Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Haircuts with Heart featuring US Army Veteran, Major Peter Way

In this episode, we interview Major Peter Way as part of our "Haircuts with Heart" Series. Major Way is an Army Veteran who started a non-profit called Fight On, which provides adaptive sports and activities as well as general health and wellness activities for veterans and their families. Major Way is also on the board of America's Vets Dogs and shares with us how his service dog, Rory, helped heal him and his family during his struggle with PTSD. We sat down to interview Major Way following a dinner hosted by the Aleethia Foundation. The mission of the Aleethia Foundation is to support injured service members with therapeutic recreation, small financial grants, family emergency aid, assistive technology items, and home improvements to assist with an injured service member's mobility and other unmet needs. Sport Clips is proud to sponsor “Friday Night Dinners” which provide injured veterans and their families with the opportunity to enjoy a great meal while socializing – an integral part of the healing process. To learn more about the Aleethia Foundation, please visit: www.aleethia.org

Chad Jordan with Major Peter Way and his service dog, Rory

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
July 31, 2019 Major Peter Way U.S. Army Veteran Tackling challenges and refusing to quit

Each episode of the Podcast is also available on iTunes and the Google Play store. 

Listen_on_Apple_Podcasts_CMYK_USListen on Google Play Music


Chad Jordan: Oh hey everybody. This is Chad Jordan from Sport Clips. This is another edition of the Hall of Fame episode. I'm so glad to have you with us. If you're watching on YouTube, hello. And in a second, I'm going to introduce my guest. But let me tell you what we're doing, we are out here in the Washington, D.C. area last night. Sport Clips got to host a special dinner. It's part of the Aleethia Foundation. This is dinners that they put on Friday nights down here I think. Is it always in Washington, D.C. area?

Pete Way: It is.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So the dinners get put on. And they're for service men and women that are recovering at Walter Reed Hospital. And their families get to come have this great dinner, hang out. And last night, we had fun. We had prizes. We had raffles. Only we didn't let ugly people come claim the prizes. So only the goodlooking people got to come. We just had a blast.

Pete Way: It was rowdy.

Chad Jordan: It was. It was. It was rowdy. It was full. The drinks were flowing. I had my Mountain Dew on the side that I kept sipping. But there's some cute kiddos all around. We got some firefighter helmets from one of our team leaders, Jeff Burroughs and Robyn Hanson. Just a great night and a great cause that Sport Clips loves to sponsor and loves to help out with.
So at the event we decided we would love to connect and especially interview some of the guests of honor from last night. And that's who I have with me right now. So I'm going to have you introduce. And even though one of them is off camera, I'll have you introduce him as well. So who do I have with me here?

Pete Way: So my name is Pete Way. And I am a retired U.S. Army. And I am accompanied today by my service dog, Rory Semper, who is off camera-

Chad Jordan: Laid out.

Pete Way: Laying out-

Chad Jordan: And being a good boy.

Pete Way: Yeah. And he's fed and happy.

Chad Jordan: Speaking of fed and happy, I was so impressed. Last night, we had appetizers. The main course was steak.

Pete Way: It was a big steak.

Chad Jordan: I don't think anybody... I don't know if you finished yours. I certainly didn't finish mine.

Pete Way: I couldn't.

Chad Jordan: So how that little guy... He's not little. But how did that guy over there kept himself from jumping up on the table and the restraint involved, there's no way a normal dog could've handled what Rory did. So-

Pete Way: Yeah. That points out the difference in, yeah, service dog versus a normal dog. He was a good boy.

Chad Jordan: He was amazing. So you're here today for a number of reasons. You are currently... Obviously you're a service man. You said you were with the army, major, retired?

Pete Way: Retired major.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Retired major with your last name is Way-

Pete Way: Yeah. W-A-Y too-

Chad Jordan: When I found out I got to interview you, I was like, "Yes, I've been wanting to interview him in a major way anyway," so pun intended.

Pete Way: Yeah. So am I.

Chad Jordan: So I'm sure you've heard a million of those. But so a retired major from you said the army. What did you do in the army?

Pete Way: Did a couple of different things. Started out life in the chemical corps. So I was a nuclear biological and chemical warfare specialist-

Chad Jordan: Holy moly.

Pete Way: Yeah, nice huge term. And the reality was, that was one of those things that I used to joke NBC stood for nobody cares. So-

Chad Jordan: Is there only one base that you could've been assigned to? I mean that doesn't sound like-

Pete Way: Actually all over, pretty much at every place it had... Particularly in the '90s with Cold War, we still had fears [crosstalk 00:03:59]

Chad Jordan: Yeah. You [crosstalk 00:04:01]. Yes. Yup.

Pete Way: Yeah. And so it was a big deal. And so you had a specialist and pretty much in every unit in that area. So it was just one of those things. The training for it was hard. Nobody liked to wear their protective equipment. So you didn't make a lot of friends doing your job.

Chad Jordan: And what drew you to that?

Pete Way: Nothing.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: The army.

Chad Jordan: You got the army. Okay.

Pete Way: So when I got back-

Chad Jordan: This is back in the '90s when the army didn't let you pick anything, right?

Pete Way: Yeah. That assignment came back. And it's like [inaudible 00:04:33]. So I didn't even know they existed or what they did.

Chad Jordan: As a kid, had you grown up wanting to be in the army? Is it a family tradition? Or how did that happen?

Pete Way: We definitely... Family has a tradition of service for sure. My father was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. And he went on to become an episcopal priest. Then my brother was a Vietnam veteran. He's an older brother. So not long after I was born, he was serving in Vietnam.

Chad Jordan: Wow.

Pete Way: Then for me, it was more I knew those things. And then a lot of kids grew up playing army. I'm not sure why I apply in Marine Corps or Air Force. I'm just saying, not to rag on my fellow services there. But it was something I thought about, but just wasn't really... I'd like to say there was some noble goal. But when I actually joined it was for money.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. So is it right out of high school? Or yeah.

Pete Way: It was not long after I... I went straight off to college and floundered badly, flunked out, needed some discipline and direction. And so when I was trying to get back into college, found the RRTC program and simultaneously found the Georgia National Guard. And so I was able to get into Georgia National Guard and enroll in RRTC. And that sort of gave me the direction and the discipline that I needed to figure what I wanted to do in life. Even at the army, they wanted me to do something completely different. So that got things started.

Chad Jordan: So did you enter as an officer then?

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Or how does RRTC-

Pete Way: It was kind of do RRTC. You're in the program to being an officer. And then-

Chad Jordan: You still got to do basic and all that stuff.

