Sonoran Desert Institute

All the Latest News, Reviews and Developments happening with the Sonoran Desert Institute!

Theo Susuras

Get to know SDI: Theo Susuras

There’s nothing quite like getting a sunburn on top of your sunburn. That is exactly what Theo Susuras stated that he was doing a few months ago. “There is nothing pleasant about working outside when it is 117 degrees outside. Some people say at least it’s a dry heat but that doesn’t make it any better,” said Theo. He decided to look elsewhere for employment. His life passion was shooting and he wanted to work in the firearms industry. He found Sonoran Desert Institute of Firearms Technology (SDI).

Theo lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was working for the city as a maintenance worker before starting at Sonoran Desert Institute. Masonry was his specialty. It was active, labor intensive, and he was familiar with a bull float. He was not accustomed to sitting for long periods and he was not used to being evaluated on his interactions with others. Interpersonal communication proved to be a talent Theo possessed, and he made a great impression in his interviews. Not just anybody could make this kind of transition. Before he knew it, he was beginning a new career as an admissions advisor with SDI. Theo said it best, “Honestly, I didn’t know if I could do it. I was used to working outside. It was all about coming home feeling physically exhausted. This was different; it was mental exhaustion I was coming home with.”

Theo credits his quick transition to his training. “Roxanne Palmer has been working with me. She makes it easy. She’s the smartest person I have ever worked with and I have yet to find a question she can’t answer in full detail.” When asked how he likes his new duties, he was quick to answer, “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I love it.” He also noted that, besides his training, it was equally great to work in such a team-oriented and positive environment.

Mr. Susuras works as an admissions advisor at SDI. He stated that his role is to meet prospective students and get to know them. His favorite part of the job is the fact that he is there to help others. Theo finds fulfillment in the fact that he gets to be of service. He takes pride in evaluating what will make students successful should they attend school. “The only times I haven’t been able to get prospective students on track have been when they are on deployment and travelling with a bad internet connection. Outside of that, I have been able to be helpful and have had countless great interactions.”

Theo has gone from being unsure about his role at SDI to passionately serving those that are seeking information about the school. His zeal for the firearms industry does not stop there. He is also a competitive shooter with the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).

USPSA competition is what inspired Theo to work with SDI, and he works extremely hard. He practices drawing and dry firing up to 90 minutes per day. Many competitive shooters in the industry claim that 20 to 30 minutes per day is enough to be a competitive shooter. This is simply not enough for Theo; he wants to be the best. He competes throughout Arizona and Southern Utah, routinely wins, and rarely places below 5th place, which is more impressive when considering there are often over 150 competitors.

The open division is where Theo makes his home when competing. While other divisions are highly restricted in what types of handguns are allowable, this division allows for countless modification and 9×19 and up ammo. For those unfamiliar with handguns used in the open division, they resemble something straight out of a sci-fi film. It requires a lot of knowledge and an exceptional amount of discipline to compete at this level. Theo has even developed himself into an expert at reloading so that he can ensure consistency with his ammunition. He is currently three percentage points from reaching the level of grand master in the USPSA, which is a crowning accomplishment.

Part of what has thrilled Theo so much about competing in shooting at a high level is getting to meet his heroes. Since his boss first showed him how to shoot two years ago, and Theo purchased his first basic 1911 for competition, he has followed the professionals and their competition results. “It’s really amazing. For example, if you attended an NFL game, it would be very rare to meet a professional football player. If you did have a chance to meet one, they probably wouldn’t take the time to talk with you. With the professional shooters, I have gotten to meet my heroes. Not just casual conversations but I have been able to call several of them my friends.”

Theo Susuras has had a year that is full of change. He has a new career that he loves, he hopes to be a grand master level shooter within the year, and he is currently engaged to be married. He credits the support of his fiancé for his success in competitive shooting as well as his pursuit of a new vocation. Theo is learning quickly at SDI and is consistently taking on new responsibilities. With the work ethic Theo has already shown in competitive shooting, combined with the commitment to his relationship and the love that he has for SDI, the school is mightily privileged to have him.

Welcome aboard, Theo! We hope you avoid sunburns on top of sunburns for many years to come.

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Joshua Stevens

A Story of Inspiration: Joshua Stevens

“There is merit without elevation, but there is no elevation without some merit.”
~Nobleman and writer François de La Rochefoucauld.

