Growing up in Mid-Michigan, Douglas joined the Michigan Army National Guard in 2001 as a Field Artilleryman as a senior in high school… the same year of the September 11th terrorist attacks. His Army National Guard unit was deployed as C182 Military Police (SECFOR) unit in Oct 2004.In January 2005, after being sent to Baghdad, Iraq and serving as his Company Commander’s gunner he was severely wounded on the day of September 15th, 2005 by a suicide car bomber.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Still a piece of shrapnel in his brain
No eyesight in his left eye
Ear was blown off in the explosion
Mulitple Facial Fractures Wrist and Hand Broken Bones
Thumb was blown off in the explosion
1st, 2nd, 3rd degree burns
During the 14th month long reconstructive process at Ft Sam Houston, Douglas found hope and strength in Jesus Christ. He went through painful surgeries and therapy always drawing close to the Lord. The times he felt he was closest to death, both on the battlefield in Iraq and in the hospital bed of Brooke Army Medical Center; the Lord was even nearer still. He now has a calling to tell of the hope, joy, peace and strength that a true relationship with Jesus Christ can bring. With a positive attitude, a never give up mentality, strong family and his faith in Christ, Douglas has overcome, persevered and endure life’s most difficult challenges and now share his story in order to inspire others, help them overcome, and create resilient Christ focused men, women, and children.
Awards & Recognition
“[WILL] HAVE PEOPLE ON THEIR FEET APPLAUDING, WHEN HE IS DONE.”
“Your message, and the most professional manner that you delivered that message as a wounded Iraqi war combat veteran, was very touching to all who heart it. The Dow Event Center sat still, as you spoke about your experiences and how you called on your Faith, family and friends to overcome…
In my 32 years of business management, I have never heard a more compelling message of Faith, Prayer and Commitment to Country. Your postivie attitude and message of hope and perseverance inspired all of us that listened to you as you filled many eyes with tears…
I recommend very highly to any business, organization of Faith based program, to invest in hiring U.S. Army Sgt(Ret) Doug Szczepanski for a speaking engagement that will surely have people standing on their feet applauding, when he is done.”
— Craig Goslin, Saginaw Spirit Foundation
“Staff and students are still talking about your story and how you were able to cope after encountering a very traumatic event.”
“Douglas Szczepanski on behalf of the Detroit VA Suicide Prevention Program and VA Medical Center, we want to thank you for sharing your story. Your delivery was so engaging and educational. You are a very effective speaker and we appreciate you taking time to educate the staff when working with Veterans who’s experienced trauma. Staff and students are still talking about your story and how you were able to cope after encountering a very traumatic event. Thank you so much for an enlightening and stimulating presentation..”
— Angela T Griffin, Department of Veteran Affairs
"Thank you for sharing the importance of faith, family, honor, and duty."
“Standish-Sterling Middle School students had the GREAT pleasure of listening to Douglas Szczepanski, Jr. share his story. Thank you for sharing the importance of faith, family, honor, and duty. The students keep talking about all they heard and learned from you. Thank you for your time and for blessing all of us!”
— Janine Reese, Standish Middle School Teacher
"all students commented on how funny and warm you are despite some tragic events in your life."
“I just wanted to write and THANK YOU for making and taking the time to come and speak to my US History Students about your personal experiences in the Military as part of our Veteran’s Day Celebration 2014. I know the students really enjoyed meeting you and learning about a life of service firsthand. You helped make history come alive via the stories, jokes, and events you shared about real historical events of your life as well as those of our nation When we discussed your visit afterwards, all students commented on how funny and warm you are despite some tragic events in your life. I am especially thankful for your personal information you shared involving your job in the military and your love of the Lord!!”
— Connie Beson, Bay City Central High School Teacher
"There is no doubt in my mind that lives will be changed as a result."
“We had Douglas come and speak to our men’s group. He did a wonderful job as he shared his incredible testimony….Douglas also made himself available to pray with anyone desiring prayer when he had finished speaking. Douglas is more than a Christian with a story, he is a minister. I highly recommend having Douglas come in and give his testimony. There is no doubt in my mind that lives will be changed as a result.”
–John J Prominski, Senior Pastor, Resurrection Life Church
"he has impressed me from the first day I met him"
“It was certainly my honor to provide this letter of recommendation for SGT(Ret) Douglas Szczepanski, Jr. I have known Douglas for approximately six years now and he has impressed me from the first day I met him… Douglas is now sharing his story and his journey of faith. I have heard him speak on a variety of occasions. He has a powerful story to tell and he has an equally powerful message to share…. I would recommend Douglas as a speaker at your church or any other venue where you want to hear from a great young American who will make you proud and challenge your hearts.”
–Thomas G Cutler Major General (Ret), Michigan Army National Gaurd
"I wholeheartedly recommend Douglas to you.”
“Douglas recently shared his story on Sunday morning as part of a special service to honor our Veterans. His testimony was captivating, Christ-centered and full of hope. We were honored and blessed to have him speak and look forward to partnering with his ministry in the future. I wholeheartedly recommend Douglas to you.”
–Pastor Ken Cline, Senior Pastor, New Life