Dustin Schnatz is a Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served two tours in Iraq. Through his service, Dustin and his fellow Marines were exposed to the effects of PTSD. Dustin continues to live with the many struggles of PTSD, one of which is not feeling purposeful. Thankfully, Dustin found purpose by surrounding himself with other veterans who understood his struggle and by giving back to their families.
Serving others allowed Dustin to feel less alone and drove his desire to help; this was further realized when Dustin became the Founder and President of Project Build Up, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the home lives of wounded veterans with ongoing mobility issues. It was through networking for Project Build Up that Dustin crossed paths with Will Owens, a fellow Marine Corps Veteran who shared a similar background and struggle with PTSD.
Through shared stories, it became evident that supporting others through their various struggles, actually enhanced their own self therapy. For Dustin, spontaneity and adventure strengthened his motivation to continue experiencing what life has to offer. So, when Will, who uses running as an outlet, shared his desire to create awareness of PTSD and PTSD influenced suicide among veterans, by running across the country, Dustin was the perfect companion to keep Will motivated along the way.
This journey is as much about Dustin and Will individually, as it is about the feeling of purpose they are evoking in each other and the strength within a community.
- Meet "Konsin"
Dustin would have never reached his point of feeling purpose by helping others without the companionship of his dog, Konsin, who was ever reliant upon Dustin and provided the drive to live for adventure and fun. In return, Dustin received the unconditional affection he needed to keep going. Konsin is embarking on this journey as a reminder that a supportive best friend is just a face lick away!