Veteran, published author, college graduate, and future gunsmithing business owner Joshua Stevens’ name may seem familiar. Joshua’s winning essay, “The Rise of 80 Percent Firearms,” was published by Gun Digest as part of a large essay contest, and he has been the focus of various news releases put out by Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI), where he attended and graduated. Recently, Joshua was picked as SDI’s Famous Alumni. He was selected for this recognition because his work, personality, and accomplishments outside of the classroom were exemplary. Nobody was aware that he did all of this while undergoing diagnosis, surgery, and recovery for a large invasive tumor inside his head, which was the result of a traumatic brain injury while on deployment. He did not want help—he needed to complete school on his own.

SDI Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Mike Olson, went on to say, “You know, the best part about this guy is that he stood out right away. He was always engaging with professors and meticulous with his work. I called him up to tell him we had selected him for our Famous Alumni award after he was published in Gun Digest and it was not until he received the award that we saw his video detailing his struggles with a traumatic brain injury. He never said a word about it to anyone.”

Joshua Stevens went on to earn a 3.83 GPA and never missed a step. It was a point of pride for him to graduate. For Joshua, it was difficult to go back to school. He had been in the military for six years and was nine years removed from high school. Remaining thankful, he credited Sonoran Desert Institute’s advisors for helping him every step of the way as he went through the enrollment process, and they continued to do so as he worked his way through his degree. In a school setting where attendance is required, Joshua most likely would have had to withdraw from his program. There is no possibility that he would have been able to work through his trials without anybody knowing. Attending SDI, though, enabled him to pursue what he really loves, keep a flexible schedule, and keep his health status guarded so he could go through school on his own terms.

Joshua’s statement on his time at SDI shows humility and sums it up best. “I actually really enjoyed my time with SDI. Initially going into things I was I guess a bit arrogant and didn’t really think I’d end up learning much, I knew having a certification or degree in the field would set me apart from the other gunsmiths in the area and that was my main motivation for enrolling. I was quite happy to find out I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did and not only did I learn a lot while attending but I was able to ask myself the right questions and really ensure that gunsmithing was the correct career choice for me. Graduating despite adversity was really just the cherry on top of everything.

When I first found out I had a brain tumor and then everything else that happened school was one of the only things in my life that was still normal in a sense. I guess in a way it was one of the things that kept me grounded and provided a light at the end of the tunnel, a goal that gave the storm purpose. Being as successful as I was, getting published, and now being honored as a Famous Alumni were all unexpected and tremendously humbling, I just gave everything my best effort and have been amazed at where that’s taken me, everything has really reassured me that I’m on the right path and doing something that I’m good at.”

This piece starts with a quote from François de La Rochefoucauld for a specific reason. Much like Joshua Stevens, François was a military man, a businessman, and a writer, and he found success after overcoming a traumatic brain injury. Joshua has already amassed an impressive body of gunsmithing work and he has found success in writing. There is no reason to believe that he will not reach every goal just as he did with his education. He will be elevated by his merit.

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NRAAM Show 2017

National Rifle Association Annual Meetings

Over 800 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees traveled to Atlanta George from April 27th to April 30th for the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings (NRAAM). This is one of the main events of the firearms world. Hank Williams Jr., Chris Janson, Josh Thompson, Lindsay Ell, Cary Barlowe, Matthew West, a conference with Kellyanne Conway, and a visit from the President of the United States were some of the highlights of the show. The centerpiece of NRAAM was the exhibitors. Almost every major firearms company you can imagine was in attendance. For 4 days, Atlanta was the center of the firearms world and SDI was in the middle of it all.

The SDI booth lineup of presenters read like a who’s who of the firearms world. We Like Shooting, Tim Harmsen of the Military Arms Channel, Kimberly Intagliata of Taurus Holdings, Inc., Jeremiah Savoy of Savoy Leather, Modern Spartan Systems, Keybar, professional shooter and six-time Open National Speed Shooting Champion KC Eusebio, Hickok 45, Joe Meaux of Aklys Defense, 22 Plinkster, and the loudest, most obnoxious prize wheel to ever set foot in an exhibit hall were all at the SDI booth. In case that list was a bit overwhelming, we can summarize by saying that the SDI booth was a place to be. Did we mention Taurus also gave away a PT111 Millennium G2?

