Cody Standiford - Graduate

May 11, 2011
Cody Standiford
Cody Standiford - Graduate

Growing up in a rural Oregon family of rodeo riders and lumberjacks, Cody Standiford learned a thing or two about being tough.

Standiford’s rough and tumble ways led him into high school wrestling, police and corrections work, mixed martial arts fighting and the military. Wanting to serve his country and figuring that the Army fit his personality, Standiford enlisted in April 2003.

"This is the greatest place in the world. I’m at that point an able-bodied young man. I need to step up and serve my country,” Standiford recalls thinking.

A tour in Iraq would test Standiford’s mettle and change his outlook in ways he could not have imagined. While stationed in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, Standiford hunted improvised explosive devices (IED) and those who used them. Twelve of the unit’s 30 soldiers were wounded and one was killed over the course of that deployment.

Over time, Standiford’s Humvee hit four IEDs. The explosions injured Standiford’s back and neck, but not severely enough to disable him. Then, in hand-to-hand combat with an insurgent who had fired on his patrol, Standiford wrenched his back. He thought he could deal with the pain. "You just take Ibuprofen as long you can.” But one day while coming out of a shower, Standiford’s knees gave out, and he knew he was done. He was medevaced out shortly thereafter.

After surgery to insert a cadaver bone into his right knee, Standiford returned to civilian life and earned an associate’s degree in anthropology at an Oregon community college. For Standiford, it was a logical progression after his time in Iraq and the interest he developed there for foreign culture. "In anthropology, you’re studying people. Why people do what they do in a cultural framework.”

For someone interested in learning about and helping people (Standiford had taught wrestling to high school students and martial arts and marksmanship to Army colleagues), the next logical step was the Wounded Warrior Program (WWP). Standiford learned about WWP while researching job opportunities for his younger brother. It seemed like an ideal way for Standiford to continue serving his country and community.

Working in the Bend, Oregon office of Rep. Greg Walden, Standiford handles veterans’ case work and does community outreach such as meeting with veterans groups. He enjoys the proactive and meaningful nature of his job. "These folks fought for us. It’s time to fight for them.”

On November 29, 2012, Standiford completed his fellowship and accepted a full-time positionin Congressman Walden's office where he will continue to serve the veteran constituents of Oregon's second district.