My name is Daniel Schrader, but I go by Danny. I served in two different branches over the course of 15 years. I enlisted in the US Navy right out of high school and served 7 years on active duty. I then joined the Army Reserve and served a total of 9 years as a parachute rigger and an MP. I deployed to Iraq from 2007-2008 and left the service as a sergeant. I currently live in my home state of Arizona and am a proud 4th generation native of this great state.
When I left the Army Reserves, I found myself with very little to do to stay occupied. I was physically hurt, and carried a lot of anger and hatred from my deployment. I began tinkering around with woodworking, and found that it was not only therapeutic, but that it kept my mind focused and brought out some creativity that I never knew I possessed. My transition back to civilian life wasn’t easy, but anything worth doing takes work. I began a relationship with a girl that I knew and dated when we were in high school in Flagstaff. She would eventually become my wife, my best friend and my rock. We have a large blended family and they constantly remind me of what is important in life, and I am very grateful for them. We have three daughters and a son, and 5 grandchildren. Our family is a crazy mix of fun and laughter, and sometimes tears, but having the core that we do, we can all lean on each other when we need to. They have continued to give me purpose and direction.
My hobbies include woodworking, hunting and camping. I absolutely love being outdoors, and enjoying the things that nature has provided. I live for hunting season and am trying to pass that passion and interest on to my son in the hopes that he will be my hunting partner very soon. I love trying to build new things and challenge myself, and am eventually going to try my hand at building custom knives.
I am walking in the 22 for 22 for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, to raise awareness of the plague of veteran suicides that we face day in and day out. It is a sad fact that I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I have to combat, and during the walk, I will make time to think about each of those men who were courageous in battle, and pay tribute to them by completing the walk. As with most of my other activities, I am doing this to challenge myself as well. I know that it is going to be extremely hard to complete, but I have resigned myself to the fact that I can do it, and I will do it. I want to show other veterans that quitting isn’t an option, and that we can push ourselves to do things we didn’t think were possible. Hopefully that message will translate into the fact that there is ALWAYS another option than suicide. One of my favorite sayings is, “I didn’t say it would be easy; I said it would be worth it.” That exemplifies how I feel about this challenge, and the challenge of preventing veteran suicides.