Hello everyone! It is time to introduce our first guest blogger. This one was one I picked because I felt that it is sometimes difficult to incorporate our mental and spiritual health. I knew the perfect person to help me do that so with no further build up....one of my best friends, an amazing father, husband, pastor, United States Marine and overall fantastic person, Mr. Nick Pridemore. (I know, I said no further build up but I love the guy)
Here is Nick's overall story/credentials so you can get an idea where he is coming from. I should also note that Nick led this blog owner (that's me) to the Lord when I was 15. I am honored to have him write for my humble little blog.
Nick Graduated from Central Bible College in 2002 with a BA in Bible and Theology. From there he went to Fremont, Ohio where he was the Youth and Associate Pastor from 2002-2003. During that time, he felt God drawing him back to a childhood dream of being a Marine. He had buried those hopes when he felt God calling him to be pastor. After several confirmations, he enlisted in November of 2003 and left for boot camp in February of 2004. He enlisted in the 0300 field, which translates to infantry in civilian language. He did well through boot camp and the Marine Corps School of Infantry (SOI) where he trained as a standard infantryman, 0311. Towards the end of SOI he was selected for a specialty infantry group called Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) 0313.
He finished the schooling for LAR as the honor graduate with the top GPA in his class and was attached to 2nd LAR Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was deployed to Iraq twice with this Battalion. His first deployment was from March to September of 2005. During this deployment, he was the driver on a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), but dismounted to take part in building clearing and foot patrols. Nick took part in over 300 combat missions. Also during this deployment his vehicle was directly hit in 4 different explosions; 2 IED’s and 2 landmines. (I don't know about you guys, but I feel grateful that he is here to teach us something!)
Between his first and second deployment, Nick received a meritorious promotion to Corporal and moved up to the gunner position in the LAV. He spent 2 weeks as a gunner and was moved up again to Vehicle Commander. During this time, he also finished the requisite interviews and exams and became a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God. His battery trained for about a year and deployed again to Al Anbar from September of 2006 to April of 2007. This deployment saw less IED’s, but more firefights and sniper activity. While in Iraq, Nick received a second meritorious promotion to Sergeant. Combining the numbers from both deployments Nick's platoon was involved in 12 IED attacks, 15 mortar attacks, 7 combined mortar and rocket attacks, and countless firefights and sniper attacks.
Nick also held Bible studies for Marines between patrols and was blessed to see over 30 Marines come to know Jesus in Iraq. He continued these Bible studies for Marines between deployments and during his last few months before he ended active duty. Nick still keeps in touch with several of them who are still serving Jesus and learning to live a God-pleasing life. Nick has baptized and conducted weddings for Marines as well. In the absence of the Battalion Chaplain, his Company Commander saw fit to name Nick the Company Chaplain.
After Nick's second deployment he spent his last 8 months in the Corps training his Battalion on a new sighting system for their vehicle’s main gun, and was honorably discharged from active duty on February 16, 2008. Nick returned to his "Home", Indiana where he was received on staff at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship where he currently serves as the College Pastor to Indiana University, and as the church’s Youth Pastor as well.
Nick has been married for going on 11 years this September to his gorgeous wife Merry and is the father to Calvin Michael Pridemore, age 4, Adison Elizabeth Pridemore, age 2, and mystery baby Pridemore due in October of 2010! He certainly has his hands full so I am very grateful that he is taking the time to write for me and help with some of the mental health/spirituality quandries.
Thanks to Nick and to all of you readers, enjoy his upcoming blogs!