WROC TV, News 8 is sponsor of an important conference on how our community can better serve veterans.
The Warrior Salute, "Serve, Honor, Support, Symposium" will also recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond to help veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. One veteran's personal story is inspiring to others who are coming home to Rochester.
Check in at the Veterans Club at Monroe Community College and there's a good chance you'll find Chris Johnson hanging with friends. They support each other but rarely compare stories. His is pretty incredible- eight tours in the U.S. Army.
"Two in Iraq, two in Afghanistan; I did a stint in Africa, I did a stint in Egypt and Kosovo and Bosnia," Johnson said.
Chris saw it all and always answered the call to serve. He came home unable to adjust to civilian life.
"And you get a lower self confidence when you deal with things like that and you just don't really have the gumption to pull yourself up by your boot straps and just go forward and take over and become a successful individual," he said.
Chris was lost after the service, until he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and found Warrior Salute. He's the third graduate of the program, and he's become one of its biggest advocates, sharing his story and spreading the word to other vets.
"It's actually really enlightening cause I see people who are coming through the program go out and become successful. And it's just like a recreation of my own story. I see it in other people," he said.
Today Chris is studying at Monroe Community College and hopes to transfer to Nazareth College to complete a Business degree. Eric Wheeler, the Coordinator of MCC's Academy for Veterans Success, says Chris an outstanding role model and mentor.
"Chris is really an inspiration for those students because he shows them they can overcome some of their challenges," Wheeler said.
"Chris has made a difference in every veteran he's touched, including me" says Robert Mixon from CDS Monarch. "He is a positive role model, he's someone who cares about the community and he does what he says he's gonna do. So I'd say he's positively touched all of us."
Warrior Salute, recognizes Chris Johnson for inspiring other veterans.