Major Stephen Taylor served in the United States Marine Corps from 1996 to 2017 before medically retiring as an Infantry Officer. In 2003 and 2005 he deployed to Iraq, and to Afghanistan in 2010. During this last deployment, his transport vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). He was treated in country for a concussion and other physical wounds. Upon returning home, Taylor’s wife convinced him to get evaluated by a neurologist who recommended he seek treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and intracranial hemorrhaging.

As Taylor and his family were dealing with his medical treatment, they discovered art therapy and a potential new business involving seashells. The family lives in eastern North Carolina and have always enjoyed spending time at the beach, so with all of the seashells the family was collecting they began to create lamps, chandeliers and picture frames using the shells. Taylor’s wish was for a small boat to support the hobby and possible business opportunity for the family. He has plans to utilize his local community college to assist him in creating a business plan.

Taylor continues to have a positive outlook on his transition and finds meaning with adventures like his new hobby:

“As I make the final transition into civilian life and learn to live with the limits my injuries have imposed, I am faced with creating a different life than the one I had imagined and worked for all those years. This journey has taught me that just because my life is not what I had envisioned, it doesn’t mean it can’t be meaningful, valued and influential.”