Justin J. Lehman – U.S. Army Veteran – Noli Me Tangere

My name is Justin Lehman. I did 8 1/2 years in the Army. I did one tour of Iraq from 2009 – 2010. I have also had the greatest honor of being able to pay last respects to my brothers and sisters, from current and past wars, by doing funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. Since being out of the Army, I have become more of a hobbit. I can’t go anywhere where there will a lot of people. I just can’t do it. I met Chris through my VA counselor in an effort to try to get me out of the house. At first, I was wary. Going on a boat, with someone I didn’t know? Nope. Not gonna happen. Then I met him in one of my therapy appointments. He told me that he wanted to just take me out, and a friend so that I would be comfortable, so that I could have a good time, and not have to think about anything but fishing. Get my mind off of everything that I had been through. I agreed. We met up on July 18 and my friend and I followed Chris up to where the lake is. That day was one of the best days I have had in a very long time. He didn’t pry into any of my background. He just has this presence or aura around him that makes you want to just open up and talk to him. Being on the lake with him and fishing with him and my friend distressed, cleared my head, and made me relax more than anything I have done and tried over the 8 months since being out of the service. We cracked jokes all day, we had lunch and pop, which Chris kindly provided for us, and he gave me good pointers on fishing. Chris is an awesome guy and I can’t wait to be able to get out on the lake and fish with him again. I really appreciate everything man. That day was an amazing day and it brought me out of a funk that I had been in for a couple of weeks. We should definitely get together again to go fishing again. Maybe Bone lake like you were talking about? But I will leave that up to you. I know that you said that this is something you are setting up for veterans that is more than a hand shake, but dude. Thank you so much. I really really appreciate it and had an awesome day. I think that I opened up more to you and Dave that day then to anyone else that I have talked to outside of therapy. One last time, thank you so much.