In 2010, D’Amico was injured in a line of duty accident stateside. After two years of physical therapy, the pain did not subside and the government determined D’Amico could no longer serve in the U.S. military. He was told he was broken.
“I had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” says D’Amico. “It is very difficult for veterans who have been in the system for so many years to transition from the military to civilian workforce; because in the military you follow the chain of command, orders and regulations. Once you leave, you are thrown into an environment where people tell you to do your job, but there may be no pre-existing structure. Consequently, some veterans feel lost and may turn to negative ways to deal with their anxiety. I didn’t want that to be me.”
One year later, D’Amico attended the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans (EBV) at the University of Connecticut. In this accelerated business development course that was held over ten 18-hour days, D’Amico created a plan to start his own business. He wanted to incorporate his story and experiences to help others. He also wanted a way to help pay it forward to other veterans.
“I didn’t know what other veterans would think of the concept of ‘broken not beaten,’ says D’Amico. “My goal is to empower disabled people to keep pressing on. Retired and disabled veterans and other individuals in the community related to the mission – whether they were injured in the military, or in a car accident or left disabled from battling illness – they understand that we cannot give up.”
Soon after finishing the EBV program, Broken Gear , based in Charlestown, R.I., was soon running.
D’Amico, 44, Enlisted right after high school as a way to be part of something big and to see the world. After coming home, D’Amico earned not one, not two, but three college degrees: a bachelor’s degree in English from Rhode Island College, a graduate degree in Education from Providence College, and an associate’s degree in Applied Science from the Community College of the Air Force. After a break in service, He re-enlisted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and completed one tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.