A resilient Airman’s story

  • Published
  • By Capt. Peter J Dumag
  • 8 Fighter Wing Chaplain

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall--what matters most is how many times you stand up, shake it off, and move forward.”


Knowing how to balance physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual areas of our lives is key to building resiliency.


I would like to share story of an Airman, who, despite a broken relationship, was able to recover and gain back his confidence and true self.


He started hitting the gym, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. “I felt good,” he told me, “and started gaining confidence in myself.” He became more serious about this newfound de-stressor; he studied, did research, and supplemented it with good nutrition. Not even a year later, the pain and hurt were gone and a new passion was born!


The Airman is now a passionate powerlifter and he’s competed several times and won every competition he entered. His resilient spirit strengthened him to compete in powerlifting: squat, bench press, and deadlift categories. He’s also stepped on the bodybuilding stage and took first place there as well.


As a certified sports nutritionist, he used to tell me, ‘JERF’ (just eat real food) to fix my diet and fuel myself in the gym. He is now a budding entrepreneur in the health & fitness industry. He created an online community geared toward fitness that now has over 20 thousand members. He also has an associated clothing brand that sells gym apparel.


He continues to train not only to discipline his body and mind, but to mentor and train others as well. While deployed, he was able to help an Airman cope with being away from home, family, and friends. For five months he trained and mentored this Airman through weight training, proper diet, and powerlifting.


Did he encounter challenges again? Of course--all of us are vulnerable. He has had his share of injuries. Whether we are hurt physically, emotionally or spiritually, we can recover and bounce back, coming out stronger, a better person, wiser in judgment and in decision-making.