Pete Way: Georgia National Guard, you join in the Guard just outright with no skills whatsoever. Then you come in there and listed and get to experience that side of things. And so even though it was brief, I was in the Guard for a couple of years before I became an officer. It really sets I think some good foundations for being an officer having been on the other side and done those jobs to some degree. So I think it gave me a better appreciation for who I was expected to lead and be an example for.

Chad Jordan: You mentioned you started off in this one career field in the army. You end up where?

Pete Way: Yeah, I drifted from that to... I actually got out for a while.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So you became a civilian-

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Essentially.

Pete Way: So the course of RRTC, when I graduated I got active duty with the Chemical Corps. And that sent me out to Fort Carson in Colorado which was its own new adventure, never even been to the Rocky Mountain-

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Or had you seen snow really at that point?

Pete Way: I've seen snow, but definitely nothing like those mountains.

Chad Jordan: Yeah.

Pete Way: And so in the course of that three year stent, I think it's three, almost four years. During that, I didn't like the climate of the army, desert storm it happened, came and went. It was just a different culture after that. There was a lot of cutbacks. And so there was just frankly a lot of backstabbing type stuff going on with people trying to make sure they came out on top. And I just didn't like the culture that I saw and didn't really want to be part of it anymore and went to get out.
I got out. I came off of active duty. My commander at the time, Captain Jones, who didn't want me to get out, told me that it was a mistake to just give it all up. And actually he wouldn't let me completely walk away. Instead of signing complete discharge orders, he only authorized and signed an order to transfer me to the individual ready reserve which is basically a pool of people who want or have to have maintained some kind of tie to the military, but don't want to do anything with it. And so you're effectively a civilian who could be called up anytime. But there's no commitment to put the uniform on or do anything [crosstalk 00:09:19]-

Chad Jordan: You can let your hair grow out-

Pete Way: Exactly.

Chad Jordan: And facial hair.

Pete Way: I grew the beard, grew the hair out. I had probably a stupid looking ponytail.

Chad Jordan: Your wife's over there nodding by the way. So yeah.

Pete Way: Yeah. I had more hair then. I [crosstalk 00:09:35] to look around. I put earring in, all kinds of stuff, went the other direction-

Chad Jordan: That's what my dad... My dad always toyed with that idea. He never pulled off the earring or the ponytail. Actually the ponytail, he might have done.

Pete Way: I'm not even going to say I pulled that off. I'm just going to say I had it.

Chad Jordan: You experimented.

Pete Way: Exactly.

Chad Jordan: Now did you cross-train into... Obviously, it's not like what you were doing in the army, you could hit the civilian work force and do that.

Pete Way: Yeah, I tried. There's a lot of recruiting out of the army for both contract type jobs. And then your Fortune 500 companies looked to the military to find leaders, both skill sets and just leadership. And so there's a lot of private companies that make those connections for you. And I actually did some interviewing when I was thinking about getting out. I did some interviewing with the companies who make these connections and placements. And I was turned down. They wouldn't even work with me, not because of my army career but because of the background-

Chad Jordan: Because of the ponytail?

Pete Way: The ponytail. Actually I was still in uniform at the time. This was even going on. And I wasn't the right material. I had barely finished college. I think I pulled my grades up to a 2.2 or so.

Chad Jordan: Cs get degrees, Major Way. Come on.

Pete Way: It got me into the Army.

Chad Jordan: Some of us had to go that route.

Pete Way: Yeah. So I guess the attitude in the '90s was Fortune 500, they don't like the Cs. At least it doesn't get you looked at.

Chad Jordan: So then what happens?

Pete Way: Yeah. But I simultaneously have been considering other things. And one of those interesting twists you get anytime with the military, you get additional duties that things that aren't your day to day job, but just the stuff that has to get done.
And they were asking for a volunteer. And you're never supposed to volunteer either. But they wanted a... I was in a cavalry unit. So we had helicopters. And being in Colorado in the mountains, there was a need for rescues. And the county sheriff needed helicopters for various things that went on with search and rescue. And since we had the helicopters, they were looking for someone to volunteer to be a liaison so that there was an individual to coordinate the use of helicopters with.
So I volunteered for that. And that was really when I discovered this whole world of emergency response, very much the parallel world to the military. So the search and rescue team put me through their training and schools and things to become certified in search and rescue. And then they put me through an EMT course so I've had some emergency medical skills. And it was that EMT course that opened my eyes to the medicine world. It got me interested.
And so I decided that if the corporate world wasn't interested in me, I was going to pursue something in medicine. And that led me to nursing. I liked what I saw with the nurses in the emergency room and how they worked, the independence they had. So I thought I'll go that route because I've got a lot of options. And that led me to being interested in becoming a nurse practitioner because of even more things I could do.
And so the army even without trying-

Chad Jordan: They were guiding you in a certain direction. Yeah.

Pete Way: [crosstalk 00:13:15] I even asked them if they needed nurses. And so I even asked for assistance with nursing school. And they said, "No." I wasn't nursing school material or army nurse material. I'm not sure which. So I did it my own way.

Chad Jordan: Wow.

Pete Way: I did that on my own and then turned back around and became an army nurse.

Chad Jordan: This is not a plug by the way for our... We have a Help a Hero program which is a scholarship program for veterans that are transitioning to the civilian work force. So had that been around when you were-

Pete Way: I mean it should be employed for that because that's-

Chad Jordan: Had it been around... When was this? The mid to late '90s?

Pete Way: This was early '90s.

Chad Jordan: Early '90s. Okay.

Pete Way: '92 is when I got out of the active duty side, so early '90s.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. You would've been a prime... Hey, we wouldn't have turned you down for anything. We would've snatched you up. That's right. [crosstalk 00:14:10]

Pete Way: That's why programs like that are so good because there is-

Chad Jordan: There is a need for it.

Pete Way: A lot of people who fall through the cracks and have potential. I like to think I had potential and turned around. And it was kind of fun to reapply to switch into the army nurse corps from having been told that I wasn't cut out for that and to come back and be able to do that. And so that turned things that way. And I got back to the reserves through nursing. That was also a time when nurse practitioners weren't recognized by the army. So I had this entire skill set. Because of my EMT background, I've done a lot of focus on emergency medicine. And I came in with the skill set that once again the army wasn't going to recognize or use.

Chad Jordan: So did they want to have you do something completely different?

