In this post I want to introduce you to an amazing human by the name of Michael Parker. Michael is a United States Marine Veteran and the Founder and CEO of Second Chance Rehabilitation Ranch. I spoke to Micheal about a week ago and loved his mission so much that I asked him if he would be willing to share his story not only on the podcast but as a guest blogger. He said yes!
"My name is Michael Parker and I am a Marine Corps veteran. I grew up in an Army family and at the age of three I set my sights on being a Marine. I spent my whole life training and working towards that dream. Upon graduating from high school, I made my dream a reality by completing recruit training at MCRD Parris Island, earning the title United States Marine. I served two and a half years in the Marines as a mechanic on the MV-22 Osprey.
My time in the uniform did not go as I expected. In October of 2013, everything began to take a turn for the worst when I engaged in a relationship with a Navy petty officer. Shortly after, she told me she was pregnant and from there became very controlling. I moved in with her and did my best to support her in her pregnancy until January of 2014, when I no longer could handle her controlling nature. I moved back into my barracks and a few days later was brought into NCIS and interrogated for allegedly sexually assaulting her the prior October. I was detained and taken to Navy Consolidated Brig Miramar, where I would spend the next nine months awaiting trial for a crime I had not committed. Finally, in October, the charge was dropped however, I was still discharged from the Marine Corps in December of 2014. This was a traumatic event for me, everything I spent my life working for was ripped away from me in one moment. I spent nine months confined to a cell not knowing if I would be free come trial or sentenced to however long. However, the part that hurt the most was the betrayal by my command.
the part that hurt the most was the betrayal by my command.
They treated me as if I were already guilty and a disgrace. They ignored any requests I made and even refused to allow my brothers and sisters to come see me. I truly felt alone and hated by everyone. As traumatic as this event was, my breaking point would come in November of 2014, just three weeks after my release from the brig. While staying the night at my friend’s house off base, I became blackout drunk and was sexually assaulted by his roommate. I allowed these events to shape me and I turned into an angry alcoholic. I also battled against depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress (PTS) but refused to admit that I was struggling. I had three failed suicide attempts, two stays in a psych ward, and was on an assortment of different medications.
I also battled against depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress (PTS) but refused to admit that I was struggling.
It was not until I moved to Hawai’i in December of 2016 that I would begin to turn my life around. When I moved to Hawai’i, I knew one person there, which was perfect for me to start fresh. I worked on ranches during my time in Hawai’i and it was through my work with horses that I began to experience healing. I began to find peace in when I was out in nature, whether it was hiking, kayaking, riding horses, or diving.
it was through my work with horses that I began to experience healing
I remember one day I was out on a trail ride when I made the realization that if these things were so good for my healing, how many other people would benefit from it? That is when the idea for a rehabilitation ranch for veterans became a dream.
It was just a dream for two years, until in August of 2019 I lost my job at the ranch I worked at and spent the next three months unemployed, living out of my car.
During that time, through some great mentors and coaches, I was able to get myself focused and start working on making the ranch a goal instead of a dream. I sold my TV and PS4 to get the money to go through a 12 week program that helped me lay a solid framework for the ranch and I continued to live out of my car even after finally finding a job in order to invest my money into starting Second Chance Rehabilitation Ranch.
With the arrival of COVID-19 I was forced to move back to Arkansas and slowed my progress forward. With great sadness I sold my horse in Hawai’i to get the money to pay for my LLC and as of the 27th of July, Second Chance Rehabilitation Ranch became registered in the state of Colorado.
The plan was to start offering services first to veterans and later first responders however, with the current state of the world, I have changed our focus to include law enforcement, EMTs, firefighters, nurses, and doctors. Our goal is to create a four-day retreat at no cost for the veterans and first responders. During their stay they will engage in a variety of outdoor activities as well as get connected with resources in their area.
Our goal is to create a four-day retreat at no cost for the veterans and first responders
The purpose of these retreats are to help them discover activities they enjoy and that help them, connect them with resources in the community, and rebuild the camaraderie lost after service by connecting with others in the community. We will offer services such as trail rides and horsemanship programs for those interested and we are working on partnerships with other veteran owned businesses.
The only obstacle left standing between us and helping America’s heroes is money and resources. Our goal is to raise $7 million. This money is to purchase land, horses, vehicles, trailers, tractor, ATVs, and build the necessary buildings to run our operations. Donations of any sort are welcomed. We are also organizing a raffle/auction to help fund raise and need donations for that as well".
I invite you all the help support if you can as I know how much it means to someone who is trying to help others find their purpose.
Thank you Michael for doing what you do and created such a powerful movement.
. Watch out world... he is changing lives!