E5 Sergeant Mikail Al-Malik shares how a facility like the OrthoIndy YMCA in Pike Township would benefit his family.
I was called to serve in the military. My mother served in the Marine Corps, my grandfather was in the Navy, and as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a Marine. After 10 years, I got out of the military to spend time with my family—I have a son and another baby on the way.
When I was in the military, I had to work out all day, every day, as that was the culture that we were in. Now that I’m trying to make an existence outside the military and provide for my family, taking some of that time to read, to exercise, and to meditate can slip by the wayside. It’s great to have a place like the Y where I can take my family and gain some time back for myself.
Military culture really stresses independence and strength, so when you get injured or face challenges like PTSD, you don’t talk about it. As veterans, we’re lacking a place where we can get access to all the resources that are available to us. We also need a safe zone, a haven of people who understand us. As a veteran, I get really excited about the Pike YMCA’s construction because I believe it can serve as that safe zone and can have a huge impact on the veterans in the Indianapolis area.