Chad Robichaux knows adversity — and how to overcome it. In a powerful testimony, Robichaux shared his story in studio with Glenn on Thursday, recounting how he shot and killed a man as a police officer, returned from the War on Terror in Afghanistan with PTSD, but most importantly, brought his marriage and life back from the brink. As a way to help other vets, Robichaux and his wife began Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs to help other vets and families suffering from PTSD.
“Mercury One just gave a $25,000 donation yesterday to Mighty Oaks Foundation, and I want you to be involved. If you care about our servicemen and this issue, this is a great way to get involved,” Glenn said.
Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs serves the brokenhearted by providing intensive peer-based discipleship through a series of programs, outpost meetings and speaking events.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: I want to introduce you to a new friend of the program. Met yesterday. And I’ve heard your story before. And I was so excited that you would come in today and talk to — we — we spoke yesterday about the Mighty Oaks Program, which is we have got to work together to find a way to save our servicemen because the rate of suicide is just off the charts. And the government is not doing much.
PAT: There’s a 22 a day. Isn’t that the statistic we hear?
GLENN: Twenty-two a day.
CHAD: That’s the statistic right now. Kind of varying reports. But that’s the kind of industry — if it was an industry, the industry word is 22 a day.
GLENN: It’s probably more than that.
CHAD: Yes. Yes.
GLENN: But it’s really bad. And you were there.
GLENN: And can we start with you being a policeman and the day you shot a man?
CHAD: Yeah, yeah. I had already did four years in the Marine Corps. And I shifted from active duty to reserves. I was going to go back in as an officer. And so my college job was a police officer in New Orleans, and I had a wife and kid. And I was only a police officer for a short period of time, and I was involved in a shooting. I was a — I’m not sure how you want to go into the story.
GLENN: Domestic abuse.
CHAD: But, yeah, it was a domestic violence call. And I got to the house. It was kind of the typical scenario where husband and wife were fighting. There was a large crowd of people, about 30 people outside of the house. And we had separated the wife. Got her into this crowd. People were holding her back.
And the man had barricaded himself into the house with a gun. My partner went to the window of the room that he was in, to make sure he didn’t shoot out the window. And I stood in the main doorway.
And I could see catercorner across the room. There was a mirror. And so I could see him barricaded against the wall. And he had the chamber — he was messing with the chamber of the gun. So I knew he was trying to load it or checking it to make sure it was loaded. So I was yelling at him, you know, not to come out. To put down his gun. First to talk.
And he said he was coming out, telling us to leave.
And when he came around the corner, he actually had a gun in a very weird way. He didn’t have it like this. He had it over his shoulder. And I think he was maybe taunting me or seeing how far he could push it.
And I always say, if I was asked that morning, what I would have done in that scenario, I would have made a decision, clearly shoot the guy.
But I’m in this guy’s house. His kids are outside. His wife is screaming. His toys are on the floor for his children. And family pictures.
I just felt like I could still control the situation. So, you know, I was yelling at him, you know, put down the gun, I’m going to kill you. Like, I wasn’t talking to him like a policeman. I’m like, I’m going to kill you. And he’s telling me to put down my gun. And I’m a little small guy. He was 6-3, 260 pounds. And I felt like I could disarm him. So I — as I walked towards him, I grabbed the barrel of the gun and pushed it away from him. And I kicked him — I kicked him right in the nuts.
STU: That’s probably the right way.
CHAD: I thought I could pull the gun out of his hand. And the first time I kicked him, he just held the gun so tight. And the second time I kicked him, my gun came away, and he grabbed my hand.
So we’re fighting for two guns now. And I realize that it really had escalated and I was going to have kill him and — or shoot him. So I just broke, like his grip and came over and shot. Pow! And then I shot five more times. I shot six times total. Pow, pow, pow. My partner was — my parter was — he had shot — I didn’t even realize my partner came behind me, but he shot six times as well right over my shoulder.
CHAD: We hit him 11 out of 12 times. And as we hit him, he turned around, and he fell on his knees and he just — he looked back, and he said, “You killed me.”
