Making Waves for Our Returning Heroes
 Issue #13 July, 2016
Wave Academy's
Veteran's Spotlight
Ryan Ahlering

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of joining the Marines. In 2011 my dream came true.  After attending Loyola Marymount University for three semesters as a business major, I joined the Marine Corp and traded in my desk for a shoulder-launched, multi-purpose assault weapon. I found myself in the infantry in Afghanistan clearing obstacles and blowing holes in walls to enable our advance.

It was a harrowing time, but I have no regrets. The impact of shrieking rockets, exploding gunpowder, and losing brothers hit me hard when I returned home, and could finally focus on what I’d been through. At the front, we suppressed all emotion. There was work to be done. We believed that being stoic during difficult times is what it means to be a man.
At home, I was completely unprepared for the transition to civilian life.  I coped with jumbled emotions by talking endlessly with my buddies about our combat days. Daily drinking was our pacifier of choice, as we tried to control the feelings of hyper vigilance, insomnia, and depression that slowly consumed our lives.
Trying to find a better way to process my emotions, I visited the Veterans Administration. I saw the ghostly effects of antidepressants on some of my friends which is why I opted for a more holistic approach. Luckily my case manager gave me a flyer about Wave Academy and my life began to change.


After a few sessions of Wave Academy’s aquatic therapy, I started to feel like myself again. I stopped drinking. My symptoms were reduced. Feeling calm and safe for the first time in years, I could focus in on what I really wanted to do with my life – and how I could get there.
I’ve always been interested in public service and helping people. I’m currently in school studying pre-nursing. Instead of a desk job, I want to be on the front lines healing folks. Now with the help of Wave Academy, I look forward to having the life I really want.
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Please help us give back and heal the brave service men, women and their families who have done so much on our behalf.
  • Learn more about the research and view powerful testimonials from Wave clients on our website -
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  • Enlist owners and operators of therapy pools in San Diego County to provide access so that we can increase our capacity to serve.
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  • Donate to subsidize our treatment costs for these deserving veterans and caregivers.
Thank you for your interest in Wave Academy.  We look forward to working together to stem the escalating problems of dysfunction and suicide among our returning service men and women and to building a brighter future for individuals, families and communities in need.
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