U.S. Army combat veteran Joshua L. Alves turned his feelings of hopelessness into an off-road racing dream come true.
He served in the infantry from 2003 through 2013, attaining the rank of sergeant. He deployed to Iraq in 2004, Korea from 2005-2006 and Afghanistan in 2010 in a tour in which he did not complete due to injuries.
“When I first got out I had a really hard time, being I was medically retired,” Alves said. “After being hurt again in 2010, the Army told me I could no longer play GI Josh. So when I got home I was on quite a bit of pain medications from the Veteran’s Affairs. Needless to say, I almost became one of the 22 veterans a day that take their own lives.”
Depressed, divorced and injured, with no income and the bills stacking up, Alves was struggling, he said.
“However, one day after my current girlfriend and I started dating, an off-road truck that I had starting building before the last tour and had sold, ended up coming back to me. As I sat one night in my garage in 2015 staring at this half-built truck – more of a cool paper weight, really – drinking some whiskey with an active-duty U.S. Marine brother of mine named Marty Karhoff, we came up with a plan for me to chase a longtime dream I had about racing off road. So we started our race team, named it Infidel Motorsports and competed in the Lucas Oil Series in Southern California as a method of therapy,” Alves said.
Now he looks for veterans that are also in that lost phase of life, bringing them to the track and showing them the ins and outs of off-road racing. Alves said he gets great satisfaction helping others and teaching the skills required for the grueling sport.
“Doing this has helped me become a better person and made it so I have something my two kids can be proud of me for doing. I have two sons, 10 and a year and a half,” Alves said. “I want them to see that even though our plan didn’t stay on track for what I had anticipated, we can overcome anything and push forward knowing that you’re never alone.”
For more information about Infidel Motorsports, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/infidelmotorsports760.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.