Veteran Stories

Chris Diaz, Afghanistan War Veteran

Chris has his parents to thank for introducing him to a life of service “I remember being 12 years old and going and helping hurricane victims in the Caribbean build their churches and clean out debris from their homes. Service is something that's been part of my life for as long as I can remember.”

Years later, he watched the tragic events of 9/11 unfold. Suddenly, his passion for service called again, and this time it was for the U.S. Navy, which he would join in 2007. On his third deployment, Chris recalls he was immediately asked to rise to the challenge. “I was serving in Afghanistan as a corpsman with the Marine Corps and I found out that our sister unit had just lost another corpsman. They had taken about three casualties over the course of a month. I had an opportunity to go and work with this unit, who now had just lost their corpsman. I'll never forget arriving at the unit and watching them pack away his belongings. His name was Brian Lundy."

The 25 year old father suddenly had more than just his son’s life in his hands to protect. “Seeing these men who didn't know me at all and realizing that I would be responsible now to make sure that they all stayed safe,” was something that stayed with Chris  for the remainder of his deployment.

While an overwhelming realization at the time, today, Chris finds comfort and confidence in the responsibilities that the Navy gave him. “Putting that expectation on myself at that age at that time in my life, is something that I lean on now because now I know what I'm capable of doing.”

It’s this same confidence that compelled Chris to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, pursue a doctorate degree in Psychology, and pour himself into strengthening the veteran community. Now, off active duty, Chris continues to serve through Action Tank, a group of veteran entrepreneurs, attorneys, academics and doctors that participate in community service throughout city of Philadelphia. He also joins TMF’s Operation Legacy service projects that serve the local community’s needs.

Community service, Chris has learned, has a profound impact on both a global and individual level. “Even though we're doing things in the community to help solve problems, there’s nothing like the look on those kids' faces, when they were able to have a clean looking court and shoot the ball into nets. That really gets down to what we're about. We're interested in having that granular level difference in somebody else's life.”

As a TMF Ambassador, Chris shares stories of the positive aspects of his time in the military to young adults, as part of a continued effort to shape and improve his community. From rehabilitating homes in the Caribbean, to serving as a Navy Corpsman, to inspiring the next generation, Chris continues his commitment to service and inspires a sense of character that makes an impression, that truly makes a difference.


To view all Character Revealed Stories, click here.

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