Lee Moultrie, now 66 years old; Retired from the U.S. Air Force at 37 years old (in 1994). He had just returned from participating in Desert Shield / Desert Storm while stationed in the mountain tops of Taif Air Base, Saudi Arabia in support of the U 2 Reconnaissance Aircraft. After being there for several months, I returned to my home based and the military were indicating that they may send my Air Force wife to Saudi Arabia also. At that time, we had a 3 year old daughter and we did not want her to be without both of her parents at one time due to deployments.
To our amazement, the military created an Early retirement program for anyone that had 15 years or more that desired to exit the military. I accepted the retirement with 18 years in and have been retired for the past 28 years. Once I retired, the military actually relocated my wife to Fairford England and I became a Stay At Home Dad in 1994 (before it was fashionable to be one and I was the only male spouse on the base where we were station). Our daughter was 4 years old and she attended British School.
After 3 years in England, I relocated back to my home town of Charleston, South Carolina in 1997 and was not able to find adequate pay for my profession in the Air Force (Traffic - Transportation Management) with Global experience. So, I decided to go back into the hospitality business as I did through High School from 1972. I worked within this arena for about 3 years until I decided I wanted a challenge by going into a area that I had no working knowledge about.
I was in my local barber shop one Saturday and saw a yellow bag that said something like; if you want more information about Prostate Cancer, give me a call. I dialed the number and spoke with the gentleman for about 30 minutes and he said, if you desire more information, just stop by his home after my hair cut. I stopped by his home after my hair cut and he shared various projects that he was embarking on through the Medical University of South Carolina.
I said, hold up partna.....you're talking about projects through the Medical University of South Carolina. I said, I don't have a degree to be hanging out with these folks. He said, I have the degree. I'll take care of the degreed folks. You take care of the community folks we'll be dealing with, since this is your home town and we'll have a great partnership.
So, in 2000, I started with the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network and also the Prostate Cancer initiative called: Brothers Against Prostate Cancer (Cancer Awareness Project).
This opportunity was the greatest that I could think of for being engaged in health care at the University and College level, Non-Profits and also Community Based Organizations of a variety of disease areas. Not one specific.
We could be discussing Tobacco uses , (Lung Cancer) , Prostate Cancer, Diabetes , Hypertension, Stroke, Breast Cancer and or policy issues to speak with the elected officials about.
As April 5, 2023 came into my life, (35 years of being led by my faith) I reflected back to April 5, 1988 when I decided to become more focused on my faith and leave the bad behaviors that I had learned from my father and many other men in my life growing up in High School with drinking Alcohol and doing drugs. Being a young teen ager exposed to working in the restaurant industry at 16 years old, you get an opportunity to experience many things that you should not be experiencing at that age. Like alcohol and or drugs. For me, it was more so of drinking alcohol and it was a passed behavior that I saw in my father. And one of the main reasons that my mother relocated from him with my 2 other brothers and one sister. His drinking had become beyond his control and I did not realize at an earlier age that I should not be experimenting with Alcohol because it had the potential to control my life and possibly destroy my life. At age 31, while still in the Air Force, I volunteered to enter into an Alcohol rehabilitation program to address how my life was spiraling out of control due to excess alcohol use. At this point in my life, we're looking at a father that used alcohol in excess and then working in the restaurant industry from 16 years old with older men that contributed to me and my use. They did not make me drink alcohol. But, I would not suggest any adults giving teen agers alcohol in 2023. I remember it as if it was yesterday; on April 5, 1988; I said; I'm tired of being sick and tired and wanted a new life. My life was changed. But, I had to go through a lot of education and reprogramming of what each day should be about and how to function in a society without alcohol being the center of every gathering and or conversation. This is where Long Term Recovery comes in with dealing with alcohol (and or not having alcohol use in your life). Has every day been Sun Shine since 1988. Hell No. And we fall down as one of the spiritual singers say and we get back up. We pray to get stronger and keep on going. Shake the dust off of you. Learn your lesson and keep on going. Don't make that mistake again. Trauma and or Adverse Child Experiences plays a major part in many of our lives. The question is always. How do we address them and make our lives a little better for ourselves, our children, our spouse or partner and society as a whole.
Initially as I came through the alcohol program within the Air Force, it was mandatory that all of us within our program use Alcohol Anonymous as much as possible. But, once the requirements were lifted for me to attend AA meetings. I started leaning more so on my faith to strengthen me and it has done so for the past 35 years. And I think AA is a great program for the many that still utilize that format. Of my 35 years, I've visited many AA programs and even one for the hospitality industry in the Charleston area that has spread to other states, called Ben's Friends. As they call me when I visit; the old dude, because I started in the hospitality industry in 1972 (as a Bus Boy) at age 16 and have worked many areas in the front of the house and even dish washing when needed.
With my new business model of Choose to Live for Men LLC (of all ethnic back grounds and globally), I see me and my team working together to educate and bring greater awareness to men on their screening guidelines and to see the cancer rate that many men are being diagnosed with drop dramatically because we'll be sharing with their proven programs that they can implement now as I have done myself within the past 6 months through changing of eating natural foods and limiting processed foods, along with exercising 5 days a week.
Within 6 months, I gained 6 years of my life back, I lost 33 pounds, my blood pressure came down; no longer fearful of a heart attack or a stroke. My A1C for diabetes came down from 7.1 to 6.1 and I'm no longer apprehensive about getting diabetes and having amputations. Sleeping about 6 hours a night (yep. Got to get this back to 7 hours) Exercising 5 days a week, with 3 days a week of Cardio and 2 days of Strength training.
At times, when I want to feel energetic; I may even take up Water Aerobics as I did in 2022 (for 2 months) to shock my body that I was doing a different exercise.
What I have accomplished in these short 35 years and or the past year, I truly believe that many others can do the same thing with a little guidance and support from individuals as me and my other team members.