A Journey of Healing

Donald Shono, of Rubicon, found Moraine Park after serving in the United States Air Force Security Forces for six years. In 2011, he decided to end his active-duty service after experiencing a decline in his mental health.

Shono served in the 2nd Air Force Security Forces Squadron and had one deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served his last year with the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard.

“The Security Forces Squadron was not my first choice, but it gave me the opportunity to join within a month of enlisting, and I didn’t want to wait,” Shono said. “I had an interest in law enforcement at the time, so it was not a difficult choice.”

Security Forces is an Air Force Special Forces unit that provides base security, law enforcement and an infantry force; the Base Honor Guard conducts ceremonial events such as local veteran funeral services and base award ceremonies.

“I joined the service because I felt I needed to do something more with my life that was bigger than myself and something I felt truly mattered, but eventually, my mental health needed to become a priority,” he said.

When he returned home, Shono began researching ways to heal his mind and body. In 2013, he started working as a massage therapist at a spa in Slinger, WI. He worked there for three years before moving to Spotsylvania, VA, where he continued his career for five years.

During the pandemic, Shono moved home to be closer to family. Since he was already working in a health and wellness career, he decided to use his time at home to further his education.

Shono enrolled in Moraine Park’s Health and Wellness program and attended his first semester classes on the West Bend Campus in fall 2021.

“I chose Moraine Park because it was one of the only schools that offered the path to health and wellness I was looking for,” Shono said. “I am really happy with my experience so far and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.”

After receiving his associate degree, he plans to become certified as a health coach and personal trainer to expand his career opportunities.

My time in the military was really stressful and took a big toll on me mentally,” Shono said “I am pursuing health and wellness because I want to heal myself and help others do the same.”

Shono is involved in the West Bend Health and Wellness Club. Outside of school, he enjoys staying active, hiking and spending time with his family.

“Looking back on my time in the service–it is not all good memories,” Shono said. “I am really grateful to Moraine Park for opening me up to a new way of thinking and caring for myself.”

Read more stories like Donald’s in our Spring 2022 NEXT Magazine.

Written by Emilie Wilson