brothers and siblings working toward a regimented objective. To go from having that familiarity and function to a brand-new and typically individualistic campus environment is frightening, can be a battle for lots of veterans.

When Dexter and Captain resumed classes at UNLV, they found the support of the Military & Veteran Provider Center and the trainee organization Rebel Vets. These two school resources offered support that includes, financial aid resources, school and community assistance services, discounted-housing programs, and different networks for veteran employment opportunities.

“The groups intend to create a neighborhood that eases the transition from military life to civilian life,” Dexter said.

With the assistance of the center, Rebel Vets and Captain, Dexter grows in his academic career.

“UNLV is so great about promoting the veterans,” Dexter stated. “No one embodies the UNLV motto of ‘Daring, different, and diverse’ more so than the Rebel Veterinarians.”

Dexter is the current president of Rebel Vets under the center’s director, Ross Bryant, whom Dexter calls his “good example,” and off campus Dexter has actually ended up being an outspoken supporter for service canines and their advantages to veterans with PTSD. He travels around the country with Captain and K9s for Warriors on an objective to highlight his experience and aid others.

Dexter’s return to civilian life could have remained bleak, however his guts off the battleground led him to the right connections and camaraderie he needed to be successful.

“I wish to strive and reveal my kids that if your daddy can do it and so can you,” Dexter stated. “Resiliency is something I really live by.”

That resiliency is a truth today for Dexter, and his network on school and in Las Vegas. To paraphrase The Beatles, he manages with a little help from his buddies.

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