Michael's Story

Michael's Story, written by his mother, Kriss Titus

Michael Paul Titus was born October 31, 1985 in Kissimmee, Florida. He was the youngest of six siblings, and one of the two boys who served in the US Army. Michael was number 6 of 6, so he was the baby of the family, coddled by everyone, even as he grew into what he considered to be “A Grown Ass Man”, he was cared for by his entire family. Michael lived most of his life in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and spent his days hanging on the local beaches with family and friends. One afternoon he came home to let his parents know that he wanted to join the military and serve our country, following in the footsteps of his older brothers. He joined the ARMY in 2007, amidst wartime for the US.

Michael was a loving, caring, considerate and a funny guy with a laugh that could fill a concert hall. His sense of humor got him in more trouble than you can imagine. He had a very dry sense of humor that wasn’t always funny to some of the people he was around. One of the stories we remember well was when he was in basic training digging fox holes and he mentioned to his Drill Sergeant. “Srgt., I need a bigger shovel to dig this hole with.” On hearing this the Drill Sergeant presented Michael with a very small trowel. He asked Michael how that size would work, and Michael replied, “Srgt. I wished in one hand and ended up with shit in the other hand.” Michael’s humor did not impress his Drill Sergeant and he paid a dear price for his remark.

Sgt Michael Paul Titus served in the Army as a 13F2P Fire Support Specialist with the 173rd Airborne Brigade from 2007 to 2014 stationed in Vicenza, Italy. He served four tours in Afghanistan and was med-boarded out with an Honorable Discharge. Michael did not want to leave the service, but he had been wounded in gun fire and could no longer comfortably wear a Kevlar vest and fire a weapon. He suffered with hearing loss and bad knees as a Paratrooper. Sadly, he also struggled with severe depression and PTSD after his four tours in Afghanistan.

Michael came back to the United States in February 2014 with his wife (whom he had married while stationed abroad), and two dogs (Dexter and Mia). Although trying, they had a hard time settling into civilian life States-side together as a family/unit, post military service. Things didn’t go so well for Michael in the first few months of getting out of the Military, he struggled psychologically, with the affects of war and battlefield experiences. His most troubling and apparent issues included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain injury (TBI), and depression. He was Baker Acted more than once post Military services, and was on a merry-go-round of drugs being prescribed by the VA. He was fighting a new battle, a war on his own invisible wounds.

Michael was so proud to serve his country, but when he came home, he had great difficulty adjusting to civilian life. He shared with his family many times how he dreamed of starting something that could help Veterans and their families to adapt to civilian life, post-military service; to give to them the opportunity to thrive not just survive. Short of making that dream come true, and unable to fight any longer, Michael took his own life late in the evening of 2/7/2016.

Our family’s grief was heavy after Michael killed himself. It is debilitating knowing our son, the brother to his siblings, the baby of the family, was now among the 22 veterans every day that commit suicide. Those numbers are staggering, and trust me, we never believed our son would ever be one of those statistics.

A few years passed and as the family healed their hearts my husband and I felt the desire to make Michael’s dream a reality. Helping Veterans and their families to adapt to civilian life post-military service; giving them an opportunity to thrive just not survive. In December of 2018 we formed a Non-profit, Michael’s Foundation. The mission of Michael’s Foundation is to inspire, engage, and empower veterans and their families and help them adapt to civilian life post military service. On April 16, 2019 we received our 501c3 status and are serving Veterans and their families. We are working to create and provide an empowering, supportive community where Veterans and their families go from just surviving to thriving.


Get on our list

We will send you emails about news and events.