Jason Self - Graduate

May 11, 2011
Jason Self
Jason Self - Graduate

Growing up on his grandparents’ Oklahoma farm, Jason Self learned to be self reliant and tough. He also learned to follow through on whatever he started. His grandparents passed down a central lesson: “A job’s not done until a job’s done.”

From the age of 14, Self did heavy farm work, from plowing corn fields and throwing hay to branding cattle and breaking horses. After high school, Self followed a friend to Missouri where he did corrections. He was married by 20, a father by 22.

Although life had taken him far from his hometown, Self felt the pull of tradition. His father was a career Marine. Numerous other relatives had served in the military. It was a tradition Self was not about to end. So, he joined the Army Reserve. Not satisfied with only doing the job on weekends, Self soon switched to active duty status and was stationed at Fort Drum in New York state. Six months later, he was in Afghanistan, an Army mechanic responsible for a fleet of vehicles.

A 13-month tour in Kabul was relatively uneventful, but, after a two-month return stateside, Self redeployed to a restive region north of Baghdad, Iraq. “That’s when things started to go wrong.”

While doing recovery missions to locate lost soldiers and fix broken-down vehicles, Self badly injured his shoulder. Calamities mounted on each other in the months that followed: two bullet wounds, four explosions, a bleeding ulcer. Eventually, the toll too much to bear, Self was given a medical discharge.

After months of hard rehabilitation and frustrating red tape, Self went to work at an ammunition depot in his Oklahoma hometown. But he was looking for more. When he heard about the Wounded Warrior Program, it resonated. “I thought about how many times I wanted to write my congressman and say “Hey, this is messed up.’”

As a veterans’ caseworker in the district offices of Rep. Dan Boren and Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Self was proud to offer his experienced perspective to vets seeking help.  At the conclusion of his fellowship on April 12, 2013, Self accepted a permanent staff position in the office of Congressman Mullin.