Military Member of the Month – Jesse Simpson
High Caliber Community veteran of the month, Jesse Simpson, a Marine Corps combat veteran, firefighter, and founder of a nonprofit, Calm, Fit, Complete, which will soon be the most relevant and comprehensive, mentorship, reintegration and community assistance project in the country.
Jesse graduated early from high school to join the Corps, shipping off to boot camp in January of 2007. An 0331, Infantry Machine Gunner, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion 4th Marines out of Camp Pendleton, CA. Over the next 4 years, Jesse was meritoriously promoted twice, made a squad leader and won Marine of the Quarter.
Shortly after returning from his 3rd deployment he separated, moving back home to Iowa. It didn’t take long before he lost his way. “After getting used to the structure and stability the Corps provided, I found the transition quite difficult. Naturally, I began to self-medicate and not long after I hit rock bottom” he said. Something had to change.
He hit the gym hard, and let anger and anxiety fuel his workouts. He was introduced to yoga, which allowed his thoughts to die off long enough to catch some sleep. Most notably, Jesse began to volunteer, spending time as a summer camp counselor and at an orphanage in Lima, Peru. Next stop, Phoenix. Jesse headed south to the Grand Canyon state to study at Arizona State University. Even with a full school load, and while working 2 jobs as a kickboxing instructor, he managed to find time to continue his volunteer work, with over 100 hundred hours of experience at both Phoenix Children’s Hospital and for Phoenix Fire Department’s Crisis Response team. Jesse was hired by the Mesa Fire and Medical Department in October of 2014 and, finally, graduated from ASU in December of 2016. He says this about his time as a volunteer: “Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, it’s clear now my time spent with these boys and girls changed me. They’ve filled my soul and taught me how to take back my life.”
Now, he’s on a new mission: To repurpose veterans, giving them a new mission, in mentoring underprivileged and disadvantaged youth all while both groups learn how to be healthier, happier and more productive members of their family, the community, and world in which we live. Jesse dares YOU to get involved and has a few things to say.
“To my fellow veterans: Find your new mission. It’s there, I guarantee it but no one will find it for you. It may take time. It may take blood, sweat, and tears but you can handle it. Look at what you have already accomplished.”
Once you find it, whatever that may be, you’ll know. In the process don’t neglect your physical and mental health. Don’t forget to eat right, workout and get restful sleep. The only way to change the stigma associated with veterans is to take ownership of your own life, your own health and your own choices.
Finally, once you’ve found your mission, share it. Share it with family and friends. Share it with your fellow veterans. Then maybe your soul, too, can be full. Your mission clear.
Jesse recently wrote an article that was featured in the Arizona Republic and was invited as a guest on the “Decision Hour’ podcast and to speak at several different events throughout Arizona. He stays busy working as firefighter and volunteer mentor, and started Calm, Fit, Complete in February. Anyone interested in learning more should check out the website: www.calmfitcomplete.org and send any questions to Jesse@calmfitcomplete.org