In this recurring special feature, Nonahood News recognizes and honors those everyday heroes who have served or are currently serving our country and making a difference in our community. Those who reside in the Lake Nona and surrounding area are our Nona Heroes.
“That’s not a dog!” Lieutenant Colonel Mark Green, retired, said.
While he was serving in Afghanistan in 2010, Green’s wife and son asked him about getting a family dog. After seeing a photo of the dog, Green shared his skepticism about getting the part Labrador retriever and part chihuahua. Agreeing to get him, Green and his family decided to name their dog Mohawk, after the small mohawk that sits in the middle of his head.
Green, who calls his Mohawk his “veteran-rescue dog,” finds that he and Mohawk go hand-in-hand. Green was rescued with the support of his family and friends after returning home, and Mohawk was a rescue dog taken in by the Green family.
“He’s the guy that keeps me in the fight,” Green mentioned.
Just as Mohawk helps Green with his fight, Green hopes he can do the same for others. He now serves as many other veterans as he can with their transition in life after their service by building their resilience. Much of that help comes from his own life experiences.
For 34 years, from 1982 to 2016, Green was in the service of the U.S. Army with 24 of those years in active duty. As an inspector general, he was responsible for the southern half of Afghanistan during one stint. While part of the 82nd Airborne Division, he was part of the inaugural team that had taekwondo recognized as an official Army sport. He is now a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo. Ultimately, his time in service prepared him for the transitional support he gives to others.
“I realized what the service did for me was so powerful because it gave me virtues and values, it gave me direction and something bigger than myself,” Green said.
However, it took Green’s struggles throughout his life for him to realize what he wanted to do after his service. Recounting some of his earliest adversities, Green mentioned he grew up in a mobile home with a family of six. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, a brother lost to murder and all with no discipline, guidance or structure in life.
Avoiding being another statistic helped Green realize that he wanted to do something that could give hope to others. He was able to find another purpose in his life.
“Your why comes out of your adversity, it doesn’t come from everything good in life,” Green said.
Today, Green has channeled his life lessons to run his company My Silver Boots LLC, a consulting company that helps military families with post-service transitions and resilience. As part of the help he gives, he wants veterans to know that “you deal with problems as lessons, not something to carry around as baggage in your life.”
In addition to his company, he has written and published two companion books with co-author Echo Garrett. The two books were a way for Green to share his experiences and advice on a one-to-many basis rather than a one-to-one basis.
His first book, Step Out, Step Up: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Transitions and Military Service, is a memoir to help others find connections from their own life. His second book, Warrior’s Code 001: 7 Vital Steps to Resiliency, is based off a life experience. Being a self-help book, the steps Green writes about can be adapted to the individual’s personal life and habits.
From consultation to books, Green mentions that he strives to show genuine care as, what some call him, the Mindset Vet. Green strived to show this care by making the books the right size to fit into a cargo pocket. By doing so, those in service could read the books at their own leisure while keeping the book handy.
In his most recent project, Green spends quite some time at Lake Nona’s Canvas
preparing for a 60-hour, pre-recorded online summit that will take place July 11. His priority with the free summit is to help veterans make connections and network with 60 professionals in fields like mindset, finance and business.
Reflecting on it all, just as he was skeptical of getting what he once didn’t consider to be a dog, he was also once skeptical about the decision to consult others while sharing his life stories. Green has undertaken many efforts to give back to other veterans, but he wasn’t always sure about the work he does today. He didn’t see himself as a public speaker initially. From his constant interactions with large audiences and his time spent at the Lake Nona Toastmasters Club, however, he mentioned he was able to develop his speaking skills. Those very skills have helped him perform his self-defined purpose.
His main purpose and priority is to be of service to other veterans for the rest of his life. Along the way, Green realized that until he would do what he says he is going to do, he would not be of value to the community.
“The world needs courageous leaders who have walked the walk before they talk the talk,” Green said.