Pete Way: Yeah. They needed and wanted nurses. And so what the army envisioned me do and was to fill your typical nursing jobs working on one of the surgical wards. Or you could work your way through into ICU, lots of fantastic opportunities. But I really hadn't come into this with a lot of actual nursing experience. I went straight through the two programs. So I graduated as a nurse practitioner and that being... My really whole background was focused on this extra skill set.
And so that made things... It was kind of difficult with the army because they wanted me to do one thing that I felt, one, I wasn't trained for. And two, we're back to, "That's not what I want to do." And again that's not... They call it service for a reason. You don't get to choose everything. But I was still defiant. But that led to the Special Operations community saw things in a broader picture. And so they saw nursing and having a nurse practitioner degree and skill set that was not even recognized by the army. Army Special Operations said, "We see it. We know what it is."

Chad Jordan: So who contacts who? They find you or you found out about them and just [crosstalk 00:16:34]

Pete Way: [crosstalk 00:16:34] both. And I'd love to say they sought me out because I... But no, I sought them out. All of this simultaneously happened with 9/11. So I was looking for a way in. I was looking for, like a lot people, revenge, a lot of things, a lot of ways to put it. But I was looking for a new job. And I wanted in. I didn't want to sit stateside in a reserve unit not doing something. And I wanted to use the skills that I had. And so that played in nicely.
And I contacted... I kind of again fell into things. I asked for any job post 9/11. And so within a month, I was on orders. And I was providing medical services at Fort McClellan which ironically was the former home of the NBC school-

Chad Jordan: Oh wow, yeah.

Pete Way: My original school [crosstalk 00:17:34] there-

Chad Jordan: So is this back in Georgia? Or where is this?

Pete Way: This is in Alabama.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: And-

Chad Jordan: Not too far from [crosstalk 00:17:39]-

Pete Way: Fort McClellan had been closed down. They no longer house the NBC program. But I'm back. I know this post backwards and forwards.

Chad Jordan: Have you had kids the first time you were there?

Pete Way: First time I was there, not.

Chad Jordan: No, okay.

Pete Way: Newlywed. No kids.

Chad Jordan: Now you're back with a family.

Pete Way: Now I'm back. And I've got a family this time. And actually because of the nature of what was going on with 9/11, we were separated. My family was back in North Carolina. And I went to Alabama to do this. And while I'm there, while I'm at my old stump and grounds, part of what was going on there was they were taking units like what I used to be in with particularly the chemical decontamination specialist. And they were converting them from a warside mission, a war mission, to operating overseas in a wartime theater to doing civilian defense tasks. So these units were going to go and be stationed in New York City, in Los Angeles, and other big cities that we thought might be targets for further terrorism-

Chad Jordan: And they might have been targets for all we know to be honest.

Pete Way: Right. And they'd be stationed there ready to clean things up.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, that's horrible to think about.

Pete Way: And so it turned out I'm there to provide direct medical support. I'm going to be the clinic guy. I'm going to help people when they get hurt, if they get sick whatever is going on. But it turns out while I'm there, hey, they're converting these units that happen to be my old specialty. And they have to teach them how to decon patients. And so that's its own animal because you have to have some medical skills or at least an understanding of, "It's fine to clean the chemical agents off of this patient." But if they die from their injuries in the process, it was pointless. And so-

Chad Jordan: So is it like all roads are coming together for you-

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Where if you not had all this other previous experience, it really when it led you to this one.

Pete Way: Yeah. Things really fell in. And having that skill, I was able to not only help with teaching these units, but ironically, at the same time Special Forces Units were ramping up to rotate in over to Afghanistan. And they were training there as well because the big piece of the base was owned by the Alabama National Guard and 20 Special Forces Group.
So I had direct interaction with these guys, their medics, and their training and everything going on. And that was where it's like, "Hey, this Special Operations guys recognize these are the guys." These Special Forces medics were coming in to talk to me, ask me questions, confirm what they're doing if they're doing the right thing with their guys. And so that led to realizing that the Special Operations could offer what I was looking for. And so that started the whole thing.
And six months later, I had managed to get myself transferred in through the reserve system into Special Operations command through civil affairs.

Chad Jordan: Which is where?

Pete Way: So that's out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Yeah.

Pete Way: And then-

Chad Jordan: Now why is your family in North Carolina? Why [crosstalk 00:20:58] Alabama-

Pete Way: So I was back to being a reservist. And so during all this time leading up to 9/11, we had settled into North Carolina. And I was doing the weekend a month thing-

Chad Jordan: Gotcha.

Pete Way: And working, learning more skills, just... I had several positions already as a nurse practitioner in the region, worked my way through these jobs towards what I envisioned for myself which was in a very independently operating jack of all trades medic where I could handle about anything that got thrown at me. And so-

Chad Jordan: Little did you know that it's coming full circle-

Pete Way: Exactly. Yeah, where all this stuff, what it means. And so it was a kind of a weird twist where I'm doing this thing in North Carolina as a civilian. And six months later, I'm doing exactly what I was doing. And I'm doing it in Afghanistan [crosstalk 00:21:56].

Chad Jordan: So when do you get-

Pete Way: Yeah, and a bunch of other stuff going with it.

Chad Jordan: When did you get deployed then?

Pete Way: So I got deployed in late summer of '02.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: And-

Chad Jordan: Not even a year into the war.

Pete Way: Yeah. I went to Fort Bragg for some additional training and training up, made some more contacts within the Special Operations community looking... I was really interested in the things that Special Forces did and does. And I made some more contacts there. And then not long after I got in theater, I had the opportunity to transfer over to that side. And that steered everything else that in one way or another has happened since then.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. So you get over there. Are you on the ground as they're bringing injured in? Are you going out to the... What's going on? Or are you able to talk about that kind of stuff. I don't know if they're secrets. I don't want to give it away.

Pete Way: Yeah. I could tell you the old joke. I could to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Chad Jordan: Kill you. Right.

Pete Way: [crosstalk 00:22:56] this interview and destroy your tapes.

Chad Jordan: Exactly. I love my family in case you need to-

Pete Way: It was-

Chad Jordan: [crosstalk 00:23:03]

Pete Way: I got in theater. And it was right at a point coming in where a lot of the general appearance of things with what was being shown in stateside, things were calm and suppressed. And they were in some areas. And they weren't in other areas.
And so I got in theater and again started realizing I don't want to just sit here in a nice secure base in the middle of the city and feel like I'm-

Chad Jordan: We're you an adrenaline junkie? Or you want to be where you feel like you'd be most effective?

Pete Way: Probably a little of both.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: Definitely an interest in not sitting around and finding things that are a little more thrilling and definitely feeling like, "I came here to do something-

Chad Jordan: Yeah. "I can make a difference and make an impact."

