Major Michael McDowell (BA ‘93) graduated from Warner with a degree in English: Secondary Education. McDowell is now the executive director of “The Soldiers Project”, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, that provides free mental health services to post 9/11 U.S. military service members, veterans and loved ones.
McDowell played for Warner’s basketball team under coach Gary Bays.
“As a Christian student-athlete, I learned about how God can “shape” your life if you are open to being obedient and truly seeking His guidance and purpose,” McDowell said.
“I met some of the most cherished relationships in my life [at Warner] that have made me the person I am today now 20+ years later.”
McDowell later served his country in the Marine Corps for 16 years, completing four combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and two to Southeast Asia. During his military career, McDowell led numerous units as a field artillery officer, led on-ground efforts to rebuild infrastructure and establish government services in Afghanistan, and was integral in the planning of the world-famous “Crucible” training event, a mandatory multi-day test that each Marine recruit must complete.
McDowell received many commendations during his time in the Marines, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and six Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medals.
“After six combat deployments in some of the most unforgiving human conditions imaginable, true brother and sisterhood is developed during shared misery,” McDowell said.
“As a Marine officer, you have to lead from the front. People want to be led by those willing to get their hands dirty,” McDowell said.
McDowell said that what he learned most from the Marines was how to get jobs done well and how to lead, and these are the principles that he takes with him into his work for The Soldiers Project.
McDowell said that he wanted to become a part of The Soldiers Project because he, himself suffers from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time in the Marines.
“At first I became angry with the ‘why’ part of my anger, frustration, sleeplessness, and anxiety with crowds, but I realize now that God put me in this position to help others,” McDowell said.
McDowell said that he is able to lead this national health care organization, “not because I am a mental health provider, but rather, because I have experienced it.”
“The Soldiers Project mission is critical to the health and well-being of those who have fought and still fight our longest-lasting ground wars,” McDowell said.
“I am honored to help lead this outstanding team of professionals and volunteers in getting our veterans and their families the mental health support they deserve.”
To learn more about The Soldiers Project or do donate, click here.
We are proud of our alumnus Major Michael McDowell!