Raising chickens and finding the love of his life has been a blessing for Lake Stevens native Timothy LaBossiere who met his wife Brandy in North Carolina after suffering injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq.
LaBossiere graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 2004 and joined the Marine Corps as soon as graduation was over. While serving two tours in Iraq, LaBossiere was injured by explosives on five separate occasions, which not only messed up his body but also affected his brain in a very traumatic way.
“I served in the Marine Corps from June 2004 to October 2009 when I was permanently medically retired due to my injuries of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among other injuries that I do not wish to disclose,” LaBossiere said. “I was involved in five separate blasts from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). All of the blasts were within a five month period which caused five separate concussions.”
His doctors explained that the brain floats inside the skull in cerebral spinal fluid; when a blast occurs directly beneath you, your brain literally bounces around your skull causing bruising to the brain and in severe cases lacerations to the brain.
“In my case, my brain was bruised and never had a chance to recover from the previous injuries before being reinjured more severely. This caused portions of my brain that affects memory, speech, motor function, balance and mood to be moderately to severely damaged,” he said.
Unfortunately the damage that the blasts caused to his brain is permanent, however the damage to his body he has been able to recover from.
“Once damage is done to the brain it has no way of repairing itself. I spent two years going back and forth to neurologists, psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists and various other doctors to try and learn how to manage my new life and learn to live with the injuries,” LaBossiere explained. “It was very difficult, frustrating, depressing, annoying, you name the feelings and moods I felt them all.”
Soon LaBossiere was in North Carolina trying to recover from his injuries including the PTSD which came with the high stress of serving in Iraq when he met his future wife and children while working as a volunteer at a local fire station.
“He is married and lives in North Carolina now, where he met his wife and has adopted her two children Brianna who is 13 years old and LeAnne who is 11 years old. Together they have quite a story to tell,” LaBossiere’s mom Marcia said. “They met while he was a disabled Marine seeking treatment before being released from the service. He needed to keep busy so he began volunteering for the local fire rescue squad where his wife-to-be was also volunteering.”
The two decided to go to college and study criminal justice.
“With Tim’s brain injury it has been difficult, but he completed his degree this past spring even though he knew he would never be able to work in that field,” Marcia said. “It was a lifelong dream that he wanted to accomplish. He was a local volunteer here in Lake Stevens as a police explorer and went through the State Patrol boot camp while in high school. He is a very hard working, goal oriented guy.”
“Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a police officer. It was a lifelong goal of mine,” Tim said. “When I found out that the Lake Stevens Police Department had an Explorers program I joined. I was able to experience on-the-job training, how a department is run, the resources law enforcement uses, I was able to see first-hand what duties are performed on a shift, I was able to meet many different people from many different backgrounds and learn a lot of life lessons from others. I was accepted to the Washington State Patrol Youth Boot Camp which was a rewarding experience and I gained a lot of knowledge there. This only made me want to become a police officer even more than I did before. I fully intended on going to school to get my degree in Criminal Justice and apply with Lake Stevens PD.”
That dream got sidetracked after LaBossiere witnessed the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“Around the end of my high school career in 2002/2003 I felt the need to make an even bigger sacrifice and join the Marine Corps after Sept. 11, I wasn’t going to sit back and watch the TV, I wanted to help. That decision changed my life forever and made me the man I am today,” he said. “I honestly did not see myself this far down the road this late in life doing anything other than being a police officer but that dream ended the day I joined the Marine Corps and went to war. If I had the chance to do it all over again would I? Absolutely, and I would not change a thing because what you experience in life makes you the person you are today. If life gives you lemons make lemonade.”
That’s exactly what LaBossiere did – he found a way to not only help him work through the affects of his PTSD but also a way to make money for his family.
Tim and Brandy decided to give their girls each a chick for Easter last year not realizing what a huge decision that was at the time.
“My wife and I were at the local feed store in town and a man was outside with a booth selling baby chicks. My wife Brandy said we should get each of the girls one for Easter. I laughed and kept walking, but she said she was serious. I asked her what were we going to do with chickens? She said we could have fresh eggs when they get older so after some convincing I said I guess so but just two,” LaBossiere explained.
“Next thing I know we bought four chickens and two ducks. A few months later we had twelve chickens and four ducks. I was always outside feeding and watering them, giving them fresh greens from the garden and cleaning up after them. I realized it was kind of fun and relaxing to just sit out and watch them.”
Soon he was calling the chick salesman and asking him if he had roosters for sale. He wanted to try incubating eggs and hatching his own baby chicks.
“After seeing this guy around a lot and always talking with him I realized he was active duty in the Marine Corps and getting orders to move to Camp Pendleton in California. I asked what he was going to do with the Hatchery and he said sell everything and quit,” he said.
LaBossiere found himself offering to buy everything.
“Next thing I know me and my wife are business owners with hundreds of chickens, adult birds and baby chicks. It’s been a lot of fun and very interesting. The business at home keeps my mind occupied and my body busy with managing and taking care of the flock where I can do everything at my own pace and take as many breaks or days off as I want and be alone and relaxed when I need to be. Most of the problems with PTSD come from triggers that bring the bad experiences back to life or remind you of things you would much rather forget. In this case, my mind is never idle living on our 11 acre farm because there is always something to do and something to keep me occupied.”
The family continues to grow their business and is even looking forward to building a store on their property someday that will sell feed, chickens and all sorts of products to help other farmers. They stand by each other as their dreams are turning into reality.
“My wife is my rock. She is my memory, my helper, my motivation, my caretaker, my chauffer, you name it she knows me better than I know myself. My beautiful daughters are my pride and joy. I adopted both of them after Christmas last year. Brianna is 13 and Leanne is 11. They love to play sports and go to the beach or play in the pool at home. We stay very busy during softball season and soccer season which is just as enjoyable for me to watch as it is for them to play. We enjoy taking breaks and going on vacation to the mountains or the beach,” LaBossiere said. “The girls are great helpers to. They are always helping around the farm and in the house we have many daily tasks to complete to keep everything running smoothly. The business can be as busy or as slow as we want it to be which makes it a perfect fit for our busy lifestyle of sports and school.”