Pete Way: "I can do some good here but not as much good as I am really capable of doing." And so getting away from that environment, getting out to the further reaches where things weren't safe and stable and where skills that I had could the difference in life and death. And it sounds dramatic. But-

Chad Jordan: It's reality.

Pete Way: That's just the reality of it. And it's so many different levels.
And one of the interesting things that did happen that are one of those cool sides stories was I was in the primary base for about six weeks to begin with. And the day I got there I get grabbed by this guy and not wearing a uniform. He tells me he's a U.S. Army doctor and tells me I need to come with him. And being the fool that I am, I get in the car with him, getting in the vehicle, and take off. And we leave this base in the city. And he tells me after we were in the vehicle and leaving what we're going to do while I'm meanwhile thinking this could be the last time anyone ever hears from me. Note: Don't [inaudible 00:25:05] this guy from anybody.
But the king of Afghanistan, it come back from Italy in the process of all this as things had gotten safer and as the capital city, Kabul, had become secure. And he came back from Italy. He'd had some bad experiences with some of the other NATO countries' medical systems and only wanted American doctors taking care of him.
And so here I am a nurse practitioner from North Carolina who is suddenly put in front of the king of Afghanistan and told by this doctor, "Hey, we've got today. And then I'm leaving. So here he is. Make the introduction and rapidly get me some credentials to get in and out of the palace. And here you go."
And so for about the first six weeks of being in Afghanistan, one of my daily jobs was checking on this guy-

Chad Jordan: Wow. No kidding.

Pete Way: Going over checking, making sure he's in good health and doesn't need... He had some chronic health problems. And he was at the time was in his 80s which is unheard of for an Afghan. Yeah, that's called living in Italy.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, exactly.

Pete Way: It's a whole another animal with some of the views on the king because of his living in Italy while everyone else suffered. I found it to be an incredibly rich opportunity to... I hear stories of how Afghanistan used to be... His father was considered maybe the greatest king of Afghanistan. He had modernized-

Chad Jordan: His English was good? Or are you speaking to a translator most of the time?

Pete Way: We used the translator. He had limited English. The longer I was in country, the more I was able to... He spoke Dari. Another thing in Afghanistan is there's many many languages-

Chad Jordan: So many, yeah.

Pete Way: And so I learned some Dari. I could communicate the basics in Dari in particular with regard to medical symptoms and things-

Chad Jordan: The health. Yeah.

Pete Way: And then he had very limited English. He probably had about as many English words as I had Dari. And then he spoke Italian. And so I had an interpreter who spoke Italian and English. And so we worked through Italian mostly.
And then he would tell me stories of when he was a kid and stories of his dad and just all kinds of... It was just a rich opportunity to do something [crosstalk 00:27:34]

Chad Jordan: Right. You're not thinking when you go over there that-

Pete Way: Not even remotely.

Chad Jordan: You're [crosstalk 00:27:37] going to hit the ground running and treating the king.

Pete Way: That's already the difference in getting into this Special Operations side of things was that would not have even been possible otherwise.
Meanwhile, the other thing I'm thinking is that if this guy dies on my watch, I'll never work again. "He killed the king."

Chad Jordan: No kidding. You might not make it out of the palace.

Pete Way: Right. I mean that kind of thing. No matter he should've died a long time ago. But I'm going to get blamed at this stage. So that was kind of one of the cooler things to do. And he died without an heir. So he was the last king. So it's almost like the title of a cheesy movie that I took care of the last king of Afghanistan.

Chad Jordan: Wow. You're right.

Pete Way: And he didn't die on my watch.

Chad Jordan: Cool. Okay.

Pete Way: Yeah. So-

Chad Jordan: That's a brag in [crosstalk 00:28:27] there.

Pete Way: Yeah. As appealing as that was because there was a lot of merit to that. He would call sometimes in the middle of the night because a relative... For Afghan, a relative can be extremely distant, they're family. And I more than once had an armored SUV show up at the gates now with a bunch of guys with AK47s telling the gate guards they needed me. And the commander understood the mission and what it entailed and armed with minimal means to protect myself. I'm jumping in this SUV with a bunch of big guys with guns. And we're leaving.
And we're going off. We leave the gate. And we turn. And it's like, "Ooh yeah, the palace is the other direction. Where are we going tonight?" No interpreter. There's my adventure and excitement.

Chad Jordan: And here it is the guy that corporate America didn't want-

Pete Way: Exactly.

Chad Jordan: But the king of Afghanistan is pounding on his tent-

Pete Way: Right.

Chad Jordan: Begging him to come. That's amazing. That's wild.

Pete Way: I'm not going to name companies because it never got there for them-

Chad Jordan: No, but still that's just so ironic-

Pete Way: But it's funny how life takes a turn. So I had my adventure. I had things. But it wasn't enough. It wasn't where I needed to be. So I had made the decision to walk away from that and got a transfer into a Special Forces unit to work directly as a field medic-

Chad Jordan: Still Afghanistan?

Pete Way: Still in Afghanistan.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: Although arguably we crossed into some other countries [crosstalk 00:30:09]

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We don't have talk about that part.

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: But what about... So have you re-upped? Is this the same tour of duty? Or have you gone home and back and forth?

Pete Way: Yeah. I'm in with them at this point and in theater transfer we call it. And I went through some training them to learn more and to make sure that I can cut the [crosstalk 00:30:33] so to speak-

Chad Jordan: Can you give me a sense of what's the fear level? Are you thinking at any point this could be... You'd already mentioned when you went out with that doctor [crosstalk 00:30:44] no one will ever find you again. But is that constant? Or is it something so buried deep that you can't even think about it?

Pete Way: It's really more buried deep. And that's probably a coping mechanism as well as honestly one of the things that I want to... Again I don't even like to brag about... I'm not even trying to brag about myself. One of the things I've learned is that those kind of situations I just go the opposite direction. I don't get hyped up and more afraid. It's just there's a calm in it that this is just what I'm supposed to do. This is I'm going to... I've asked for it. This is what I'm supposed to do. And so that works. I guess that's what let me do things like jump into that SUV in the middle of the night.

Chad Jordan: Can you take me into... Is your injury, amputation, is all that related to this time?

Pete Way: Yeah. It isn't... And another one of those things where whether it's fate, dumb luck, or you did this to yourself kind of thing. In this I got my assignment out to the sticks. We were-

Chad Jordan: What year?