The SDI staffed booth stayed on their feet through the entire conference with special giveaways like the Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 as well as SDI swag and prizes from our many presenters. SDI Vice President of Growth and Marketing Jennifer McInnis stated that one of the highlights for her was the number students that visited the SDI booth during the show. The enthusiasm showed by former, current and future students of our school demonstrated that what we are doing matters. This enthusiasm has also given our staff an extra fire to keep growing our programs and improving our curriculum to provide the highest value education possible for our students.

If you happened to catch one of our many live video feeds you can see the enthusiasm was contagious around the SDI booth during the NRAAM show. 5 seconds into watching one of Garett Bischoff’s videos and you can see the energy that he and the rest of the SDI crew brought. It’s not just the students and staff that crowded the SDI booth during the show. SDI Executive Vice President of Product and Placement Zeke Stout stated that one of his favorite parts of the show was the level of recognition SDI is gaining within the industry, and not just with students. Building relationships in the firearms industry like our recent partnership with Taurus along with our many established relationships, (which can be seen here) affects the school greatly. Zeke first noticed our chemistry during the setup for the NRAAM show. “Right off the bat, the team came together. There is a certain amount of chaos that goes into setting up a booth and despite that, the SDI team encountered nothing but positivity and teamwork. It was really impressive to see.” SDI Industry Relations Chief Dale Grinage noticed the energy as well. “The turnout was pretty incredible. There were a lot of companies coming to us at the show. They want to be a part of what we do here.”

The team from Sonoran Desert Institute came away from the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings with a drive to make our great program better. Vice President of Growth and Marketing Jennifer McInnis noted the conversations taking place. “We have a lot of great things going on but we came out of this having conversations on how to make our curriculum even better. We want to increase the opportunities that we have for students. We don’t ever want to stop improving.”

As the doors closed in Atlanta, Georgia our SDI team walked away with sore feet and a goal to not only keep doing what we are doing but to keep doing those things better. We would like to thank those that attended our booth at the show and remind those that could not attend to keep an eye on our news feed for shows near you.

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KC Eusebio With Trophy

Shooter Spotlight: KC Eusebio

Sonoran Desert Institute sponsored shooter KC Eusebio has been called a freak, a phenom, and just about everything else that is said about people with extraordinary talent. In the world of speed shooting, he is one of the greats. But to say he is a freak is far from the truth. Thousands of hours and exceptional discipline have created this shooter and he is a creature of his own design.

KC made the decision to start competitively shooting at eight years old. In fact, he grew up on the shooting range. “There’s pictures of my little bald head at the shooting range, sitting there eating rocks and chasing snakes,” he reminisced. His father was a masterclass competitive shooter and a professional gunsmith, and once KC decided he wanted to shoot competitively, his father took to coaching as well. Though just a boy, KC Eusebio began to do daily strength training, like pushups and squats, as well as various cardio exercises. Every night after school KC would practice drawing and dry firing his handgun 300 times. The gun was even loaded with a weighted magazine to make sure it felt like a loaded firearm. Tuesdays and Thursdays, KC’s father would pick him up in “the old Nissan King Cab” and take him to the range for training. Saturdays and Sundays were competition days and the entire family would pack up and drive to the nearest competitive shooting event. KC was responsible for collecting his brass and reloading all his rounds. At a young age, KC took on a lot of responsibility, but it was something he wanted.

His work paid off. At 10 years old, KC Eusebio was the youngest USPSA Master, by 12 the youngest Grandmaster, and by 15 he became the youngest person to win a speed shooting title. At 18 years old, thanks to the strict guidance of his father, KC said he was where he needed to be as a shooter. He decided next to enlist with the United States Army, joined the Army Marksman Unit, and served for the next four years.

Team Glock sponsored KC shortly after he got out of the Army and the spotlight soon followed with his appearance on the show Hot Shots. KC was entertaining on the show—famous for wanting to look cute in his lavender shirt and confident attitude. It did not hurt his reputation that he also won the championship in Season 2 of the show, and broke the world record during a showdown with shooter Max Michel.

KC continued to shoot for Team Glock until 2014 when his contract ended. That’s when Sonoran Desert Institute jumped to sponsor this young man. KC is currently competing year-round as well as teaching. His ambitions have shifted a little as he has grown and matured. As a young man, his primary focus was to win. He wanted to dominate the sport as a competitor. He has since broadened his goals and seeks to educate the public about firearms as well as spread the word of speed shooting. “You know, I’ve achieved everything I ever wanted to in speed shooting. I’m still competing but I really want to grow the sport.”

