Author, Until Tuesday (2011)
Recipient of Combat Action Badge
2 Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart
BS in Sociology, University of Maryland
MS in Journalism, Columbia University
Luis Carlos Montalvan: Until Tuesday
The 700 Club
On September 11, 2001, Luis personally witnessed the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. At the time, Luis was enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in college. He volunteered to perform security missions around the D.C. metropolitan area.
In 2003, Luis graduated college and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, KY and deployed to Iraq as a Tank and Scout Platoon Leader, overseeing 80 soldiers. As a newly commissioned second lieutenant, he was responsible for securing and developing the Al Waleed port-of-entry in Iraq in addition to patrolling the Iraqi desert along the Syrian border.
One night in 2003, Luis was patroling a compound when two men leaped out of the darkness and started slashing him with knives. Luis pulled out his gun and shot one man, wounding him. Another soldier killed the wounded attacker. Luis was thrown into a truck, fracturing three vertebrae. He spent the first 24 hours in and out of consciousness.
By the third day, the worst physical wounds were treated. Luis says the real damage was inside. He had 3 cracked vertebrae and traumatic brain injury from the concussion that knocked him out cold. “I have spent countless nights awakened by the faces of my attacker,” he says.
Faced with the choice to leave his platoon or stay and fight, Luis opted to stay. His body started breaking down as he dealt with the searing pain from his injured back. Luis endured sleepless night and a malfunctioning digestive system that left him dehydrated. When he did manage to sleep, Luis had nightmares of ambushes and mortar fire. Luis was experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI) unbeknownst to him. He returned to the US but still experienced debilitating symptoms like splitting headaches and back pain. During counseling sessions, Luis didn’t mention his chronic pain, stress or anxiety. In 2004, Luis signed on for a second tour in Iraq. “The reality of combat wounds is that they’re worse when you’re out of the combat zone,” says Luis.
THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER
He moved to Brooklyn after his second and last tour in 2006. Still unable to move beyond his trauma, Luis spiraled downward, becoming anxious and paranoid. He barely left his apartment. In 2008, Luis received an email offering service dogs to veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan who were suffering from PTSD, brain or physical injuries. Luis did some research. “I knew this was a program that would help me. It was a blessing when in November 2008 I was partnered with Tuesday,” he says.
The non-profit organization, East Coast Assitance Dogs trains the dogs for 2 years and partners them with people with disabilities. “Tuesday was like manna from heaven. It was a dark time for me. Tuesday was able to get me out of my apartment,” says Luis. Tuesday has helped Luis get his independence back and helps offset the possibility of Luis having flashbacks. “You’re focused on the dog and the dog is focused on you which helps you live in the moment.” Tuesday is trained to wake him up from nightmares, snuggle on command, retrieve anything, including items he drops or that might be on a kitchen counter. Tuesday walks him up and down stairs and even reminds him to take his medications.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.