Pete Way: 2003.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: So we're out in a province near Pakistan. We're covering a pretty large area, the theater, the way they broke things up among the various Special Operations Forces that were out there. The way they broke things up, we had a pretty good area, large area to operate in. And so I'm out. I'm one of two medics that is in charge of both the firebase with a very small U.S. contingent and the greater picture, covering the patrols that we have going out that one of us needed to be with every patrol going out, needed the medic along with in case something happened.
So it gave me a lot of that original, what I was looking for, getting out. Ironically, I had a couple of different things happen because stuff happens all the time when you're operating in these environments. Injuries will come. And you weigh injuries against show stoppers, something that slows the show down like an intermission. And then the stuff that you just keep on moving through.
And what eventually in the long term caused me my leg was one of those you move right through it. And I was outside of the wire. We go outside of the primary walls of the firebase for training and our operations. And the area had been generally cleared of landmine. They're marked. And we had some courses you could go out and do your fitness. And I'd have to run 400 laps around the inside walls of the base to get a two-mile run in. You could run out. We had about a six-kilometer course cleared you could run out and back.
There were some dips in that. There were some areas. We had a guard in a tower that could see most of the time. It's somebody with a weapon watching you as you went. But there were some low spots and some dips out there. And so I went out on one of a whole bunch of runs that I've been on. And that particular day, that were some old villages. There was a lot of old ruins out in this area. And somebody out there... It's not too hard to watch from a far and probably figured out an easy spot that we were out in. And if you can't see the guard tower, the guard tower can't see you. And shot off an RPG that didn't hit me. It hit... Because of the terrain-

Chad Jordan: Are you by yourself? Or are you running with buddies?

Pete Way: Yeah. I'm out by myself.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: We would rock and do this. We'd go out on this course. Somebody was out there almost everyday.

Chad Jordan: You felt pretty secure, as secure as you probably could.

Pete Way: Yeah. You generally go out with a minimum of a pistol and a radio so that you can communicate and you can at least defend yourself up close.
And somebody shot this thing. And it blew up nearby. I felt the concussion, the dirt, felt stuff hit. But there was no... It wasn't like some dramatic Hollywood scene or anything else-

Chad Jordan: No tinnitus? Your ears aren't ringing?

Pete Way: They were ringing. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: It was definitely enough to-

Chad Jordan: That's what I think of Hollywood-

Pete Way: Well, a bit disoriented. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: I wasn't thrown through the air-

Chad Jordan: Oh I see. Yeah.

Pete Way: My immediate thing is like, "Where did it come from? Is there a guy nearby that is going to try again to kill me?" Don't see anybody. Get to a lower spot on the trail which also involved in some cases and in this case taking a risk of dropping into the areas where it's uncertain about land mines. So you get the risk of hitting a land mine in the process.

Chad Jordan: No kidding.

Pete Way: And I call for help. And they send out... Within a minute or so, I've got trucks and guns and more people out there. And they swept the area, couldn't find anybody. I-

Chad Jordan: No trace of where it came from either?

Pete Way: Yeah, no trace of where it came from. Because it took by enough surprise. It was somebody just shot. It was pretty much-

Chad Jordan: That was targeted?

Pete Way: Yeah, the moment of the explosion was when I knew somebody targeted me. And so at that point it's like, "Oh I'm bleeding."

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Is there a ton of pain? You're still in shock?

Pete Way: Yeah, there wasn't a lot of pain and just a quick doing my own assessment because you're a medic. And I can see I've got what looks like a lot of little puncture wounds and more on my right leg than my left leg. And it's okay. So nothing's bleeding severely.

Chad Jordan: Did you have movement?

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: Everything worked. This really was that we're going to keep on operating right through this, could do whatever. So I go back to the firebase, clean things up, pick out anything visible, and wash everything, and start myself on some antibiotics because everything is contaminated, and move on, not really that big of a deal.

Chad Jordan: Really?

Pete Way: And so-

Chad Jordan: Were you able to walk?

Pete Way: Yeah. Yeah. Again this is superficial. This thing, yeah, it hit something. It hit the rocks. From the look of it, it splattered off some of the... There's a lot of rocky outcroppings. For anybody that hasn't seen pictures of Afghanistan yet for some reason, it's not the open desert you envision. It's rocky-

Chad Jordan: Caves.

Pete Way: And mountains, lots of hills, and outcrops. And this thing splattered off of that. And what I got was the-

Chad Jordan: Collateral spray or whatever.

Pete Way: Yeah. It's been slowed down, broken up, and otherwise not lethal anymore. And so I cleaned things up and moved on. And I had had some other injuries while I was there, stayed in theater with all of this. And then when I got back to Fort Bragg-

Chad Jordan: Which is how long?

Pete Way: This was another, gosh, three months? Two months?

Chad Jordan: So do you keep operating as normal like you're going out, you're doing your thing?

Pete Way: Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Wow.

Pete Way: Again it's the timing of it. At this point in the war, we've got... I think at the time, we officially had around 13,000 troops in theater. And the majority were concentrated in particular areas. We were out there. We had a 12-men team with another 12-men team occupying space next door, a couple of civil affairs team, four to six people and some counter-intelligence guys and a really small security force to protect the walls, the area within the walls. And so that was typical. There wasn't a lot of backup. There wasn't a large force just down the road to come in.
We were hit. And so to take out 50% of the medical assets-

Chad Jordan: Yeah, I was going to say-

Pete Way: Right there with no guarantees of someone else. The reason I've stepped into this position was Special Forces was already short of medics. And so there were teams out there operating with one medic. Everyone on teams cross-train so you've got skills within everybody, but still only one medic. And so being the second medic, I didn't want to leave-

Chad Jordan: You felt this responsibility, this burden to stay. Yeah.

Pete Way: Yeah. So we got back to Fort Bragg and took care of things there. I had surgery to clean that up, fix my knees, get things all-

Chad Jordan: Had you had a lingering pain and all that from the wounds?

Pete Way: Not from that. I blew up both knees and raptured a disc in my back. Again a lot of things happen while you're there. So it wrecked trucks a couple of times, drove one off of a dry waterfall at night, different things, not wearing seatbelts because we were using Toyota Hilux pickups which is basically the crew cab, short bed pickup that you'd see here in the Toyota Tacomas and not a lot of room when you get a guy in there with full kit on and-

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Right. Right. To buckle up.

Pete Way: By the way we're going to put five big guys in here, four big guys in here. So we tended to not wear the seatbelts. And so you hit. You had your collisions with inside of the vehicle. And again you moved on.