“I’m trying different things now. I practice using my left hand, different foot positioning during obstacle drills, or new ways to lean while acquiring a target,” said KC on his current practice schedule. Crediting his father’s strict discipline in making him the man he is today, KC has expanded on that. He is now a shooter of his own design and he is obsessive with perfecting his craft. KC’s view on firearms is that they are tools that must be owned with discipline and responsibility. Even when it comes to introducing children to the safe handling of firearms, KC believes in absolute safety. “You know, it’s really dangerous to introduce firearms as a toy. I was not even allowed to point a toy gun near a person or it was a quick smack on the top of the head. I’m glad I was taught the responsibility of firearms. Kids need to know how serious it is.”

Having 20 years of experience has obviously made KC an excellent shooter. Watching him compete is incredible. While he is always innovating, he says the hardest part is the mental side of shooting. In a recent session with the U.S. Army, he had this to say, “There’s not much I can teach those guys regarding tactics. They are all very well trained by their instructors. I am there to teach them shooting fundamentals. The mental game. It’s the hardest part. I teach them to shut off their brain and use their training. It’s amazing how much more accurate and quick their shooting is when they learn to control the mental aspect of shooting.”

KC Eusebio is only 28 years old but carries himself as he is: a 20-year veteran of shooting sports. He is a fierce competitor and keeps a heavy regimen of practice, physical fitness, teaching, and competing. For SDI, having an affiliation with KC the last few years has been an honor and a privilege. We can’t wait to see what he does in the next few years as he continues to grow. You can track KC’s stellar career through our updates at or on KC’s homepage .

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Featured Grad Banner

Feature Grad: Ian Simpson

“I was working a dead-end job,” said Ian Simpson in a recent phone interview. This is the same epiphany a lot of people have, but what makes Ian exceptional is that he took action to change the situation. He already had a family but really wanted to do something to give to the world around him. So, he joined the United States Army. But once enlisted, he felt there was still more to be done and began thinking What can I do with my life? As a result, Ian enrolled at Sonoran Desert Institute and this February he graduated.

Now Ian Simpson is SDI’s Feature Grad. And selecting him was easy, as he is one of the most engaging and enthusiastic students in recent memory—and his energy is contagious.

After enlisting in the Army, Ian wanted to earn a college degree. He had enrolled in college once before but quickly realized the coursework did not apply to him. For Ian, it was not a matter of his ability to do the work; he just wasn’t into it. This all changed when he met one of SDI’s Education Liaison Officers (ELO) at a base career fair.

“I’m walking around and I see an AR-15 on a table at a career fair. I had to stop,” said Ian. He had always been interested in firearms, and field stripping a rifle was one of his favorite activities. In fact, he was typically first in line to tinker with any mechanism that launched a projectile. Talking to SDI’s ELO he thought, Wow, I can actually get a degree and take classes that really interest me! From there, one of the hardest parts for Ian was making himself enroll in school, but he really wanted a degree and so went for it. Ian found the classes to be challenging but enjoyable. He started out with the Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate program, but after SDI became reapproved for use of Active Duty Military Tuition Assistance (TA) for its Associate’s degree program, he transferred to it. For Ian, this degree was highly important.

Ian did his research before enrolling. What impressed him the most was when he checked up on SDI’s instructors. “They had a lot of qualifications. They were competitive shooters and professional gunsmiths,” he said. These same instructors further impressed him with their responsiveness while he was taking classes. “I can only think of one time that an instructor didn’t respond within a couple of hours. I even had an instructor respond to me at like 9 p.m.” Adding to his surprise, there were individualized responses on his papers. “Honestly, I was shocked that they had obviously read through each report in full…they must have had a lot of papers submitted. That’s a lot of work!”

Ian also found it helpful that the school is supportive of its military students. On one occasion, Ian’s duty in the Army interfered with his ability to deliver work on time. He received an immediate response from his instructor saying that it was completely understood and to hand in his work when finished with his obligations.

