My name is Jeremy Jacobs. My mother, a single parent, raised my brother and I in a community in Manitoba called Mafeking. Mafeking is a small community that doesn’t offer much at all but was nice because of its location. It is located in the Porcupine Provincial Forest approximately 600km North West of Winnipeg. The bush was in my back and yard, and offered so much to a kid growing up in a community with nothing. I spent my summers fishing and falls hunting with an uncle and an older gentlemen from the nearest Reserve. Since growing up in a small family who didn’t have much, half way through my grade eleven and twelve, I got a taste of making money working for the Manitoba Conservation fighting fires; that was the end of my education for the time. I spent about three summers doing that and working in the winter for a cousin who owned a logging company.
By this time I realized that I wasn’t going to really have a career without a grade twelve and found out you only need a grade ten to join the Canadian Forces. April of 2004, I signed up for a Program that the Canadian Forces was running; it was called the “Tommy Prince” program. Tommy Prince was the most decorated Aboriginal in the Canadian Forces and they ran this course to try and recruit more Aboriginal people to show them what the military life was like.
After completing all my training I was posted to Shilo, Manitoba, (Western Canada) to the First Regiment of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. In 2007 I started work-up training to go to Afghanistan for 2008. In February of 2008, I flew into Afghanistan where I would stay till September of that year. On my last day, our last road move, I was involved in an Improvised Explosive Device, (IED) where I was exposed to a blast less than fifty meters in front of me that took out an armored vehicle along with the whole road. At the beginning of 2009 my co-workers and family started notice a change in me. Not long after that, I would spend the next two years being treated for Post- traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), Traumatic brain injury (TBI), and loss of hearing in my left ear.
In the fall of 2011 I asked to be released from the Canadian Forces and they allowed me to work at completing my high school starting six months before my release date (February 2013). I’m currently enrolled at the Swan River Adult Education Centre in Swan River, Manitoba. I enrolled in grade twelve Math and English and completed that in December 2012. In January I started working on Geography and a course called Life Work Transition as well I’m taking Physics twice a week in the evenings.
Returning back to school was a big change and challenge for me or anyone who goes from full time work to full time student. I not only had to adjust to the different life but also with the stress that after suffering a head injury was I going to be able to retain what I will learn in school day to day. With half the School year left and nothing but positive outlook, I wish I would have done this years ago and not waited so long.