And I just tackled him and pulled the gun out from under him and handcuffed him. And I think his wrist must have been in front of him because all of the shots hit center mass, but his wrist was blown out. So I got like blood like — I was covered in blood. His wife was screaming. And —
GLENN: So you were cleared of any wrongdoing in that.
GLENN: But you went home that night. And the amazing part of this story — and I got to try to condense this as much as I can. But you said your wife said to you — just, you told her, I killed somebody. You were a wreck.
GLENN: And she just rolled over in bed and went back to sleep.
CHAD: At the time, I was just really angry about that. I mean, my wife very naive to that kind of world. And so I think that’s what equipped her to — my eight deployments to Afghanistan. And being a police officer because she just thought that’s what policemen did every night, just went to work and got in gunfights. And so she went back to sleep. And I was very angry at her for many years. I felt like very — I couldn’t talk to her about those types of things. And eventually in Afghanistan, I just really didn’t talk much about —
GLENN: You left the police force. You went back. You became Special Forces.
GLENN: And one thing that I’ve heard you say is that there’s real darkness over there and real bad guys over there. And you felt yourself becoming one of the bad guys.
CHAD: Yeah, yeah. You know, when you go to a place like Afghanistan, you think you go with some patriotic sense of duty. I wanted to go after 9/11. But then you realize beyond America what the Afghan people endured from the Taliban people. The things that happened to these children. You start to learn about the culture and what had happened there. I lived in the community. And so it really just grabbed a hold of my heart in a bad way, where I just filled myself with anger and rage towards these people. And so really, it kind of — you feel like you’re going there to fight these evil people, and you kind of become that as well.
GLENN: You come home, you have all kinds of PTSD.
GLENN: You don’t deal with it. You start to in a way protect your family by being a beast and pushing them away.
GLENN: At one point it’s your daughter’s birthday.
CHAD: Yeah. My — I was just — my home became a very like unhappy place or unsafe place for my children. I was like time bomb, angry, at the drop of a hat. One time I came home from Afghanistan, my daughter was just so excited I was going to be there for her birthday. But she’s very opinionated and had a cake. And the icing was not the icing she wanted, and she said — you know, she voiced that out. And I just got so enraged. I would lose control. And I grabbed her cake in front of all of her little friends and threw it against the wall and just destroyed my little girl’s birthday. And that behavior was like very common. And I knew it was wrong, but I just felt like I had no control over it at that time.
GLENN: So I can imagine how this dog piles on you. And, you know, men know when they’re — everybody knows — you know when you’re wrong and out of control. And then it just starts to, “I’m a bad person.” And you just spiraled out of control.
GLENN: How did you get out of the nose dive?
CHAD: Well, it was — it wasn’t until, unfortunately for me, rock bottom. I walked out of my marriage. We sold our home. We lived in two separate apartments, and I became one of those statistics that we talked about, the 22 a day. I decided I was going to take my life. And not because I wanted to escape my pain. Because I recognized I was the problem.
CHAD: And so I thought my family would be better off — maybe they’ll be sad, but they’ll be better off.
And I had decided I was going to take my life. And during this time of contemplating how I was going to do it — I wanted to make it look like an accident — my wife came to me —
GLENN: You sat in the closet for every day, trying to convince yourself.
CHAD: Yeah, for about two weeks. About two weeks.
I had heard a statistic that one in three children from a parent that commits suicide will as well. I didn’t know where I heard that from. But I kept thinking of that.
My boys, you know, I’ve wrestled and did martial arts my whole life. My boys really followed me in that. So I knew they looked up to me, and I didn’t want to leave that pattern in my family. So I was contemplating how I could make it look like an accident.
GLENN: An accident.
CHAD: And that’s when my wife came to my apartment, and she asked me that question, the reason I’m sitting here in this chair. She asked me how I could be as successful as I was, as an athlete, as a (inaudible) marine. And she had seen the training I had done. We had been married for a long time. Seen all the workups to go to overseas and knowing the job I did.
