After returning home from a deployment in Afghanistan in 2010, a Jefferson City native is working to help veterans struggling to readjust to civilian life.
Shawn Lee, 29, said his time in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division was defined by constant gun battle. He and his comrades got so used to the warzone that they felt most at home during active fighting.
A traumatic brain injury from an improvised explosive device left Lee struggling with memory and balance. It also limited his ability to control his emotions.
"I would find myself just being in rages, reacting inappropriately to some negative stimulus. The biggest thing was to just get back a hold of myself, calm down and realize that I was not in any danger," he said.
Over time, Lee said he's learned to keep calm. He also has a service dog because he suffers from seizures (he had a couple seizures before his deployment, but the frequency increased greatly after).
Now, Lee is in his second year at MU's law school. He wants to help fellow veterans after seeing his friends struggle with life after combat.
"They didn't acclimate as well as I did. They started having problems, getting into trouble. And a lot of them, instead of receiving treatment...subtance abuse treatment, TBI treatment...they were punished for their trouble. Kicked out of the military and denied benefits," he said. Lee plans to work at the school's Veterans Clinic, providing free services to veterans.
Journalists embedded in Lee's unit after he left Afghanistan made a documentary about their experiences on the front line.
Tickets for " The Hornet's Nest " are still available for a screening at 4:30 p.m. on November 14 at the law school.
It will also play in theatres nationwide in February.