Staff Sergeant, US Army
Integrated Studies -- Business and Spanish
Tyler deployed twice to Afghanistan. On his second tour, he stepped on an antipersonnel improvised explosive device attached to a five-gallon jug of homemade explosives and lost his left leg and left index finger.
During his educational journey, Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) provided Tyler with financial assistance for four years and helped with household furniture and supplies. SOF also connected Tyler with several mentors who helped him network with others who could help. Tyler graduated from Lipscomb University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated studies and a focus in business and Spanish.
During his time in the Sentinels of Freedom program, Tyler started a nonprofit organization, Flags of Honor, with fellow Sentinels Justin Avila and Michael Hill. Flags of Honor sets up residential flag displays to honor and thank veterans for their service. He finds the work very rewarding – and he remains passionate about giving back to the veteran community.
Today Tyler serves as a SWAT officer at the Mount Juliet Police Department. He lives in the greater Nashville area with his wife, Janine. He enjoys an active lifestyle that includes scuba diving, wakeboarding, CrossFit, and Brazilian jiujitsu. When Tyler decided to get his pilot’s license, SOF connected him with a veteran amputee pilot who then in turn connected Tyler with the Veteran Airlift Command (VAC). Tyler intends to give back to VAC after all the support he received from them, including trips to prosthetics appointments and unexpected funerals.
As for the Sentinels of Freedom program, Tyler says, “The first thought that comes to mind when I think of SOF is ‘security.’ Like a good battle buddy, SOF always has my back. This allows me to hold nothing back when attacking my goals in work, home life, or even hobbies. SOF gives me a giant edge on my competition.”