He had been through hell--his own and the devil's--and had emerged free of hate, free of encumbrance. If the person who had laid the bomb that took his legs were standing before him, Greg knew he would lay down his own weapon in forgiveness. The waypoints were becoming clearer. He would recover his body as well as his soul.
In military jargon, the word "waypoints" refers to guideposts on a map used to direct soldiers in or out of a location like a rendezvous point. For Colonel Greg Gadson-- a battalion commander and former West Point football player-- who lost both legs as a result of an IED attack in Iraq in 2007, these waypoints were to change drastically, and inform his future life through his long, painful recovery and emergence as a spiritual guide and assistant coach to the NY Giants during their own trials of fire in the 2007 season that took them from last place to a Super Bowl championship in 2008. Soon after, Gadson also starred in a major motion picture ("Battleship") and since then has become a motivational speaker for thousands of individuals, both civilian and military, and leader for veterans' programs and outdoor experiential healing expeditions. This honest and deeply personal story of transformation from battlefield leader to speaker and life coach, will inspire readers to consider their own waypoints towards their own life's betterment and the lives of those around them.
About the Author
Terese Schlachter is a Washington-DC based writer and producer of video and documentaries (NBC News, Dept of Defense) who first met Colonel Gadson when covering the new veterans facility at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007. She became his fast friend and confidante during his painful recovery and rehabilitation. Terese is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer, and founder and Chief Storyteller of Ridgeback Communications. Her short film "Picture Perfect" was nominated for "Best Short" at the 2017 DC Indie Film festival as well as a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy. She lives in Shady Side, Maryland with her husband Jon, and Lillian, a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog. Colonel Gregory Gadson, (Ret.) was grievously wounded in an IED attack in Iraq in 2007 while he and his unit were returning from a service for two fallen soldiers. He subsequently lost both legs and severely injured his right arm, and, in the course of his rehabilitation and recovery, he became a source of inspiration and motivation for other war-wounded at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Due to his longtime connection with West Point as a football player there, and his friendship with the coach of the then-struggling NY Giants in 2007, Gadson soon became a motivational co-coach and spiritual guide, helping the team go from nearly last place to Superbowl Champions in 2008. Gadson subsequently starred in a major Hollywood movie, "Battleship", and has been an admired motivational speaker and coach for numerous organizations both civilian and military, for several years now. An avid outdoorsman and enthusiast of skiing, cycling, and deep-sea fishing, he has led numerous adventure-travel expeditions for wounded veterans. In his honor, in October, 2022, the new veterans center at Wayne State University was named the Colonel Gregory Gadson Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence. When not traveling around the country as a motivational speaker, Gadson enjoys time at home in Alexandria, VA with his wife, children and grandchildren, and continues to pursue his acting career and his love of photography.