BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - One Kern County Iraq War veteran is using his experiences to help others.
Chris Allen entered the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2003. He then deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in September of 2004.
"On October 13, 2004 my squad was on a patrol and we got hit with an ambush and a rocket propeller grenade that hit a wall behind me," explained Allen.
Allen was the only survivor.
“I took shrapnel to my left knee and left eye above my eye you can still see the scar."
But, it's the scars you don't see that made life a struggle for Allen when he came home.
“I picked up the drinking and became homeless. I was living pretty much on the street in Colorado and I knew I needed help so I called my parents and they drove out there and picked me up and brought me back to Bakersfield.”
Allen, who was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, decided to turn his life around in 2010.
"I started my recovery I just buckled down and went back to school.”
Allen has his associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree now. He was hired as a case manager for the California Veterans Assistance Foundation three weeks ago. It’s a job he’s passionate about because it allows him to work with local veterans every day.
“I love helping veterans and I get to meet new people every day. I just see how my life is now after working on my recovery and helping other veterans. I never would have expected I would see myself here."