For Stephen Canty, life has always been about challenging himself.
While attending Louisa County High School, there was the task of completing dual enrollment classes at Blue Ridge Governor’s School and Piedmont Virginia Community College and competing in Battle of the Brains competitions.
Midway through his senior year in 2006, the 17-year-old Canty found his next challenge: the military. He dropped out of his advanced classes, earned his GED, left for boot camp and came back to walk in his class’ graduation ceremony in his dress blues.
Now, the 24-year-old former Marine, who served in two tours in Afghanistan from February to September in 2008 and from December 2009 to July 2010, is facing his next task. Canty is currently filming and producing a documentary about the struggles that his fellow Marines face when they return home from the battlefield
“The word people use is ‘transitioning,’” Canty said. “It’s a word you hear in the news. It’s a big phrase for Marines, and I wanted to figure out what that was like. I wanted to figure out how my friends were paying the bills, if they were struggling, if they were proud of what they did. It’s kind of like a debriefing, finding out where they are in life.”
Canty himself struggled with a return to civilian life after his tours in Afghanistan. Upon signing up for the Marines in 2006, Canty said he thought he would be enlisted for 20 years. Instead, he stayed in for just four, disenchanted by disciplinary actions such as group punishment and early wakeup calls.
To read the entire story, see the Aug. 22 edition of The Central Virginian.