The Veterans Service Unit at SCI Dallas hosted a Veterans Day ceremony On Nov. 9 to honor combat veterans. More than 100 veteran staff and incarcerated veterans attended the event, with VSU inmates serving as the color guard and master of ceremonies. They also set up a POW/MIA table in honor of service members who were taken prisoner or went missing in action. The keynote speakers were Staff Sgt. Earl Granville and Trooper Alex Douglass.
Sgt. Granville served nine years in the Army National Guard with deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. On his final tour, a roadside bomb took the lives of his teammates and took his left leg. After becoming an amputee and the passing of his brother Joe, who took his own life while they were serving on active duty back in 2010, Granville now spends his time discussing healthy ways to battle adversity, through the positivity in his messaging, real life solutions from his own experiences and participating as an inspiration and motivating force through psychical fitness challenges and marathons across the country. He retired from the Army as a Staff Sergeant with numerous awards such as the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart.
At the ceremony he introduced a better way of being. He emphasized the importance of passion, purpose and being part of something bigger than yourself. Through personal example, he provided the tools needed to redefine your mind to create the space necessary for important positive shifts in your life. VSU inmates gave a big Purple Heart to thank Granville for participating in their ceremony. Granville later he appreciated the laughs and “very real and deep conversations” with the inmates and was shocked by the hard work they put into the gift.
Trooper Douglass told his personal story of how he survived the deadly shooting at the Blooming Grove Barracks in 2014. While Douglass will always live with the reminders of the darkest moment in his life, now he's living in the light, and he shared how he and Granville came to be friends following the amputation of his right leg below the knee and how that support enabled him to transcend his grief and trauma.