Special Forces Veteran,
Competing in Race To Alaska 2018
The underlying story behind this mission lies in SFC (R) Josh Collins’ personal struggle with TBI and PTSD. He is a Special Operations combat Veteran with multiple rotations to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, along with numerous other deployments around the globe in support of the War on Terror. Moreover, Josh is a Wounded Warrior with 4 documented Traumatic Brain Injuries with loss of consciousness from explosive blast, 2 by parachute landing falls, and 1 more from combatives training. After he retired out of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta Force in December of 2008, Josh continued to support the military as a contractor both stateside and abroad. But it was while leading a training exercise in 2013 that he sustained a final major concussion, and complete with fractured nose, rib, and cervical spine compressions that dropped him over the edge.
Driving on with the Doctor’s prescribed medications, but also self-medicating with alcohol, he reached the limits of his ability to function. He was finally hospitalized for over 3 months in the James A Haley VA Polytrauma Unit in Tampa, Florida for sustained TBI therapy, and was subsequently medically retired again as a civilian.
Not one to quit, this series of events, saving his life, marriage, and family has rekindled a new fire. After the hospitalization, his wife Tonia purchased him a Stand-up paddleboard for recreational therapy to assist in the prolonged recovery. It was on the water again that Josh found a sanctuary. Severe vestibular (inner ear) damage, nerve damage and palsy in his right eye, and cervical spine compression now fused, left him continuously off balance on dry ground, but the rolling surf calmed all this and in his words, “Everything holds still when I’m on the water.” Having nearly lost it all, he is now determined to make a difference in helping other Veterans navigate these perilous waters of life after combat; this is Operation Torrent, where Josh believes, Connection is the Cure, and finishing the Race To Alaska is his mission to re-connect and inspire others!