Michael Paul Titus born October 31, 1985 in Kissimmee, Florida. A Halloween baby, the youngest of six siblings, and was always the baby of the family, even as he grew into what he considered to be “A Grown Ass Man “. Michael spent most of his life living in Santa Rosa Beach, on Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast, he often spent his days at his favorite beach Blue Mountain Beach with friends and family.
Michael was a loving, caring, considerate and a funny, funny guy with a laugh that could fill a concert hall. His sense of humor got him in more trouble than one can imagine. He had a very dry sense of humor that wasn’t always funny to some of the audiences he was around. One of the stories we remember well was when he was in basic training digging fox holes and he mentioned to his Drill Sargent. “Sir I need a bigger shovel to dig this hole with.” On hearing this the Drill Sargent presented Michael with a very small trowel. He asked Michael how that size would work, and Michael replied, “Sir I wished in one hand and ended up with shit in the other hand.” Michael’s humor did not impress his Drill Sargent and he paid a dear price for his remark.
Sgt Michael Paul Titus served in the Army as a 13F2P Fire Support Specialist with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 2007 to 2014 stationed in Vicenza, Italy. He served four tours in Afghanistan and was medically boarded out with an Honorable Discharge. Michael did not want to leave the service, but he had been wounded in gun fire and could no longer comfortably wear a Kevlar vest and shoot a gun. He suffered with hearing loss and bad knees as a Paratrooper and he struggled with psychological effects after four tours in Afghanistan.
Michael came back to the United States in February 2014 with his wife and two dogs and settled into St. Cloud to begin his life post military service. Things didn’t go so well for Michael, he struggled psychologically with the effects of war and battlefield experiences. Troubling issues included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain injury (TBI), and depression. He was Baker Acted more than once, and was on a merry-go-round on drugs prescribed by the VA. He was fighting a new battle, a war on his own invisible wounds.
On February 7,2016 Michael took his life with a gunshot to his head. Michael was so proud to serve his country, but when he came home, he had great difficulty adjusting to civilian life post military service. He shared with his family many times how he dreamed of starting a nonprofit to help veterans and their families to adapt to civilian life post military service, to give to them the opportunity to thrive not just survive.
Our family’s grief was heavy after Michael died. It is debilitating knowing our son, the brother to his siblings, the baby of the family was now among the 22 veterans every day that commit suicide. That is one veteran every 90 seconds every day, 365 days a year. Those numbers are staggering, and trust me, we never believed our son would ever be one of those statistics.
A few years passed and as we healed our hearts, my husband and I felt the desire and need to take Michael’s dream and make it a reality. Helping veterans and their families to adapt to civilian life post military service, giving them and opportunity to thrive just not survive. In December of 2018 we formed the Non-profit Michael’s Foundation. The mission of Michael’s Foundation is to inspire, engage, and empower veterans and their families to adapt to civilian life post military service. On April 16th we received our 501c3 status and are serving veterans and their families, working to create and provide an empowering, supportive community where veterans and their families go beyond just surviving to thriving.
Sgt. Michael Paul Titus
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