Inspiring veteran winning his war against PTSD - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Inspiring veteran winning his war against PTSD

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to thank the heroes who have defended our country, but it can be a struggle for those who survive war.

Transitioning to civilian life can be a tremendous challenge, but Randy Dexter’s comeback story is an incredible one.

Dexter is getting straight A’s at Miramar College, and he has earned four scholarships.

What made a difference in Dexter’s life? A service dog.

Dexter followed his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps of service to our country after the September 11th attacks.

“I chose to be a combat medic. I wanted to go there to save lives,” he said.

Dexter was only 20-years-old when he found himself under attack on the streets of Baghdad as a combat medic.

“April 5th of 2005 we were hit by an IED,” he said.

The explosion killed the driver of another vehicle. Dexter tried to save the driver’s life. The guilt was overwhelming for Dexter. 

In 2013, a traumatic brain injury led to Dexter’s medical retirement. He was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Randy has a wife and three children and as much as he loved them, he couldn't stop drowning his depression with alcohol.

"Some nights it would be a couple of bottles to get me to pass out,” he said.

At the depth of his depression, Dexter pondered suicide.

As soon as Randy started to struggle with his past pain, Captain, his service dog, sensed the stress and hopped in his lap.

"He gives me kisses. He's there for me,” he said.

Turns out Randy Dexter, an Army medic, who spent years of his life saving soldiers needed to be saved himself.

That healing came from Captain.

"It feels really good. He saved my life. These dogs, they make a difference,” he said.

After Miramar College Dexter plans to transfer to UNLV, then return to San Diego where he hopes to earn a law degree at USD.

Captain will be his wingman every step of the way.

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