Mary Dague (MD) and Max Voelz (MV)
MD: Why did you first contact me?
MV: I was in a pretty dark spot at the time. And another bomb tech thought that talking to you would help, and it did.
MD: I remember it took a while to get you to talk.
MV: Yeah. Then I wouldn’t shut up.
MD: I’m okay with that. Like it’s okay. Well, it’s not okay but it’ll get better.
MD: You do seem a lot happier.
MV: I’m glad. I am. I mean I’m always gonna have the can’t sleep and the nightmares. But basically you have a gift of helping people who are depressed. Where does your attitude come from?
MD: When I was young I was very soft. I cried a lot. And right after high school, I was engaged and his mom pulled me into the kitchen making dinner one day and was like, ”Don’t worry Mary, I’m going to train you to be the perfect housewife.”
It scared the hell out of me. I was like ah-ah. I joined the Army like a week later.
MV: How were you injured? What happened?
MD: We got a call for an IED that the Iraqi Army had picked up. So I got it in the truck and I laid it down in there, and it started to roll off and I went to grab it and it detonated.
I could hear this woman screaming and screaming, and then I realized that it was me.
MV: What kind of stuff do you have to deal with on a daily basis because of your injuries?
MD: I’ll tell you the worst part is I’ve never really liked being the center of attention.
MV: And now you have a big sign on your forehead.
MD: Yeah. But I have quite the collection of t-shirts. They say things like, ”worst drummer ever.” I have one that’s got a big thumbs up and says ”thumb wrestling champion.” I, I guess the way I look at it is, yeah, I lost my arms, and I’m mostly deaf, my face is scarred to fuck. But all of that has lead to some really amazing opportunities. And I’ve helped a lot of people. I, I don’t know if I could lead a happier life now.
Lesley Holot (LH) and Max Voelz (MV)
LH: You know, I certainly wasn’t going into it thinking like, ”Hey, this is the guy that I want to spend the rest of my life with.” But I think we knew very quickly that this was pretty permanent.
MV: What’s been the most difficult for you?
LH: Having to adjust. I didn’t know what PTSD meant. But, you know, I picked you, and whatever came along with that is part of the deal. So I’m kind of learning as I go.
MV: Me too. I mean, obviously, I’m a lot to deal with sometimes. I came with industrial baggage.
LH: I think that your life was pretty shitty for a while, and I want you to have more.
MV: I just want to be happy. And I’m normally happy, now, and that’s a big change and very good. I told you from very early on, you’re like a dream.
LH: I… I’m really glad I heard that story that day.
MV: Me too.