Daryl Paulson served his country in Vietnam from July 1968 to August 1969. He was in the First Marine division and the 5th Marine regiment and was stationed in An Hoa Vietnam. But his time in the military is just the beginning of a fascinating life journey.
After his time in service, Paulson decided to go to college, but it was a very traumatic experience for him.
"I saw protests all the time on campus, and I had to deal with a lot of negative comments about the war," Paulson said in a phone interview on Tuesday. "That was really hard to hear because I had lost a lot of good friends in the war, and I had seen a lot of bad things during that time."
Eventually, all the negativity, and the experiences of war became too much for Paulson, and he had a panic attack.
He described it as overwhelming. A feeling that not only were their Vietcong out to get him, but everyone everywhere was out to get him.
To deal with all these feelings and constant unease, Paulson started drinking. For awhile that helped kill the pain, but it didn't last. Paulson became suicidal.
"I was laying in bed and I thought, 'why don't I just shoot myself?'" Paulson said. "I had the gun right there, and I was ready to do it."
But before he could pull the trigger, another voice came into his head. It said 'what about all those who were killed in the war? Who's going to be their voice?'
That little voice gave Paulson the desire to live.
He soon graduated from college and went to work for his dad, he even got married, but Paulson was still struggling to get past his feelings about the war.
"When I got married, it was kind of a joke," Paulson said, "because I didn't really love her, in fact I didn't really have any feelings about anything. So needless to say the marriage wasn't a good one."
Finally, Paulson decided to see a therapist about his issues, and the healing process finally began.
"It was a long process," Paulson said. "I didn't start to feel normal again for two to three years."
Once Paulson began to feel like himself again, he decided to go back to school. He earned his bachelors, masters and PH. D. in microbiology.
"I still had a lot of guilt though," Paulson said "even though I was happy again, I was still feeling guilty about the things I had done in the war."
Paulson soon realized that he hadn't really done much good in the world, and thought that by doing some good, it would help with his feelings of guilt.
Page 2 of 2 - So, Paulson started his own business, BioScience Laboratories, Inc. which is still operating today. And, when times get hard Paulson doesn't lay-off his employees, he dips into company savings. When times are good, he save as much profit as he can to ensure he will never have to lay off an employee.
Paulson also started a boxing club for the youth in his neighborhood.
"When you're in middle school and high school, you need a group to fit into," Paulson said, "and that's what I try to give these young guys with this club, give them a group to be able to fit in with."
Coming to Dodge City
Paulson will be coming to Dodge City Community College on Friday to talk to the community about how to get over post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and realizing that going to war is a rite of passage.
"I wrote a book- 'Walking the Point' that looks at my experience in Vietnam as well as my healing journey when I came home," Paulson said, " although it's written about Vietnam it can be related to soldiers who fought in WWII, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan too."
The book divides the healing process into five categories.
First, a person must take charge of a situation. Second, remember that war is a rite of passage that includes; a call to adventure, initiation and a return home (both physical and mental). Third, a person must know how to separate their personal view from the quadrant view, and understand what the quadrants are. Fourth, separate ones life into what they do (work) and how they love (self and others). Finally, learn how to integrate all of these areas.
Paulson's speech will take place Friday, Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m. at DC3. This event is open to anyone in the public who is interested. For more information contact