Conversation at the Emerald Cup, December 2019. Jose Belen, Mission Zero Laurance Gaines, Rey’s Cannabis Rion Naus, Central Coast Let it Grow Jose Belen is a decorated United States Army Veteran who served two concurrent combat tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A native of Amsterdam in Upstate New York, nineteen-year-old Jose enlisted after graduating high school. After training, he deployed in 2003 during the initial liberation of Iraq and survived fourteen consecutive months in active combat. After his honorable discharge in 2005, Jose moved to Central Florida, where he began a successful corporate career in the real estate and insurance industries and began a family with his wife Danielle; they have two children. As is expected and abnormal if not experienced after enduring such – horror; Jose experienced the common debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress – secretly and silently. These long struggles intensified in 2016, when the echoes of war nearly robbed him of everything; his career, his family, his own life – via suicide. Jose recognized the threat before he and those he loved; and accepted the irreplaceable help available from the Veterans Administration and other vital sources of relief, rest, reflection, and places of faith – of hope and of love. In a short time, Jose has become a sought after and talented national and international speaker; educating and motivating change for veterans. Jose’s goal is to use his story to inspire others who may be suffering through similar realize that through our own struggles we can find help in the gift that is helping others. Jose believes that everyone’s story matters.