ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas native Tim Hocut was in 7th grade when he saw 9/11 unfold and decided he’d join the military.
Once he finished high school, it didn’t take long for him to enlist as a military policeman.
“I just thought MP would be the cool thing to do, military police,” Hocut said. “But I came to realize it was a lot harder than what people make it seem.”
It was a tough learning environment for Hocut, who flew out to a U.S. base near Baghdad.
“There were a lot of mortars, a lot of people got injured. In one incident, (it was) was a blast from the mortar,” he said.
That mortar blast turned into a cascade of injuries, and after just a few years, Hocut was medically discharged from the career he wanted to do since middle school.
“When I got out, I was really angry,” Hocut recalled. “I projected it on the world.”
Hocut went into law enforcement when he came back home to Arkansas.
“I went straight into trying to serve again when I should’ve been focusing on myself, should’ve been trying to find myself,” Hocut said.
He quickly realized how difficult it was to go to work every day with that baggage.
“I was constantly trying to push things down… putting it in my rucksack, putting it away for later on,” Hocut said. “That rucksack gets heavy. You can’t truly be there for other people unless you work on yourself, and that’s where I failed.”
Since then, Hocut got involved with Sheepdog Impact Assistance in Northwest Arkansas, meeting with other combat veterans adjusting to life back home. He says it changed his life.
“About two years ago I kept coming here and I guess Sgt. Major Lance Nutt just got tired of seeing me as a volunteer and wanted to bring me on full-time,” Hocut said.
And he’s rediscovered his purpose.
“I’ve had to be able to refocus my life on how to serve others. I can’t do that in a police role, or a firefighter role, or a military role anymore, but I can do that for people who do still.”