She’s like, “How could you do all of that, and when it comes to your family, you’ll quit?” And that question for me, just — it was like that time in my life just radically impacted me and challenged me. And, you know, she was right.
I quit on the most important things in my life. My role as a husband, my role as a father. That 17-year-old kid that raised his hand and said he wanted to do something important with his life, I quit on all the things that are the most important, including my health. And I made a decision that day that I was going to turn around and fight with the same work ethic and tenacity for the most important things in my life.
GLENN: Because you were not only a police officer, Special Forces, you were an MMA fighter. I mean, you have been at the top of the game on everything you do.
CHAD: I had 18 and 2 professional record. So I did really well. And so the whole time you imagine my wife is and my family is observing me being successful in the professional things, which I think many men are. And when it comes to the most important things, we don’t put in the same effort.
GLENN: I know I’ve blown it for most of my life until really the last 15 years.
GLENN: You know, we just don’t see it until sometimes it’s too late.
PAT: So did you save your family? You got it back together?
CHAD: Yes. We — really — I didn’t know how to do it. I just knew I was going to. And so I was able to — I had a lot of people following me because I was in MMA at the time. So I had 1,000 students. But I didn’t have people that were holding me accountable to things. I had a lot of people enabling me. So I was able to align with this guy named Steve Tothe (phonetic), who became a mentor to me. And he really mentored me in a Biblical model of living. Manhood.
And at the end of that, I really — like, I felt like I found — like I was dying of Stage 4 terminal cancer and found the cure. Like I had to share it. And that’s why I do it. I do it today.
I mean, I had went from having panic attacks still at night. Anger, anxiety, things that I felt were uncontrollable, to becoming back in control of my life by the choices I made every day.
It was really a realization of that, that regardless of what happened to me, whether it was heroic or destructive or a sad story, those things didn’t put me in a situation I was in. The choices I was making was. And so when I realized that and realized I had control of my life, still, I was able to make different choices moving forward.
GLENN: Mercury One just gave a $25,000 donation yesterday to Mighty Oaks Foundation. And I want you to be involved. If you care about our servicemen and this issue, this is a great way to get involved.
CHAD: Yeah, Mighty Oaks wasn’t an idea that started as a non-profit. It was me wanting to pay for it with the challenge my wife gave me, the second chance God gave me, and the mentorship Steve gave me. I felt like I had found the solution and I had an obligation to share it.
And so today, it’s grown into this very large organization that runs — we’re running 30 programs a year. And those programs are — is a week-long intensive to take guys through the same transitional process I went through and then equip them to pass it on to someone else. So it’s taking a leader who fell on his face and raising him back town a leader again and a warrior again.
GLENN: How much of the 12-step program have you used? Or have you looked at any of the 12-step program?
CHAD: Yeah, we have. I would say some components of it are put into our methodology. But our methodology is simply contrast your life to the life you were created to live. Coming to the point to where you accept responsibility, that regardless of what happened to you, you’re responsible for moving forward, the choices you make. And then coming alongside guys that could hold you accountable to that. All of our instructors are combat vets. So it’s non-clinical. So they’re able to share their story of what worked for them. And whether a psychologist is more qualified than one of our instructors is irrelevant because the combat veteran typically will only listen to someone that’s been there before them. So the power of testimony.
GLENN: What’s the website? Mighty —
CHAD: The website is MightyOaksPrograms.org.
GLENN: MightyOaksPrograms.org. Can’t recommend it highly enough. If you care about making a difference and helping these guys who so desperately need our help, this is the way for you to get involved.
CHAD: And the US military sends guys to us on active duty orders, which we fund. So no veteran, no active duty military pays to come.
GLENN: And what is it? Like $2500 a person.
CHAD: So it’s underwritten because we have so much great support. So $1,000 in scholarship, one guy into the program.
GLENN: That’s amazing. So you want to change one guy’s life, it’s $1,000.
GLENN: And it really does change lives.
CHAD: I try.
GLENN: Thank you, Jeff. Appreciate it.
CHAD: Thank you so much, Glenn. Thank you guys. God bless you guys.
STU: Thank you.