Navy SEAL finds his voice and purpose

Navy SEAL finds his voice and purpose


>>SERGIO LOPEZ:
Not many people can say they died and came back to life. Not once. Not twice. But three times. I’m Sergio Lopez, I’m a Navy SEAL,
father of two beautiful girls and Harvard Extension Student. My story is a story of perseverance. On the 8th of May 2014, I collapsed during the physical fitness test for the Navy. I had a major heart attack. I had a second heart attack during the medevac ride and the third in the hospital. I was supposed to have a commissioning ceremony to become a Naval Officer and celebrate my promotion to Chief Warrant Officer II. Instead, I was in a coma for two weeks. They told my family I had a 50-50 chance of survival. When I woke up in the hospital, I was tied to a bed. A doctor walked into the room and said,
“You’re done being a Navy SEAL.” I could barely speak, but I said, to him “Sir, I will let you know when I’m done being a SEAL.” Just wanted to let you guys know, everybody did good. All of us are back safe,
and we’ll go out again and hit them again. So…good job fellas. I spent the next eight months in the VA hospital. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write,
I could not spell my own name. And my life, as I knew it, was destroyed. But one day, I thought to myself “Hey, I’ve completed several combat deployments.” This was a speed bump, and I wasn’t going to let it keep me down. I was released from the hospital later that year and spent the next four years doing outpatient therapy.>>DEAN HUNTINGTON D. LAMBERT:
After that fight, and not undamaged going forward he’s made a miraculous recovery. He’s an admitted student at Harvard now and I just think it’s incredibly inspiring. [AUDIENCE CLAPPING]>>SERGIO LOPEZ: Around the time of my injury,
I’d just started my journey to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at Harvard Extension School. After my injury, I thought for sure my dream of going to Harvard was over. Until I read about Brian Mast, a U.S. Army EOD veteran who was severly wounded in war, and graduate of Harvard [Extension School.] If he could persevere, I could persevere. I’m getting stronger by the day I had to start from scratch because of the anoxic brain damage I suffered. I’d forgotten much of what I’d learned, so my approach was methodical. Of all the things I survived – combat, brain injury, and death – It was my voice that was so
severely affected, and was a major factor in my insecurity. I retook the placement test. I took a course for no credit to immerse myself, I retook an extra course to rebuild my writing confidence. I took public speaking with
one of the greatest professors I have ever met to push myself way outside my
comfort zone, and reclaim my power of speech. I’m not finished with my healing. The goal is 100%. [Professor Remo Airaldi] Remo helped me
reclaim this power. He took me from a crawl, walk, run and sprint, to fly. I went from being a badass Navy SEAL,
to becoming illiterate… to now having earned five
consecutive A’s at Harvard. Buddha said “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” I needed to let go of the anger,
the questions, the insecurity. Death tried to take me not once, not twice, but three times. God spared my life to be with my girls. Things in life happen. It is how we respond, whether or not you’re going to give up or persevere…it is up to you.

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