Cycle of Giving – A Veteran’s Mission

The infamous saying of “new year, new beginnings” rings true for many of our Sentinels who are currently starting their new higher education programs, semesters, and careers.

One of these driven individuals about to embark on a new journey is recent Sentinel graduate, Deverson Lochard, who, in the words of Sentinels of Freedom Program and Outreach Manager Carol Prell, “is a warm and humble man who would never tell you that he once dined with President Obama or received a Purple Heart for his wounds suffered in combat.”

Deverson is a man with an incredible amount of perseverance and passion who has made it his mission to improve the quality of life for his fellow veterans – and his story has left quite an impression, not only on me but everyone I have talked to who has the pleasure of knowing him.

Gunnery Sergeant Deverson Lochard, US Marine Corps | Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

Deverson’s 12-year military career came to an end when he was severely wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade during a deployment in Iraq. After his recovery and while trying to find a new goal for his post-military journey, he worked closely with our nation’s wounded military members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“I was inspired by the servicemen, who, despite life-changing injuries and after extensive treatment, were able to walk, run, swim, and do things in everyday life we take for granted,” he says. After witnessing the tenacity of his fellow veterans, it did not take long for Deverson to realize his calling; he wanted to help people who had lost their limbs by contributing to the science of improving prosthetics.

Full of determination to accomplish his newfound goal, Deverson enrolled at San Diego State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. However, he soon realized that going to school while trying to provide for his young family would not be as simple as he would have hoped. Unfortunately, this is a realization that too many veterans come to and decide not to pursue their education because of, unable to do so due to the added financial and physical burdens resulting from their injuries.

Not one to give up however, Deverson sought assistance from his network and, with the help of his friend and current Sentinel Mike Bitner, turned to Sentinels of Freedom. After reviewing his application and witnessing his perseverance, we were proud to be able to accept him into our program. “Deverson works incredibly hard. His work ethic coupled with his desire to continually learn and improve himself will make him the ideal employee in any job,” says our Case Manager, Danielle Holmes. “I am inspired and motivated by his positive attitude in the face of setbacks.”

Without having to worry about his family’s day-to-day expenses, Deverson excelled at school and graduated with his degree last month. Now, he has just started a position with Northrop Grumman and is that much closer to his ultimate goal. “The guidance and support provided by Sentinels of Freedom has given my family and me the peace of mind that has allowed me to focus on my education,” he explains. “I would not have completed my degree without the help of Sentinels of Freedom.”

Our ability to help Deverson complete his career and find gainful employment would not have been possible without your help. It is your support that made it all happen. And now, grateful for the help he has received, Deverson wants to in turn help other Sentinels by sharing his skills and experiences. To me, this cycle of giving is incredibly inspiring and something that we see time and time again with our Sentinels—and it all starts with you.

You have the power to enable more life-changing opportunities for wounded veterans like Deverson. To find out how, visit www.sentinelsoffreedom.org.