A Group he could call his family
Bruno joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 2001 and was assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines as a machine-gunner, and deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also participated in Operation Peace Shield in Ukraine. He later served as combat instructor at the School of Infantry (West) from 2005-2008.
Bruno transitioned out of active duty in December 2008. Transition at that time was not easy, the Great Recession was at its peak and he had no college degree: 8 years of infantry service could only land him a job as a security guard, at best. Bruno also had a growing family to raise and support. He went back to a job in the casino industry. The casino industry was not good to Bruno. As an infantryman and combat instructor, transitioning into an environment where civilians were intoxicated and challenging to communicate with was hard. He was often conflicted as he watched people having fun but were not aware of the men and women on the front lines sacrificing their lives. While struggling with his job, he often decompressed by drinking after work. Bruno felt that his life was going nowhere and that his health, mental state, and career were suffering significantly. Finally, his wife and family urged him to seek mental health counseling.
To regain control of his life, he joined other veterans and headed to the VA to seek counseling. With his mental health needs met, he attended a community college, transferred to University of Nevada Las Vegas, graduating six years later with a master’s degree in social work. While in school, he served as the Student Veterans of America Chapter President for the Rebel Veterans Organization.
During Bruno's last year of school, he received a call from an MVP member asking if he would be interested in becoming a member in Las Vegas. He met with some of the MVP team and instantly hit it off. As a veteran who finally started working through his transition, he found MVP a place where he could let out his frustration on the bags and mats, have positive conversations in the fireside chats while simultaneously encouraging those who were just starting their transition. Meeting former professional players and listening to their transition struggles also brought perspective to his life. Since joining MVP, Bruno has found a positive outlet and a group he now calls ‘his family’.