“Be honest and courageous enough to become a better person.”
Kelley Guidry was drawn to serve by a family history of service in the military. The military felt like a chance to see the world through a new lens and this became a reality for Kelley. Upon joining Kelley built lasting relationships quickly, most notably with her husband (and co-founder of Forgotten Not Gone) Peter “Kepha”.
For Kelley, life in the military provided a positive structure and speaks to her enjoyment of being “positively guided”. The best parts of the military for Kelley were the chance to travel, to learn about new people and their cultures and subsequently develop a broader understanding and empathy for others.
In co-founding Forgotten Not Gone, Kelley was able to bring her compassionate nature to the fore. Rooted in a desire to make her husband’s quality of life better and ease the anxiety, depression and PTSD he was struggling with. Riding velomobile recumbent trikes was initially a means of getting out of the house. Excursions provided escape, when Peter’s peers joined, it provided connection and it was Kelley’s belief in service over self that turned a trike ride into the non-profit you are learning about today.
Leaving the military was a struggle for Kelley too. She suppressed her trauma in order to help save her Husband’s life. She became addicted to the painkillers that were prescribed to her from the VA for fibroids, which were also misdiagnosed whilst on active duty. Spending almost the last 4 ½ years of her active duty in daily chronic pain. She turned to Alcohol to self medicate the mental and physical pain she was enduring. In helping her Husband, she was able to face her own demons and understand her challenges. Kelley has been Sober since September 2011, that process helped her find a true Spiritual connection she never experienced before.
Kelley has been able to take her “Service before Self” attitude, parlay it into Forgotten Not Gone’s phenomenal growth and outstanding commitment to Veterans in need. Her goal is to grow FNG into a National organization that continues to prove that life after military service is just as rich and full of opportunity if not more than active duty, giving Veterans and their families back a quality of life.