Twenty years in law enforcement, 13 years in the United States Army, two published books, and actively serving as a mentor to veterans and military spouses, Dr. Jason Piccolo is now host of The Protectors Podcast and invited Boot Campaign CEO Shelly Kirkland and Veteran Ambassador Jason Borne to join in on the conversation. The Protectors Podcast brings true life stories from Law Enforcement, Military and Emergency Responders; our Nation’s “Protectors” AND those that support them. Protectors are those that run toward danger, the ones that put their lives on the line to keep us safe; here and abroad. We were honored to join Piccolo to discuss what it means to lead a life of service. Listen to the full podcast here

After the podcast recording, we turned the interview on Piccolo to learn more about his service, what continuing service after the military means to him and why the Boot Campaign mission is so important to him. 

Why did you choose to join the military?

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a soldier.  Every weekend my friends and I would play “war” in our backyards. Couple this with my love of the outdoors, the U.S. Army seemed the best choice so a couple years after high school I joined up. I ended up serving in the U.S. Army from 1993 to 2006, from PV2 to Captain, Artillery to Infantry, and served a tour in Iraq. 

What does service mean to you?

Service is more than a contract, a saying, or an order, it is something inside you that points you in the direction of service to others. I realized what service truly meant as a young soldier in the 1990s, watching and learning from the great leaders I served with, and used that for a basis of who I wanted to be and how I wanted to give back. That sense that I needed to continue serving remained after I left the service and propelled me to enter federal law enforcement over twenty years ago. 

What does it mean to you to continue to give back to the military community?

Through my show The Protectors I am honored to bring incredible stories of our military community to others, from war heroes, to special operators, to veteran small business owners, it is a great feeling to interview them. I have also volunteered with three separate Veteran Service Organizations over the past few years mentoring veterans and providing guidance on the complex federal hiring system.

What does the Boot Campaign mission mean to you?

More than you can imagine, mental health care is one of the biggest challenges to veteran community. Boot Campaign does more than just raise awareness, they are putting “boots to the ground” and working with health care providers to bring care to those in need. Research is also key to understanding post-traumatic stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), Boot Campaign is moving forward with key research.