Norfolk, VA

I started working out in 2004 to lose weight to get within Navy Fitness standards. My body fat was too high and I was in danger of losing my career over it. I met a local former bodybuilder and started training at his gym. He helped me lose enough weight to be within standards but then encouraged me to find something else to work toward. I saw a flyer for a bodybuilding competition on base and decided to try it. I did my first competition in 2005 and fell in love with the sport.

I competed as from 2005 - 2012 greatly improving my physique. I won my first overall title in 2010 at the OCB Tidewater Natural and nearly missed winning a natural pro card at the OCB Battle for Tidewater.

My wife was pregnant with our first child during that competition so I decided I was going to take a break from competition for a couple of years. A big lifelong aspiration for me was to be a dad and I was very excited. We were going to name him after my all time favorite Chicago Cubs pitcher, Greg Maddux. We decided his name would be Maddox.

Unfortunately after 40 weeks and 2 days of a completely healthy pregnancy Maddox stopped moving just 2 days before we were to check into the hospital to deliver him. We had to instead check into the hospital to deliver our sleeping angel.

After this my mental health took a huge down turn. Getting to be a dad was really important to me and it did not know if so would ever get the chance again. The impact of the loss gave me large amounts of anxiety. I constantly found myself peaking around the corner looking for the next bad thing to happen so I could prevent it. I was in a constant state of distress and pain. I was also in a leadership role in the Navy and constantly felt like I need to tuck things away and be the person everyone expected before the loss. This sent my mental health to a dark place. After months of dealing with unresolved anxiety and depression from the loss, I was just tired of hurting and being a shell of my former self. I sat in my car one morning contemplating taking my own life. Luckily, I made the decision to immediately drive to base medical and ask for help.

In the coming years I constantly fought mental health issues but I was fighting and that’s all that mattered. Three years after Maddox’s passing I was on deployment talking to a doc because Maddox’s birthday was coming up and I was away from my family. He recommended that I do a special workout on his birthday, so I did. I liked the idea of doing something positive on that day rather than grieving. Every year from that day forward I have used the 8 weeks leading up to his birthday to get on social media and raise money for nonprofits that helped us get through our loss. Then on his birthday I do that same workout I started doing in 2016. The fundraiser is titled the #STRONG4MADDOX challenge.

I never got back on a bodybuilding stage after 2012 because I was busy with my Navy career and constantly trying to get my head in good place. Last year I decided it was time to start working toward my previous physique and several people saw my progress and started encouraging me to compete. So this year I will be getting back on stage for the first time since 2012. For the first time since Maddox.