SEATTLE - There are veterans among us everywhere, many are unassuming and often humble about their service. But if you ask them, you will find inspiring stories and values that all of us can use in our daily lives.
“I am overly patriotic and I love my country,” Tim Cruickshank said.
You can never tell a Navy SEAL by just looking at them.
“I would tell myself if I can make it through this next hour or sometimes the next 30 minutes I can make it, and it is all perspective on how you view things,” Cruickshank said.
It takes extraordinary mental strength to join the most elite force. Cruickshank was among just 17 out of a class of more than 140 candidates to become a SEAL in 1992. He served in the military for 25 years and received around 27 medals, including a bronze star for valor.
“You can do more than you think you can,” Cruickshank said.
Even for Cruickshank, 2020 so far has been one of the hardest years of his life.
“To come home and tell my wife I don’t have a job it a was a little difficult,” Cruickshank said.
He’s never been unemployed but the pandemic had other plans. The Sammamish man lost his job as a physician’s assistant back in late March.
“The pressure that it puts on a family not to have money to pay your bills it’s significant, I tried everything and nobody was hiring,” Cruickshank said.
Amid the financial insecurities and COVID related problems, his family has been fighting another enemy.
“Having to deal with cancer,” Cruickshank said.
His wife Liz is the one battling cancer. Cruickshank has a lot of admiration for his wife who he called strong and independent.
“Coming from a SEAL team we raise our family and our kids as a team, we work together as a team,” Cruickshank said.
Even after retirement, the aspects that got him through boot camp and multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq are now helping him get through hardships.
“I relied on those memories and those experiences,” Cruickshank said.
After six hard months, he finally got a job in the medical field in Seattle.
The Sammamish couple is an inspiring example of what grit and determination looks like, something their three children can emulate.
“Share with them the struggles but also how to get through those,” Cruickshank said.
For anyone including veterans who may be struggling, the Cruickshank’s message is just to never give up.
“If you break it down into segments, like I said, and just take each thing step by step it doesn’t seem that overwhelming and we are going to make it through this,” Cruickshank said.
During his time of unemployment, Cruickshank managed to start online businesses selling wine and coffee. Portions of the sales go to help veterans in need: