Former Deputy Sheriff and Army Reservist turned License Massage Therapist, I have definitely lived a varied life. I know that massage and bodywork are very personal and intimate forms of therapy and I believe that everyone should have some insight into who is working on them. Below is an abbreviated autobiography of who I am and where I came from.
I was born in Fort Bragg an Army brat and am the son of a disabled veteran who was an Army Airborne Ranger Infantry Commander of an Airborne Ranger Infantry company in Fort Benning. After my dad was disabled while deployed during Operation Desert Storm and my family moved to Birmingham after he was medically discharged.
I attended Vestavia Hills High School, where I competed in track and cross county. My first job was working at a movie theater (primarily at the concession stand) for two years. I have far more pride at my second job, where I worked at the Children's Fresh Air Farm, a camp for underprivileged youth in the greater Birmingham area, where I served as the Arts and Crafts Director, the Pottery Director, the Tower Director (teaching rappelling/rock climbing), and a cabin counselor for the "Roadrunners" (6 year olds rock!). This was a very enriching experience being that my parents had met at that camp when they worked as camp counselors and later were married in the open wooden chapel on the campground.
I graduated from UAB with a baccalaureate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences (In Justice Science with a minor in psychology). I enjoyed interning with the Family Court in the Gun Court Probation Service and the next summer with the Homewood Police Department.
I was not certain that I wanted to go into law enforcement as I neared graduation, and got a call from an Army recruiter who told me the army would pay for law school. I chose to be trained as a military paralegal believing that I would learn how to research law and see if I was interested in further pursuing that career path. I wasn't! And I applied for law enforcement positions when I graduation Basic Combat Training and JAG Paralegal School and returned home.
I finished one last remaining class to get my degree and was hired by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, where I was deputized and attended the Jefferson County Sheriff's Academy. I spent over five years serving Jefferson County through the Sheriff's Office where I spent the vast majority of that time babysitting grown adults in the Jefferson County Jail, beside the Birmingham Art Museum. I was there during the County Bankruptcy Crisis and worked through severe personnel shortages. It was definitely a high pressure time in my life as I would often run the 8th level (usually by myself) overseeing around 255 violently classified male inmates. There were some nights where we had 12 to 14 deputies running a jail with over 1,500 inmates housed. Over time, and a series of unfortunate events, I realized that my loyalty, dedication, and ironclad work ethic were not valued and I was not willing to give them the remaining 25 years until county retirement... and chose to seek another path where I could help people. I do not miss law enforcement and my only regret is that I gave them as much time as I did. But I learned a lot during my time there, and further grew in areas that I needed. And for that, I'm grateful.
My initial plan was to go into personal training. I love physical fitness and I loved leading fitness sessions in company formations in the military. Below are some small glances into my fitness journey.
I obtained two training credentials and was looking for work when I began to consider ways to supplement a potential high turnover rate with clients in the fitness industry. One of the personal trainers I followed through social media was also a massage therapist. I checked into it was fell completely in love with the therapy and ministry of massage and bodywork. I am one of only two students to graduate from the Birmingham Aveda Institute's short lived Massage Therapy program and was fortunate to receive almost one-on-one training with a passionate instructor, Amy Self, who had fifteen years of experience in the field when she taught me.
I still love learning bodywork techniques and different therapeutic approaches to addressing a variety of problems. The state of Alabama require 15 continuing education credit hours for renewing my license. I have 146 CEUs through 196 hours of additional training. I'm signed up for another 112 CEUs through February 2018. I fully intend to keep growing in this field.