Tuesday, March 27, 2018

We All Fall Short

- Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Serna Jr. serving in Afghanistan
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Serna Jr. served three tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.  
During the Green Beret's first tour in Afghanistan in 2006, Serna survived two deadly convey attacks, carrying a fellow soldier to safety. 
- Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Serna Jr.
Six weeks before the end of his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, his armored protected truck rolled into a canal after the road collapsed.  
Serna reported that he was unable to release his seat belt. One of his fellow soldiers was able to get him free from the belt and moved him into a pocket of air inside the truck. Serna passed out. All three of the other soldiers, including the solder that moved Serna, died in the truck. 
- Joe Serna Jr. Green Beret and survivor of three fatal incidents

After completing two decades of service, Serna was diagnosed severe Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and started drinking.  
"I started to drink when I was mad. When I was regretting things, I would drink. . . . My wife and my kids were there, but they didn’t understand. . . .  They knew there was something definitely wrong with me." Jose Serna
Serna violated his probation on a DWI charge and Judge Lou Olivera, a Gulf War veteran, sentenced him to 24 hours in jail. Prepared to relive a PTSD nightmare, Serna reported to jail. 
- Judge Lou Olivera Cumberland County Courthouse in Fayetteville, N.C.
Judge Olivera and Jose Serna explained to Story Corps 
"When Joe first came to turn himself in, he was trembling. I decided I’d spend the night serving with him." - Judge Olivera
"I thought to myself, 'He's going to spend the night here. I've never seen this kind of act from anyone.'" - Jose Serna
- Judge Lou Olivera (left) with retired Green Beret Joe Serna outside the Cumberland County Courthouse in Fayetteville, N.C. NPR
"We all mess up, we all fall short. . . . You're a brother, and I just want you to get back." Judge Olivera
#Military #PTSD #Kind #Judge

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