Brian D’Apice is a thirty year old former member of the 82nd Airborne Division who is now bicycling around the perimeter of the United States to raise money for two favorite charities: Pencils of Promise, which builds schools in developing countries, and the National Military Family Association. We are travelling in the same direction with different purposes.
Brian was in tenth grade when 911 occurred. He knew then he wanted to serve in our military. After high school, he enlisted, was deployed n 2004, became a Sergeant, and was deployed again in 2006, the first unit of the Surge.
Brian is one of the most well integrated Iraqi war veterans I’ve met. I asked how he managed to circumvent PTSD. “People with PTSD are not in the present. They are trapped in their minds. I had a strong family unit back home. They provided the gravity that kept me grounded. Not all vets have that support, and they can’t leave what happened behind. They are still living then, instead of living now. When I came home, I had to learn to let go of the tough guy thing, but still keep those traits.”
After his service Brian went to York College in Pennsylvania, majored in marketing but also read a lot of spirituality and self-help. “I got involved in meditation. When I am in the moment, I am bullet-proof.”
After college, Brian taught English in Thailand, where he encountered Pencils of Promise. He also spent time in Taiwan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. “One morning in Vietnam I woke up and knew I had to do this bike ride. Within half an hour the ride was planned.” Months into his ride, Brian still exudes excitement. As he rides he talks with school groups about his passions. So far, he’s raised $17,000 to support his endeavor and his charities.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I’d say we won’t. You can’t live tomorrow. You can only live today. Tomorrow is mind-made. It was invented when we made time.”