My name is Tammy Pederson. I joined the Marine Corps in 1989. My dad, a Marine, served during the Korean War – I knew I’d follow him in service to this great country. Following basic training in Parris Island, I trained at Camp Johnson in administration. I was then stationed at MCRD, San Diego, assigned to work in the Depot Adjutant’s office. I was looking forward to NCO school as well as a MOS change. I developed a bone spur in my heel. I was told it could be easily removed and would heal in a couple weeks. While in surgery, the doctor slipped up. My Achilles tendon was severed. Although quickly repaired while on the operating table, I needed to have my leg in a brace for a minimum of three months. I was notified that my military career would soon be over because of this injury. I was devastated. While awaiting my fate, I was sexually assaulted in my room at the barracks. I will spare you (and myself) the details of this and the aftermath here. All of this took place during the downsizing of the military in 1991/1992. Despite my desire to transfer duty stations, remain in the Marine Corps, medical advice that my foot/let would heal, assistance from JAG, and recommendations from my commanding officers, I was medically discharged in June 1992 with a 10% rating – which was quickly reduced to 0.
After decades of depression and failed personal relationships, I was finally able to reach out for help. I realize now that I am not alone with PTSD/MST. Depression, fear, rejection and denial have been a part of my life for years. Thankfully, I now have a strong relationship with God, a loving husband and successful adult son. I am encouraged to pursue happiness and purpose. I developed an abdominal aneurism in late 2014, and underwent a Whipple surgery in January 2015. Complications and numerous limitations have left me physically unable to work – which compounded my emotional struggles. I love to learn, and have always wanted to grow my own food.
That is where this program comes in. I was seeking gardening advice and came across the website for Frontline Gardens. I called Stephanie and am still in awe at what this program does for veterans and first responders.
I am honored to have been accepted into the program, and look forward to growing and thriving in my life as I watch what I plant and nurture become food for my family and friends. I want to thank all of the volunteers and those that have donated funds for this life changing opportunity. And, I’d like to especially thank Stephanie Trost for making this program a reality.
Honored and blessed,