Chad Jordan: Then what wrong might be not the word to use here. But what goes wrong with your recovery from the surgeries that lead to amputation and the complications?

Pete Way: Yeah. Everything seemed really good for a while.

Chad Jordan: Because you probably are not even thinking that's a possibility at this point.

Pete Way: I'm not. I'm not. Again this was minor. We had a guy lose a leg in theater, lose a leg. In our area of operations, one of the guys on the second team lost his leg when they would take mines and remine roads behind you. They'd recommend IEDs, lots of ways. Everywhere you go, someone's trying to kill you.
We already had someone lose a leg. He had other injuries. And so I'm not even thinking about mine at that stage. It was minor enough that there was bigger things going on. And so it was really I did pretty well after they got things fixed at Fort Bragg. I had some leg pain. I shouldn't say I didn't have any pain. I had some joint pain as a result of everything.

Chad Jordan: But you're walking, running, doing whatever?

Pete Way: Again, I'm walking, running. But my focus was getting fit for duty.

Chad Jordan: Is this 2004 now?

Pete Way: We're still in the 2003, late 2003.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: Yeah. We're getting into November 2003 at this point. And my focus is getting fit for duty so I can go back. The war is not over. We're in Iraq now as well. So it's get fit and go back.
I started having infections. And that was the first sign that something wasn't right. I continued to have some of that knee and a little bit of leg pain along with continued it just... I'm in an airborne unit jumping out of airplanes and helicopters and running around the field with combat gear plus medical gear yet you sprain ankles and you injure knees anyway. And so I'm reinjuring particularly my knee more and more. And then I started developing these infections.

Chad Jordan: Now are you back or are you home?

Pete Way: I'm home at this stage.

Chad Jordan: When the infections started?

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: And so now I'm starting to miss duty for these things. We had an Iraq deployment at the time and had injured that leg again and was on a delayed status for the deployment because I was on crutches and in a cast. And-

Chad Jordan: You were in no condition to go.

Pete Way: Yeah. Yeah. As much as I would like to go, that's probably pretty stupid even for me.

Chad Jordan: Right.

Pete Way: And so all of this going on, it still wasn't a big picture thing. It was just unrelated events. But these infections ultimately turned out because I had this graft in my leg. I had some hardware in there, some orthopedic screws that had been there from previous injuries. They were just places for bugs to hide still. And so these bugs would lay dormant in my system and then decide to come back up.

Chad Jordan: How long do you battle these infections?

Pete Way: All the way up until... The last one came out in 2014, August 2014 and late July, and just ate my leg up. That one was the one that went from bad to really really really bad. It almost killed me.

Chad Jordan: I was going to say at what point was your life threatened?

Pete Way: Yeah, through this. Most people have heard of necrotizing fasciitis. And so the infection in my lower leg turned into necrotizing fasciitis. It's in the joints. It's in the bone. It's now also gotten out and into my bloodstream-

Chad Jordan: Right. Getting to your heart and-

Pete Way: Yeah, my kidneys are wanting to shut down. I'm effectively dying. This thing is killing me. And I think at some point in there, it was about a 10% chance to live with the combination of everything that was going on. And so really the focus became, "Who cares about the leg? Let's keep him alive."

Chad Jordan: Who has that conversation first? Does the doctor bring it to your attention? Or are you bringing it up like-

Pete Way: I was bringing it up. Actually I was-

Chad Jordan: Knowing what you know.

Pete Way: I'm like, "Just cut my leg off. Just cut my leg off. Just end this. Get the leg off my body." I was mad because they weren't doing that. It turns out they weren't doing it because they were trying to save my life. And they also had the foresight to know that every inch of leg saved, if it's going to get cut off, translates into function. The more leg you save, the more functional you're going to be. So they were trying to give me a fight and chance after an amputation.
So once I had survived all the infection, the course of the infection, and they felt like they got out of my system. I was finally off of antibiotics.

Chad Jordan: You still had your leg?

Pete Way: Still had the leg. But at this point, the leg had become completely useless. My knee was fused. My ankle was partially fused. That was the damage the infection caused. It destroyed the joints along with the soft tissue. And then when the bone... When my body was trying to grow the bone back for the joints, it got miscommunicated because of all the infection going on. And it created bone where there wasn't supposed to be bone. And so I ended up with joints that didn't work-

Chad Jordan: Your legs atrophied too?

Pete Way: It is. The muscles were. Not only did they have to cut out a lot of muscle, but the muscle left is severely atrophied. And I can't use my knee or my ankle. And we stopped about two weeks after the antibiotics, after I finished the antibiotics, the infection came back.

Chad Jordan: Oh my gosh.

Pete Way: And so the writings was just on the wall for me because any options they talked about with saving the leg and maybe getting it back to function hinged around a minimum of a year being infection free. And so every time the infection would come back, that clock's going to start over. And so that was the point. It's like the leg's got to come off now.

Chad Jordan: And this is 2014?

Pete Way: Now we've hit 2014 still. And then we were... I had it electively amputated in February of 2015. And so that was another one of those-

Chad Jordan: Is this Fort Bragg? Walter Reed? Where is this?

Pete Way: Now I'm in Georgia. My wife's family is from Georgia. There's a whole another side story in that of PTSD and the effects of brain injuries that has multiple paths here now. I've gone from Fort Bragg and being in North Carolina to going back reserve status and then making the decision to move to Georgia.
And so now-

Chad Jordan: You got to choose that? Or-

Pete Way: As a reservist you do. That's an advantage with the reserves is you can essentially seek out your own assignments and take those. And so I was getting worse physically. I was not able to jump out of airplanes anymore. It was clear that I was probably not going to be able to deploy. The things that meant something militarily were fading, being taken away from me.

Chad Jordan: Not just probably militarily. They probably meant something emotionally, right? I mean that was who you were.

Pete Way: It was definitely. I mean that's part of the problem with transition is the loss of that identity because it really is a whole identity.
So we've moved to Georgia to be closer to family.

Chad Jordan: It's almost like in the military they do bereavement assignments.

Pete Way: Right.

Chad Jordan: And this is like for you, it was that.

Pete Way: Yeah. For me, it was the ability to, yeah, [crosstalk 00:49:34] ourselves-

Chad Jordan: Emotional support. Yeah.

Pete Way: Yeah.And go where we have the best support and go where things are going to be the best for our kids. And thinking of medical care, we've got a much bigger medical center in Georgia than at Fort Bragg. So generally a good place to be for the state that I was in at that point.
And somewhere in all that, my world came crashing down. It came crashing down mentally, not just physically. And that's the side that really hits you like a ton of bricks because I'm strong. I've been in Afghanistan. And I've done Special Forces things. And I've done... I was doing my emergency responder stuff. That escalated up to where I was working with law enforcement as a SWAT medic, real similar to what you get to do in the war.

