‘I thought it was going to be the worst Christmas ever but it turned out to be the best. I want to thank Teresa at Walking With The Wounded and everyone who donated for their support – I really didn’t think anyone cared. I was so wrong.’
In 2006, Obi was working as a room service attendant at a hotel in London but he wanted a job in security and a more sustainable career. He had always thought about joining the Army and so after a few of his friends had joined up he decided to apply too. In 2007, at the age of 27, Obi started his training at Catterick and became a Rifleman and Unit Medic in 2 Rifles.
He was sent to Kosovo in 2008 and was then deployed to Operation Herrick 10 in Afghanistan in 2009. It was a devastating tour. He witnessed many good friends and colleagues being injured and killed. One very close friend was severely wounded in a bomb blast and Obi provided medical assistance and tried to revive him – Obi was sure that he had saved him and that he would survive. His friend tragically died of his injuries and the events of that day later came back to haunt Obi.
In 2014, Obi was medically discharged. Back on Civvy Street, Obi got on with his life - with work as an HGV driver, with family life and bringing up his kids. Things were fine until he attended the funeral of a former Army colleague who had committed suicide. Obi began to experience the effects of PTSD and was in a very bad place. He was drinking heavily, he was depressed, withdrawn and reached rock bottom. When Obi got into trouble with the police, he was referred to Project Nova for help and assigned a case worker.
On the 20th
December last year, his case worker popped by Obi’s home to see how he was. She
found him broken and about to give up. His children, too young to understand,
were excited and looking forward to Santa visiting and bringing them
presents. It was heart breaking; they didn’t know that there would be no
presents and no food.
But then a remarkable event happened and it changed everything.
Just before Christmas last year, an outpouring of compassion and good will from the people of Yorkshire and beyond, turned his life around. Donations were given in response to a story about a veteran and his family who were having a bad time – he was suffering from PTSD and they had no presents to give their young children and no food for Christmas Day. Obi’s caseworker at Project Nova had posted an urgent plea for help on social media.
At the time Obi wanted to remain anonymous but now he wants to share his story, to use it to help other veterans and to thank Walking With The Wounded and all those members of the public who helped make Christmas 2018 very special.
Obi is currently receiving help for his PTSD. He is using his story to raise awareness and to tell other veterans not to give up, to get help and to get in touch with Walking With The Wounded.