Through his two years in SDI’s program, Ian put in a lot of effort. His house did not have WiFi® and he ran between his home, McDonald’s®, and the library—anywhere that he could get a connection. He maintained a balance between the military, school, his wife, and two children. And what was he most thankful for during this busy time? “Man, my wife was really supportive and understanding.

Ian plans on making a career out of the military and will be enlisted for a total of 20 years. He is currently expanding his knowledge base by working on the firearms of friends and family. His favorite tasks are working with antique firearms, hunting rifles, and shotguns. Crediting SDI, Ian has developed a comfort to dive into any rifle or handgun because he knows he has the tools to fix it or how to do the proper research to figure it out. He does have one hang-up, though. “I wish I could keep those training videos on me.” Being a visual learner, Ian found those videos to be especially helpful.

There is now a framed college degree on Ian Simpson’s wall. Even so, he doesn’t feel like he’s finished. “I may want to go for a business degree down the road, but I feel like I have great fundamentals from the business course at SDI.” Someday, Ian would like to open his own sporting goods and outdoor survival shop. But for now, he is keeping himself sharp by repairing hunting firearms and antiques. Given his strong record, we have no doubt that when Ian decides to take action on business school or opening a store, he will be successful.

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Zachary Wannarka and Michael Paez

Field Study Report: Sons of Liberty Gun Works

Zachary Wannarka was looking for a career change. He started looking for ways to break into firearm industry but without experience in law enforcement or military service it proved rather difficult to get a foot in the door. Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) became an avenue for him to gain experience as well as attend a field study internship with Sons of Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW) based in San Antonio, Texas. This is his story.

Growing up, his dad owned some firearms but Zachary had never shot nor had he taken it seriously. Starting at 21 years old, Zachary bought a handgun and began teaching himself to shoot. After 15 years of developing his knowledge with firearms he decided to enroll in Sonoran Desert Institute. While investigating the SDI website he noticed our field study program and saw that one of our locations was in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas and he enrolled in the program before his graduation. While the location was perfect, what Zachary liked most was the company’s philosophy and products. “The Military mindset of doing things right and for the good guys was really appealing” said Zachary.

On his arrival at Sons of Liberty Gun Works Zachary let the company know he had done his homework. He had familiarized himself with their product lineup and set about earning their trust on the machinery. The staff approached Zachary in “broad strokes” and started by familiarizing him with the individual components he would be working with. Zachary built a lower receiver and moved on to the upper receiver right away. After building an entire AR15 from the ground up he permitted to test fire it at their facility. Performing proper prep work like degreasing, etching and texturing surfaces for cerakote was a big learning experience for Zachary as he did not have any previous experience with cerakote. In total, he spent 5 weeks with Sons of Liberty Gun Works and loved every minute of it. When asked which skills he found most improved with his experience, he said enthusiastically “ALL OF THEM”. He likened his experience to “building a Ferrari instead of just doing the oil changes”.

Zachary came away from his field study experience realizing how much of a benefit it is to gain hands on training at a place like Sons of Liberty Gun Works. Working beside experts in the AR-15 platform proved indispensable. He stated his impressions of the company “SOLGW AR-15’s are top of the line”. Using the education and the kits from Sonoran Desert Institute enabled him to jump in and be productive with his time on field study.

​​​​​​​ Zachary has an expected graduation date of mid-April 2017 from Sonoran Desert Institute. “This was definitely the right move for me” said Zachary about his experience taking classes from SDI. He found the application to his field study program with Sons of Liberty Gun Works to be quick and easy. It was a blessing to have a location in the same town and enabled him to juggle the field study, life obligations and his current employer. Zachary expressed a lot of praise for the SDI program and credited his student adviser for helping him along the way. He is currently finishing his program by working on the 1911 capstone project.

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KC Eusebio

SDI is Keeping Busy

With first place medals and record turnouts, the Sonoran Desert Institute team was busy in March. Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) is constantly traveling the country, whether it’s to help, inform, recruit, educate, or to compete in the case of our sponsored shooters. If you’ve been following the SDI newsletter you may already know about our success. These stories should be a good reminder to keep following our story.

“We are going back next year and we are definitely bringing a bigger booth!”

