Three years ago, William Paterson University student Tom Tice ’20 was nominated for a challenge – do 22 pushups for 22 days to raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention.
Inspired by the cause and the intersection of body and mind, Tice founded his own charity, Warrior Strong, Inc., an organization that works to improve the physical and mental health of our returning troops.
“I created Warrior Strong because I believe that there is a direct connection between physical and mental health,” says Tice. “By offering free fitness programs, we give veterans an opportunity to achieve their fitness goals, and in doing so, it gives them a channel to open up about other issues.”
Always eager to expand the organization’s reach, Tice routinely hit the road to spread the mission of Warrior Strong by visiting schools, military bases, and the Pentagon. After receiving positive feedback from troops about the program, he knew that if he wanted to make Warrior Strong his life’s work, he needed to continue his education. He needed to finish college.
After two years as a physical education major at William Paterson from 2014-16, Tice had dropped out. “For a long time, I thought of myself as a person who could not get a college degree,” shares Tice. “However, after helping veterans and seeing the positive results, I knew that if I wanted to continue the success of Warrior Strong, then I needed to help myself.”
Tice returned to William Paterson in 2019 with a declared major in health studies. He is expected to graduate this December and is slated to enroll in the University’s MBA program with a focus on entrepreneurship. What began as a passion for helping veterans has ultimately helped him find his purpose.
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