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  • My Story

    hospitalStanding in my kitchen with duffel bags packed, I could hardly bear the thought of leaving my wife for an uncertain future in Iraq. With tears in her eyes she embraced me for the last time and challenged me with five words that became a defining moment in my life. She said to me, “bloom where you are planted.” I knew exactly what she was asking me to do. For twenty years I had allowed other people and past failures to define the way I saw myself. My thinking had become a mental noose around my neck because I had chosen to believe those misconceptions were true. When my wife uttered those five words it was as if time stood still and a voice from heaven said it’s time to make a change. I then realized that my deployment wasn’t just about doing a job for the Army and then coming home. Rather, it was about transforming my thinking, and beginning to live my life with a new perspective, a new attitude and new outcomes.

    In Iraq, I became known as the “live a life worth living” guy. While speaking to soldiers I often included this phrase at the end of my talks. Although the phrase began as a simple slogan given with the hope of challenging soldiers to think about the meaning and purpose of their mission, it quickly grew into a powerful message that inspired passion in them to make the most of their present reality. This message was so desperately needed for the soldier who couldn’t save his wounded friend with CPR, or the soldier whose marriage fell apart just days before he returned home or the special operator whose life was spared because a friend replaced him on a mission at the last minute. It was in real-life stories like these that the message of “live a life worth living” became a practical tool soldiers were able to use to gain perspective in their darkest hours.

    When I returned home from Iraq, I was compelled to continue sharing my message, but was unsure where to start until I just happened to be watching The Today Show on NBC. The host was interviewing a company that makes t-shirts for teenagers. I was shocked by what I heard. The company was defending their right to make t-shirts that allow teenagers to “express themselves.” The problem was not in the t-shirts being sold. Rather, it was the content of the messages this company was asking teenagers to express. So one year after returning from Iraq I decided to launch a company that will share the “live a life worth living” message. My hope is that through the products and resources offered people will discover what it means to live a life worth living and in turn have the courage to make it a reality in their own life.

    My goal is to enlist thousands of people who will help share this life changing message. If you are interested in joining in this critical mission, there are 3 simple ways you can get started:

    • Share my story with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers
    • Discover what other resources are available on this website
    • Begin sharing my message by purchasing apparel under the online store tab

    What began twenty years ago and culminated in Iraq has given birth to a vision that aspires to change the way people think about life. A portion of everything sold will be used to financially support the ongoing needs of soldiers and families affected from the demands of war.

    Doug Hedrick, Chaplain United States Army Reserves


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