Garett Bischoff, SDI’s Chief Education Liaison, sounded almost giddy when he started talking about the attendance of the Arizona Game & Fish Outdoor Expo which took place on March 24-25, 2017. “We were expecting maybe 30,000 people through the entire weekend, but that ended up just being Saturday afternoon. Sunday was almost as busy!” (View our videos of the Outdoor Expo)

It’s understandable that Garett was so excited. He’s been traveling nearly 200 days per year as one of SDI’s most public faces and was confident the Outdoor Expo was one of the biggest and best organized events we have attended. Garett was joined at the Outdoor Expo by Education Liaisons Ed Jauch and Dustin Johnson who ran the booth for the duration of the expo. The Arizona Game & Fish Expo was amazing, but it was not the only activity from our dedicated SDI team.

Our sponsored shooter KC Eusebio won and he won big. KC , who “gained fame from his performance in Hot Shots,” traveled to the South River Gun Club in Covington, GA to compete against 472 other shooters. The Steel Nationals are regarded with prestige among shooters and SDI is grateful to have KC Eusebio representing our school.

How did KC perform? He won both Carry Optics with a total time of 88.19 and the prestigious Steel Master Title as well as winning the 22 Rimfire Optics division with a total time of 62.66. Proving why we like Mr. Eusebio so much, he remained humble. “I didn’t have the best performance but hard work and the best equipment carried me to that first-place finish,” he said. KC will not be resting on his laurels. As you read this he is traveling, teaching and competing all over the country.

Outdoor Expos, Steel Nationals, and Sonoran Desert Institute wasn’t even close to finished with March. Our Educational Liaison team also attended 10 events in Texas, Illinois, California, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma. These events let the SDI team consult, educate and chat with current service members, service members transitioning into civilian life, service member families, and masses of the general public. In one month, the SDI team has covered multiple events in over 7 states and won several shooting titles. The year is just getting started so imagine what else we might accomplish in 2017!

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SDI's Troy Hardwick

SDI’s Hardwick Goes the Distance. Twice!

Actions always speaks louder than words, and Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) Teaching Assistant and Quality Control Specialist Troy Hardwick personally honored the brave men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces through his recent actions by going above and beyond the call of duty.

Troy recently ran the Honoring Our Heroes Half Marathon, but he didn’t just lace up his running shoes and complete the course. He ran the half-marathon in full combat gear which included an AR-15 rifle and 45-pound backpack; and immediately after crossing the finish line, he turned back and ran the course in reverse, to find the last runner. Upon reaching that person, he accompanied them to the finish line to symbolize the American military credo that “we leave no one behind.”

After he crossed the finish line for the second time, a uniformed officer removed a flag from Troy’s backpack which he had carried during the race. The flag was formally presented to Ray Horton, a WWII veteran who served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines, and Air Force veteran and Heroes Marathon founder Bob Gravley.

“I went in with the intent of honoring our service members — past, present and future — and with a hope of inspiring people to get out and run, jog or walk the event,” said Hardwick. “What I myself gained from the experience was very profound and unexpected.”

“My inspiration from the event was a young lady named Hannah Monroe from Salem, Mo., who has cerebral palsy,” explains Hardwick. “She stayed ahead of me for the first six miles of the course. I eventually caught her and when her pace could no longer match mine, she asked to hold my hand…..she said I was her inspiration and she was not going to quit. So I held her hand for the next few miles, through the hills and cold, blowing winds. Some walkers caught us around mile 10 and said they would watch her while I completed the race, as it was known I was going to turn around at the finish and return to the last runner. My race continued and I finished around four hours…and turned around. I dropped my gear (and weapon) off with a police sergeant and headed back to the last runner. Roughly two- to three miles back was Hannah, struggling to make it 100-200 feet before having to rest and stretch. So we paced her to the finish line. At the entrance to the finish area, where the flagged ropes begin, she asked us to let her go so she could finish the race unassisted. Hannah was able to run across the finish line and was the hero of the marathon. She inspired those who had set out to inspire.”

An Army veteran of 20 years, Troy served most of years overseas with deployments in Macedonia with the United Nations, Bosnia with NATO, one year in Afghanistan; five years in Germany; four years in South Korea; and three years in Okinawa, Japan. While stateside, he served two years at Fort Stewart, Ga., and spent three years as an instructor at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He retired from active service in 2013, and is currently an active member of the volunteer Missouri Defense Force which serves to protect citizens in case of natural disaster or civil unrest.

Congratulations, Troy! We’re proud you’re on the SDI team.

For more information on Heroes Marathon, visit


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