Chad Jordan: Hey, you were the personal medic for the king of Afghanistan. So your resume at this point... But emotionally and mentally-

Pete Way: It's starting to come apart. There was a long period of covering things up even to myself, refusing to acknowledge feelings that are there [crosstalk 00:50:55]-

Chad Jordan: Who's noticing it? Who's saying something to you?

Pete Way: My family. My wife, my kids, they know dad is in a really bad way. Physically, things had gotten bad from the infections and the problems coming from the infections. I'm taking pain meds. I'm taking lots of pain meds. There was a long period where to stay fit for duty, the army was happy to keep giving me pain meds. And I'm feeling like I'm functioning. But those were just covering things up and actually making them worse.
And that just suddenly all fell apart. It's hard to say what really made it fall apart. But everything that was working, suddenly wasn't working anymore.

Chad Jordan: What did it look like when things fell apart? Outbursts? Withdrawn... I mean what-

Pete Way: I'm going through the effects of being on pain medicines. So I've got cravings to take them. I'm taking pain meds to avoid the withdrawal effects of not taking pain meds. I'm in this vicious stew. Meanwhile those pain meds have helped to mask PTSD and probably the effects of brain injury, masked it really well so that I'm functioning and doing things. And then all of a sudden, I can't anymore. You just get to a point that you can't take enough of the pain meds to have the effect it used to have so that it covers things up. And so suddenly I can't push out the bad feelings. And I can't push out this darkness, this cloud that is over... It seems like it's over everything in my life.
And so this is all in this mash up between 2009 and when my leg got completely trashed in 2014.

Chad Jordan: Was the leg the breaking point for you?

Pete Way: Yeah, the leg was almost the healing point. Oddly enough, it's one of those weird things where all the bad stuff led up to the point where the leg needed to come off. And cutting the leg off, I don't know why... Probably because now I have an outward sign of everything that's going on. Everything is not just inside me. Suddenly people see the missing leg. And they recognize what's going on. They recognize... It's very visible.
Where PTSD, traumatic brain injury, they're hidden wounds of war. We don't see those. And so people don't acknowledge them. We don't want to talk about them. We don't want to accept that that soldier, that marine, whoever that looks so great in uniform we're so proud of might be going through a lot of really bad shit.
And so having my leg cut off suddenly people thank you for your service. And suddenly-

Chad Jordan: It's just that? Start putting you in the right... pushing you in the right direction?

Pete Way: It was part of the big picture. Losing the leg was probably a big factor because it suddenly made a lot of internal things very outward. Right around the time, just before really losing the use of the leg and then losing the leg, I got my service dog. Rory really turned some things around for the whole family. The entire family dynamic took this major pivot when we got Rory.

Chad Jordan: How old is Rory now?

Pete Way: Rory's seven now.

Chad Jordan: So he was still a puppy-ish?

Pete Way: He was pretty much, 18,19 months old and very puppy-ish.

Chad Jordan: Even though he was a certified service dog by that point, right? You were his first-

Pete Way: I was his first... He was my first service dog. And I was his first human beyond trainers and such. So he's a great dog. And he's a lot like me. He tested every limit, found the boundaries, pushed beyond them, came back when he felt like he needed to. And we worked out this dynamic over a couple of months together where we really came to an understanding with how things were going to work with us.
And meanwhile, everything in the family is rosier because this dog has come into our lives.

Chad Jordan: That's incredible.

Pete Way: And I don't want to make it sound like it's just the dog because meanwhile I've gotten some treatment for some things. My family has gotten some treatment for some things. We've had a lot of help from outside organizations who were getting resources for us. And my wife stayed with me through all this.

Chad Jordan: How many years? How many years?

Pete Way: 30 years in less than a month.

Chad Jordan: Incredible. That is incredible for everything that you've been through.

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: 30 years is-

Pete Way: It's something that shouldn't be in all of this. And yet it is. And so-

Chad Jordan: You married well obviously.

Pete Way: Apparently I did. They always told me I married up. I didn't really know what it meant before. So...

Chad Jordan: I've met her. And she's off camera right now. But yes, you did. Great job.

Pete Way: I'm not just saying that because she's in the room.

Chad Jordan: You chose well.

Pete Way: I'm not just saying that because she's in the room.

Chad Jordan: You're a good decision maker obviously.

Pete Way: Yeah. Yeah. So there was a lot of forces that really came together. And it just was the turn. And I think losing the leg just gave me the freedom to let go of some things beyond the physical. And again, it's almost too clichéd. But it really is what happened. That just continued this shift from being this collective ball of stuff that was a really jerk to trying to become human again. And all these things that came into play that it just turned things around for me.

Chad Jordan: And you are such a go-getter that you're... Is it America's Service Dog Association or something that you're on the board? Tell me about that.

Pete Way: So Rory came from America's Vet Dogs.

Chad Jordan: Okay. America's Vets Dogs.

Pete Way: And the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, that's their parent organization out of New York, Long Island. And they've done so much. Getting this service dog meant so much, the way it turned the family around. And I had a thing for dogs anyway. But it was seeing what the power of the dog and the healing power of a dog is so beyond me. And so I wanted to give back. So I have gotten on the board of directors as a volunteer. And I give time to... I sit with a lot of people with a lot of initials behind their names that can talk about things from a business standpoint that are just over my head. But I can talk about the reality. When you're going to spend money, what [crosstalk 00:57:54]

Chad Jordan: You're the expert of the room.

Pete Way: The reminder that at the end of the day, it's about getting these dogs to veterans and first responders, getting these dogs to change lives. And so if I don't do anything else, that's my job is to remind them of that.

Chad Jordan: Do you think you're in this good of a place mentally without Rory?

Pete Way: I'd say no. But that-

Chad Jordan: This is not a PSA for-

Pete Way: Exactly. It's not.

Chad Jordan: It's just I want to know if really could an animal make that much of a difference.

Pete Way: I think it does. And I think it's just a neutral non-judgmental, "I'm there for everybody." And it just changes the mood. If nothing else, it creates an opening because I'm calmer. I'm nicer. It's really hard to... You talk baby talk to your dog. And you pat them and they're there for you and then turn around and jump down somebody's throat. So you just change the fine family dynamic.

Chad Jordan: It's the balancing.

Pete Way: Yeah. You create a-

Chad Jordan: Equilibrium.

