East Hampton man finds second life through National Guard

EAST HAMPTON --  National Guard Specialist Tyler Anderson, knows how to work through challenges but it hasn't been easy. This East Hampton native has pulled himself up from rock bottom.

"I didn't care where I was. I didn't care what I did. If I got in trouble, hey whatever, it got really bad," said Anderson.

It all started when his mother began battling depression. He joined the National Guard as way to cope.

"I've always wanted to join since I was about six years old but I was kind of that pushing factor to be like yea I'm going to go do this," said Anderson.

But his mother's condition got worse. After she got word that a health problem would keep her from working.

"My mom used to be a really hard working woman she used to work at Pratt & Whitney and she used to love her job. When she couldn't work anymore and she was staying home, she just felt very alone and things at home just got to the point that she couldn't handle it anymore," said Anderson.

That's when she attempted to take her own life by shooting herself in the head. She lived through it but now deals with severe health problems. Anderson decided to leave the home he grew up in.

"I'd go from couch-to-couch and then it just got to the point that I would stay out of my car at some points during the week because I couldn't find a place to stay," said Anderson.

Anderson found himself feeling hopeless and concerned he was heading down the same path as his mother. But throughout this time, he found comfort in his National Guard family. During a drill weekend, he told someone what he was going through and it went up through his chain of command. He was referred to the National Guard Foundation, a program that helps guard members in their times of need.

"From there I kind of just went with it. You know what I don't want to be here anymore. I'm going to go and better myself through this program," said Anderson.

They gave him temporary housing, he found a full-time job, and then he found his own place.

"I believe that the program helped me tremendously," said Anderson. My whole mindset now is completely different."

And today, Anderson is leaving others with a message.

"Go out and get the help because if you're sitting there and you don't know whats going on and you're getting to the point where you don't even recognize yourself, go get the help."

You can support the Connecticut National Guard Foundation this Saturday, July 15th, at your local car dealer’s Cookout for the Troops, a statewide event in partnership with FOX61 Expect More Hope, to benefit Connecticut’s military members, their families and the organizations that support them. Click here to learn more.