Former Marine talks about overcoming adversity – Fort Carson Mountaineer
By 1st Lieutenant Robin Pyo
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colorado – Motivational speaker Victor Marx visited Fort Carson September 16-17 to share his personal and inspiring story of overcoming adversity with the 4th Infantry Division and the community of Fort Carson.
With him was Scout, a Belgian Malinois of high level security dressed in a dog tactical vest. As the two men silently entered the McMahon Auditorium, the soldiers seated inside turned their heads to look at them in wonder and curiosity.
Marx was over 6 feet tall with broad shoulders in a dark blue suit. The former Special Operations Forces Navy captivated audiences with light jokes and demonstrated his skill in quickly disarming firearms with a volunteer. He also introduced Scout and described her as “a biting therapy dog”.
Once the audience warmed up, Marx told the story of his difficult childhood. He described it as marked by physical and sexual abuse, several stepfathers and several house and school moves. He shared gruesome details about some of the physical torture he suffered as a child and mentioned his encounters with drugs and suicide attempts.
Despite the tension in the auditorium, he spoke about his personal experiences, incorporated humor throughout his story, and shared some of the reasons he was able to overcome his past.
He said having a disciplined military life, practicing his religion and marrying a wonderful woman all helped him get to where he is today. He said he was able to avoid dwelling on his trauma and dark state of mind, by keeping his thoughts “captive”.
“Never give up, never give up,” he said. “Allowing negative thoughts like ‘you’re stupid and you’re worth nothing’ to run through your mind only pushes you down a spiral, but if you take a little moment to pause and think it does have an impact. huge. Capture those thoughts. Hold them captive and ask yourself, “Where did this come from?”
Pvt. Gorge Hernandez with the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, agreed and said, “The battle starts in the head. “
“It doesn’t have to be from a deployment,” Hernandez added. “Anything can be mental and happen here (at Fort Carson), but I’ve learned that what (might) help (fight this) is to be closer to my friends and relatives and move on from there. ‘before.”
Soldiers going through similar struggles or going through difficult times can understand Marx’s story and see that they can overcome adversity as well.
“Marx provided the soldiers with another perspective and (it is) a powerful testament to the ability to win no matter how difficult the experience,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Knoedler, chaplain, 4th Inf. Div.
Participants were surprised to find that they weren’t there to listen to a typical training briefing, but a deep, personal life story with a lesson. All eyes were on Marx as he spoke. The crowd gasped as he recounted his traumatic childhood memories and applauded for his heartwarming and funny anecdotes. For many people, her story struck a chord with their own experiences.
“He immediately caught my attention and was an inspiration,” said Pfc. Lucero Gonzalez, with 52nd BEB, 2nd SBCT. “I am 33 years old and I just joined the army last year. I didn’t end up like the people I grew up with, and I fought to be where I am now. I always go through difficult situations, so it was nice (to hear his story) and to identify with him.
Staff Sgt. Monisa McKay, religious affairs specialist with 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., Spoke with tears coming to her eyes.
“Her story was genuine, sincere and relatable,” McKay said. “I have been hurt before and it takes time, but I am learning to forgive.”
Although Marx may have had every reason to be angry with the world and the people who hurt him, he forgave them.
“My favorite weapon is forgiveness,” said Marx. “(To forgive means) to give up your right to hurt someone who has hurt you.”
Today, Marx lives with many accomplishments, including holding a seventh degree black belt in karate, being the fastest weapons disarmer in the world, and becoming an author and filmmaker of several works. He runs a high-risk humanitarian program and travels the world with Scout, relieving the trauma of thousands of people suffering from the after-effects of terrorism and sex trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder. As an individual who has overcome the pain of his past, Marx uses his story as a catalyst to help others do the same.
Marx said there was only one thing he hoped the soldiers would take away from his presentation, “hope.”