Pete Way: Where people are... We're nicer. And we can start to actually talk and work things out.

Chad Jordan: I love that.

Pete Way: And so it really did. And one of my things I say is it took an animal to make me more human.

Chad Jordan: That's beautiful.

Pete Way: And that's what he's done.

Chad Jordan: And I'm going to wrap this up in just a second. But wife of 30 years, she's getting ready to retire.

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: And ride off in the sunset with you. You've got-

Pete Way: Literally.

Chad Jordan: A son who is in the Air Force Academy. Right?

Pete Way: Yup.

Chad Jordan: Mechanical engineer? Is this-

Pete Way: Mechanical engineering. And he's third year there.

Chad Jordan: You're not proud of him at all. I get it.

Pete Way: No, not a bit.

Chad Jordan: And then your daughter is in dentistry school?

Pete Way: She is in dental school now. She started her second year in dental school.

Chad Jordan: And joining-

Pete Way: She is already in. She had to outdo her brother because she's the big sister. So he's a cadet until he graduates. And then he'll become a second lieutenant. She just took the short route and got into dental school. And they made her a second lieutenant right away.

Chad Jordan: In demand. So my question, so what's next for you?

Pete Way: I've started a non-profit. And adaptive sports has been a go-to over the last few years. And that was again something that would not have been available had I not lost my leg. And that became real meaningful too in healing and recovery. And it also got me out. I met a lot of great people, a lot of great organizations.
And then I realized that people on my own hometown, fellow vets don't necessarily have the luxury of traveling all over the country to do these things.

Chad Jordan: And what's the non-profit called?

Pete Way: We're called Fight On. We are a part of Forces United. We joined with another non-profit with a larger umbrella and of coverage. And so I'm providing adaptive sports and activities as well as general health and wellness activities for veterans and their families as well as our local first responders.

Chad Jordan: And is it local or is it-

Pete Way: It's local with goals of eventually a national reach.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Do you have a website or Facebook page?

Pete Way: We do. We have a Facebook page. We're @vetsfighton. And we also have vetsfighton.org is our webpage. And then you can also find us under Forces United on Facebook.

Chad Jordan: And you didn't know I was going to ask you this question.

Pete Way: I didn't.

Chad Jordan: I mean you're prepared. I like it.

Pete Way: These are out there.

Chad Jordan: But you didn't say, "Hey, I'll do this interview if I can plug my stuff."

Pete Way: No. No. I didn't expect to I'll tell you. But I'm trying to give back. I'm trying to pay this forward. Suddenly the luster wasn't there on traveling and doing these things as much as it used to be. And I realized that that was because it's time for me to start giving that, not just being the guy who's getting to have all the fun. So yeah.

Chad Jordan: That's tremendous.

Pete Way: It's part of the next adventure. And then of course with Anne retiring, you said, "Drive off into the sunset," we really are going to drive off into the sunset.

Chad Jordan: I love it.

Pete Way: We've got a van. It's been converted for camping. And we're planning to hit the road when the time allows, get out there and travel.

Chad Jordan: Until grandkids come in the picture. And then you're going to shift into another gear. We've got some time on that.

Pete Way: We've got a little time here. That's the good thing.

Chad Jordan: So three questions, then I'll let you get out of here. These are the final three just fun. This is how we end it. All right. Question number one, when they make the movie telling the story of your life, who do you want to play the lead character?

Pete Way: Lead character. Right now, I'd say Bradley Cooper.

Chad Jordan: Oh great choice. That's my guy.

Pete Way: Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: I love [crosstalk 01:02:57] Bradley Cooper. Is that what your wife want? I think that's... Okay. She's-

Pete Way: I don't know. I have to look over to her. She's good with that.

Chad Jordan: She's agreeing with that full-heartedly. Okay. Number two, what should the title of that movie be?

Pete Way: Oh man. The title of that movie. That's a good one. So we'll call it Wayward Daze.

Chad Jordan: Wayward Daze? And D-A-Z-E?

Pete Way: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Pete Way: D-A-Z-E.

Chad Jordan: Okay. I like it. Is there a story there?

Pete Way: Nah, there might be.

Chad Jordan: Okay. That'll be the second-

Pete Way: Part two. You got to have me on again if you want to hear more.

Chad Jordan: The third question, the soundtrack, which band do you want doing the soundtrack?

Pete Way: Oh wow. So soundtrack to this one, man, it's a toss up because there's a lot of good country music out there. And we're going to go with Black Panther theme here, we're kind of sticking to one primary artist. I'll just say Dave Matthews' band.

Chad Jordan: Oh nice. Okay. I love using Dave Matthews' band.

Pete Way: Just because they got it all. Dave Matthews runs cross genres.

Chad Jordan: They can do the slow stuff, the pick-it-up.

Pete Way: Exactly. Exactly. So that's going to cross through all the types of music we need for this to work.

Chad Jordan: Okay. We'll tag Dave Matthews in this podcast-

Pete Way: There you go.

Chad Jordan: And see if they'll invite you out.

Pete Way: Maybe I'll get to meet him someday.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Exactly, backstage and stuff. But I told you know what my sweet spot is of a podcast. And if we ran over, so be it. Notice I didn't stop recording because this was epic.

Pete Way: I don't know how long we've been talking for. I'm a natural.

Chad Jordan: Longer than I had told you I'd keep you here. But that's because you've done... This is amazing. And obviously, thank you for your service.

Pete Way: It's always my honor.

Chad Jordan: Even if you hadn't suffered any sort of physical, just the fact that you served, you had that desire, that heart to do it-

Pete Way: It's been an honor.

Chad Jordan: Retelling how you got here and everything that you've pushed yourself, and your family's support, and of course hearing about Rory, this has been such an amazing time. So thank you for carving out some time for us. Are you going car shopping today? Is that what I-

Pete Way: We're finished in car shopping. We bought one a couple day ago. So it's another interesting dynamic.

Chad Jordan: Well, good luck with all of that. Hopefully that one goes quicker than me keeping you here this whole time.

Pete Way: Yeah, we're basically just going to finish some paperwork.

Chad Jordan: Well, I hope... I know Sport Clips, we're going to do Aletheia Foundation. We're going to continue. I hope next year, I get to see you again. We've barely even talked about Walter Reed and all of that stuff.

Pete Way: Oh no. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: That would be another podcast down the road. But I really wanted to capture your story and hear about it. So thanks again.

Pete Way: Yeah, I've enjoyed talking to you.

Chad Jordan: All right. Thank you, man.