The Summit that Changed Me for Good
I embarked on a journey last year to the No Barriers Summit. I originally thought this would be a fun time to get away for a couple days, de-stress and hang out with some other veterans. But it turned into one of the most influential weekends of my life.
My name is Terry Haney and I served in the U.S. Army for almost five years. My time in the service was cut short by war in 2005 and I was medically retired in 2006. Since leaving the Army, I battled with a seizure disorder and a lot of depression, mostly having to do with the fact that I had no clue what I was going to do with myself career-wise.
I was a family man with three girls who needed a strong father to provide for them. I tried working several jobs in hopes of finding my niche, however, all were met with the same outcome: termination.
My battle with a severe seizure disorder left me and my life crippled at times. At one point I was having four or five grand mal seizures a day. I thought I was broken, but I really had no idea what broken was. I had my legs, my arms, my eyes to help me overcome life’s obstacles.
There were times when I was having so many seizures a day I couldn’t function. I prayed that I could have lost a leg or an arm instead, only because then I would have a definitive solution to my problem and could focus on moving forward. With a seizure disorder it’s different: They can leave you destroyed at a moment’s notice. Despite these setbacks I always tried to find my way and stay focused and push forward. But the setbacks kept coming and it wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that I really found my calling!
I hadn’t really been involved with many veterans’ organizations until my good friend Paul Smith introduced me to Honoring Americas Warriors. I had always thought these organizations were filled with a bunch of veterans mooching the system and crying about old times. Well, let’s just say I was wrong. I was welcomed by these folks at the HAW and got the news I had been selected to attend the No Barriers Summit in Park City, Utah.
Until the news I didn’t really know much about No Barriers. Little did I know I was going to leave Utah after this weekend forever a changed man!
I can’t really say or pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but during the Summit there was a fire ignited in me I thought I had lost for good. Maybe it was the amazing people I had the privilege to meet or maybe it was seeing so many people with disabilities — or I should say abilities — that conquer and overcome so much.
People like comedian Josh Blue, Olympic medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, painter John Bramblitt, adventurist Erik Weihenmayer. Not to mention some amazing speakers like Mick Ebeling with Not Impossible Labs, Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Ty Carter, and Henry Evans and Jeff Lowe’s amazing video.
It was truly an inspiring and soul-reviving event to say the least. It feels as if I was being prepared for an adventure I had no clue about yet. All these years I have been letting my disability run my life instead of living my life to its fullest. This Summit changed my whole outlook on my disability and I have pushed the motto “What’s Within You Is Stronger Than What’s In Your Way” to the forefront of my mind. I use it every day.
Since the Summit I have found my calling, so to speak, and have dedicated 100 percent of my time and energy to helping veterans, who like me were lost. I volunteer full time with Honoring Americas Warriors and live my life to the fullest now.
I thank you, No Barriers, No Barriers Warriors, and every single person who made the Summit possible. I know it’s not just my life that is being changed, but the lives of everyone who attends.