Army Specialist Duane Topping served three tours in Iraq before medically retiring in 2012.
Although he comes across as a tough guy with his tattoos and leather jacket, while deployed he found comfort from an unlikely place. Duane came to StoryCorps with his wife, Jamie Topping, to recall the difficulties of transitioning to civilian life while struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Today, Duane and Jamie run a successful design house out of Denver, Colorado. In September, they returned home from their first official show at New York Fashion Week.
Top photo: Jamie and Duane Topping pose during their StoryCorps interview in the Topping Designs studio in Wheat Ridge, Colorado on May 17, 2018. Photo by Mia Warren for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Duane Topping poses in Kuwait while deployed as an Army Specialist in 2006, during his second deployment to Iraq. Courtesy of Duane Topping.
Bottom photo: Duane Topping works at his design studio in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Photo by Mia Warren for StoryCorps.
Originally aired October 6, 2018, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.