Master Sgt. Scott Paul: Crossing the finish line
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care Transition

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, if it has four wheels and is racing on a track, Master Sgt. Scott Paul is there.

"I can truthfully say there is nothing like seeing and hearing a vehicle with a big engine and a loud exhaust screaming down the racetrack. It is like any other person who loves cars, it is a pure adrenaline rush that we crave," said Paul.

Paul got involved with motorsports when he was a little boy in the 80's. His father was a mechanic and took him to races, monster truck shows, and car shows. "Going to those events as a kid are awesome memories that I share with my father and still talk about to this day," he added.

Those memories are cherished even more after Paul suffered a traumatic brain injury in July 2011 from an improvised explosive device while deployed to Afghanistan. The Air Defense Artillery Specialist had two more incidents in March and August of 2018 and has been dealing with the effects ever since.

"Dealing with traumatic brain injuries have been the hardest thing for me because I remember how great I was and always strived to be the best of the best," Paul said. "I never knew how serious TBI's are, but after going through it, I can tell you that it is very serious."

Paul has experienced large amounts of pain due to the traumatic brain injury that affects his sleep, walking, causes depression, suicidal ideations and attempts, angry outbursts and memory problems.

"All in all, I knew God is in control of all things and it took me awhile and lots of counseling to finally understand that. Now that I look back on things, I honestly believe that God has a plan for me and it was time for me to move on."

Paul healed and recovered at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he also began preparing for his future. It was at the WTB, after connecting with Warrior Transition Coordinator Larry Lingenfelter, he learned about Operation Motorsports, an organization that helps service men and women seeking their next career as civilians find employment in the automotive industry.

"I love the motorsports organization and what it does. It gives Veterans who are struggling, a brand new breath of fresh air while putting the adrenaline back into their body. It also makes them feel as if they are part of a team again," Paul said.

This past August, Paul was invited to attend the Virginia Raceway motorsport event as part of the Paul Miller Racing Team's pit crew.

"I can honestly say it was a once in a lifetime experience being at the race. It was like a dream you do not want to wake up from," Paul said. "Never in my life would I ever think I could be [part of a pit crew] and the feeling reminded me of being part of an Army team that will do everything it takes to win. It was hard work and pretty long hours, but it is the type of work that you absolutely love and desire, and cannot stop thinking or talking about."

Scott's hard work and dedication to the mission that day paid off. He received a job offer to work with the Paul Miller Racing Team.

"I was absolutely blown away and speechless when they told me that they want me to work with them. I went there with an open mind and just to learn about everything that goes into racing and learn behind the scenes what you do not get to see on television," Paul said. "I was not thinking or expecting a job offer when I went to Virginia International Raceway that day. I just wanted to be around something that I have a passion for. You work hard in silence and let your success be the noise."

Much like the racing event and his new job offer, Paul says he found his time as a Soldier provided the foundation he needed for the next chapter in his life.

"Being a Soldier, you are part of something that is larger than you can ever imagine. You always felt like you are part of the team and the mission cannot be a success and happen, unless you are there," Paul said. "Now, after being assigned to the WTB for a couple months and being properly educated, it has been a true blessing. With the WTB, Soldiers can take a step back, regroup, and get back into the fight, or the WTB will provide every opportunity to make you successful as a Veteran."