Non-Profit Partner Spotlight

By inspiring fellow Americans to join Carry The Load, we have become a force multiplier – making a greater impact together.  This also gives us the privilege of sharing inspiration through storytelling. Below is an example of a story that reminds us why we do what we do every day.

Corena Mitchell’s story

Home alone and in the depths of a battle with PTSD, retired soldier Corena Mitchell was tired of being chased by her depression.  As with many of America’s heroes, Corena’s battle stemmed from her service overseas.

“I couldn’t run from it anymore,” said Corena, a 16-year Army veteran.

Corena entered active duty just before the terrorist attacks of September 11. Quickly, Corena’s service changed as she was deployed to an active warzone.

“It was difficult, but it was one of the proudest things I’ve ever done,” Corena said about her first deployment. “I was really proud about what we were doing.”

In October of 2006, Corena deployed to Iraq where she was responsible for the “killed in action” and “missing in action” reports.  This meant Corena became intimate with the final moments of many American soldiers.

“When the family learns that they lost a loved one, you want them to have every detail; every question possible answered,” Corena said. “Reading those details, writing those details, took a toll on me. I believe that is where my PTSD came from.”

Sitting at home alone one day, Corena saw a news report about a group walking through a neighboring community in New Jersey.  It was the inaugural year of the Carry The Load National Relay. Led at the time by retired Navy SEAL Coleman Ruiz, the team was walking from West Point, NY to Dallas, TX to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.

“I had a strong need to talk to him,” Corena said. “It was the first time that I realized that there’s other people in this world that are going through [similar] things and suffering.”

Seeing Coleman walking and sharing his story ignited something inside of Corena.  A few years later, Corena and her family moved back to Texas where she was introduced to Attitudes & Attire.  A long-time Non-Profit Partner of Carry The Load, Attitudes & Attire dedicates time and energy toward promoting personal growth for women seeking self-sufficiency.

Following her transition out of the military, and her fight with PTSD, Corena has been able to get back to owning her life by providing emotional support to other heroes.

“That day back in 2012 gave me hope I wasn’t yet aware that I needed.  Now here I am, every day, dedicating my life to helping and providing for my fellow veterans,” Corena said.

To see more of Corena Mitchell’s story, watch “Transition: How A Memorial Day Journey Sparked Freedom” below.