Coleman and Christin Plummer’s love story began in high school in Naples. When Coleman enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduation, their love grew stronger and she followed him to California where he was stationed after basic training. They married at just 19 years old.
Now 35, together the couple has endured the many difficulties – both visible and invisible – that often come with military service and combat during times of war. From multiple deployments and family separation to physical and mental health challenges, the couple has stood by each other so they can live their best life – asking for help along the way.
Coleman served 12 years in the Marine Corps. During that time, he was “shot at a lot, was hit by explosives, lost friends, and had to do things that the military requires of you”. As a young man fresh out of high school, Coleman was called upon to shoot to kill – some were women and children. “Nothing can prepare you for that,” said Coleman.
This left lasting emotional scars. Coleman had angst about being deployed again, experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drank heavily to cope. The physical wounds he endured during his service included hearing loss, a traumatic brain injury, migraines and shoulder, knee, foot and hand injuries that made life more difficult as well.
As Coleman faced these challenges, his family was also impacted. While stationed in the “Triangle of Death” in Iraq, Coleman missed the birth of his first child and during another deployment to Japan years later, he spent a year apart from his growing family which now included four children.
“Deployments were some of the most difficult times for Coleman and I,” said Christin. “We had to learn to communicate better and have trust in our relationship – skills I continue to use today.”
When Coleman was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and moved back to Naples with his family in 2015, his physical and mental health had suffered greatly. It took him two years to get on disability with the VA, which meant no PTSD medications and no surgery for his shoulder injury so he drank, smoked cigarettes and marijuana, didn’t work out and sought comfort in food.
At 5’ 8”, Coleman had not only developed unhealthy coping strategies for his PTSD symptoms, he gained nearly 80 pounds since leaving the military weighing at his highest 253 pounds. When he finally began receiving VA benefits, they referred him to the Home Base Warrior Health & Fitness program where he and his wife’s journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle began.
Today, with the help of the entire Home Base wellness team, Coleman is down to 150 pounds, he eats a vegan diet, gave up alcohol and cigarettes, and now maintains his PTSD solely through the use of prescribed medical marijuana. Best yet, Christin and Coleman became partners in the program, motivating and supporting each other as they grew closer and stronger together.
In addition to building her physical strength and becoming more aware of her body and eating habits, Christin credits Home Base for helping her marriage grow stronger. Christin added, “The Warrior Health & Fitness program has increased our communication, time together while in the gym, and time apart to work on ourselves and our individual health goals.”
Coleman credits Home Base and the personal attention they received with changing he and Christin’s life for the better – support Home Base feels all military families deserve for the price they pay defending America’s freedoms.
“There are a lot of programs that help Veterans, but there is no other program like Home Base,“ said Coleman. “We had full access to their team and they became like family. They tailored our workouts and diets to our lifestyle. That support was indispensable. We are so grateful for all the donors who support Home Base.”