Meet Anthony R. Fedele, Jr., U.S. Army — 2017 Veteran

Anthony R. Fedele, Jr. was born in Newport News, VA on August 19, 1974 and grew up in Gloucester City, N.J. After graduating from H.S. in 1993 , he decided to join the U.S. Army. Upon completing his Infantry training at Ft. Benning, GA he was assigned to the prestigious 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, N.Y.

While serving with the 10th Mountain Division, Anthony deployed several times including Pakistan, Panama, and Haiti. He completed Air Assault School, earned his Expert Infantryman Badge, graduated at the top of his class for his Primary Leadership Development Course earning the title of Distinguished Honor Graduate, and was promoted to Sergeant all during his first enlistment term.

After reenlisting, Anthony was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and participated in several more training exercises. He quickly rose above his peers and was placed on the Staff Sergeant Promotable list at five years of serving.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fedele while participating in combat maneuvers he experienced a traumatic accident where he became tangled in concertina wire and was drug down a rocky road by a HMMWV.

Anthony was medically retired from the U.S. Army and attended college at the University of Central Florida where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Management Information Systems.

Although always feeling that something was not right after that incident, he started to have difficulty in college and experienced severe depression and unworthiness once 9/11 happened. His symptoms were increasing and he struggled to keep his jobs and stopped having meaningful relationships with anyone, isolating himself from those that loved him. He was misdiagnosed several times and was taking up to 30 pills a day at one point, which the VA had prescribed.

Photos of Anthony R. Fedele, Jr., U.S. Army (Click the image to begin a slide show)
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He was finally diagnosed with PTSD after 7 years however he refused treatment because of his fear of not being worthy of it and thought that other Veterans were more deserving than he was. He hit a low point in 2009 when his suicidal ideations were getting the best of him and he struggled to keep going, not wanting to kill himself because of the fear of what it would do to his family and spent several months in a VA medical center for an intensive PTSD program in 2010. In 2015 he was diagnosed with a TBI related to the accident and has been working on re-learning basic cognitive skills ever since.

He diligently strives to learn to live in a new relationship with his experiences and to be a proactive member in his community. He spends most of his time volunteering with organizations like The Mission Continues and working with other Veterans, something he refused to allow himself to do for over 16 years due to his own insecurities. He still struggles with anxiety and depression and has the most difficulty with socializing and feeling worthy.

Over the course of the past couple of years, he was turned down by several organizations who provide service dogs for Veterans due to his pre 9/11 status, which weighed heavy on his self-worth until ultimately meeting Jeff Mullins from Rebuilding Warriors.

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Jeff Anderson
CEO/Founder, Rebuilding Warriors