Eagle Rare Life Award Nominee

Juan Valdez

Date Added

September 15th, 2016


Soldiers Who Salsa






The voting for the contest is closed

“Nice try, sniper: you can shoot him, but you can't keep him down.”

While serving our country with the USMC, then LCpl Juan Valdez (now SGT Valdez, USMC Ret.) was shot by a sniper in Iraq. There are some graphic pictures of that day, as a New York Times reported happened to be embedded with his detail, and captured images that would leave anyone stunned. Juan nearly died that day, but like many other Marines he continued to serve and even did two more deployments before finally returning to California to heal both his visible and invisible wounds. With the help of family, a significant other (who is now his wife!), friends, a combination of therapies (like Soldiers Who Salsa), and a service dog named Midas, Juan medically retired from the Marine Corps and began his new mission: marrying his best friend Christy, and starting school so that he could eventually become a lawyer and help other veterans in need. At every turn, Juan is there for his fellow brothers and sisters in service. Whether he's feeding military families at Thanksgiving or lending a sympathetic ear to a fellow Marine with PTSD, Juan continues to remember to LIVE LIFE for all those who sacrificed everything and never made it home. Though his trusty pup Midas left this world too early due to cancer, Juan has found renewed joy in both training his new pup, Tank, and also welcoming a new baby girl, Adeline into his heart.