In June 2002 Connie Johnson enlisted in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer. She was stationed with the 101st AirAssulat Division out of Ft. Campbell Ky and was placed with the 101st Military Police Combat Company. Her unit deployed to Iraq in March of 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During her deployment, Connie conducted missions such as POW camps, convoy security, and personal security for the higher enlisted and officers. While serving as a gunner on a personal security mission, Connie's convoy was targeted by an Improvised Exploding Device, 2 individuals were injured. One was Connie who took shrapnel to the left side of her neck. Today, Connie has a large scar, numbness, and paralysis to portions of her neck and face from the injury.
"I knew the signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but would not admit to anyone I was experiencing any of them. To me, admitting I was weak was not an option. If I admit I didn't come out of the experience of war without scars, I felt I was admitting that I wasn't strong enough as a soldier, a woman, or a military member, so I hid it.
My symptoms became worse as time went on. Anything military-related would cause me to weep. I felt a sense of loneliness deep into my soul, and that no one on earth knew how I felt. I had no idea what to do about it. In my mind, to speak about the emotional pain I was suffering and to look deep into the darkest place of my being, that had been hidden for 10 years+, was the cause of great defeat.
Now, I have found solace in the outdoors and started Freedom Acres SD with intentions to spread the hope of recovery to others. I feel the earth can heal us if we learn how to let it."