Warrior of the Week Episode 22: Paul de Gelder

In this week’s edition of our Warrior of the Week series, TickPick is proud to honor Paul de Gelder. We are incredibly grateful for Paul’s service in the Australian Army, and honored to send him tickets to see The Eagles! 

Veteran: Paul de Gelder

Event: The Eagles

Branch of MilitaryAustralian Army

Before we continue, we must give credit to Tim Kolczak with The Veterans Project for bringing attention to Paul’s story. Tim does an incredible job of spotlighting our veteran’s stories, and we cannot recommend The Veterans Project enough!

“I pushed through the tepid currents of the Texas gulf towards the still-rising sun as I swam past break after break of glistening emerald waves.  Interestingly enough, before I even started this blog, I found myself in a place similar to where Paul De Gelder’s dreams violently died.  Although, ironically, that place was the same space where his new dreams were birthed.  I began to tread water once I made it a few hundred yards from the shore and tried to imagine that fear Paul felt.  To be honest, I scared myself enough to the point where I voraciously craved that far too distant shoreline.  I shouldered past that feeling as I’ve done a few times in my life and steadied my nerves.  What would it feel like to be powerless in the water?  I remember when I was a freshman baseball player in college (I barely picked up a weight in those days), I wrestled some big bear lineman on our college football team.  He made me feel like a secondhand rag doll.  I had all the will in the world but it wasn’t getting me past a guy who probably ate the fridge for breakfast.  I tried to imagine that, except this time in the water where I would be even more powerless, the feeling of searing pain screaming through every nerve and the shock that saved me from the pain.  I envisioned that sharp, gray fin cutting through the ocean’s surface headed straight towards me like an arrow destined for its target; except this arrow just so happened to be nine feet long and made out of flesh, bone, and razor sharp teeth.

To tell you the truth, even the mere thought of Paul’s suffering was overwhelming.  But, imagine persevering through your greatest pain and coming out on the other side, possibly even stronger.  Imagine becoming a conservationist for the very thing that tried to kill you.  I catch myself chuckling every time I describe Paul’s work in shark conservation to my friends.  “Why the hell would you help the thing that almost killed you?”  It’s been a common reply to my description of de Gelder’s passion.  I can’t answer that because quite honestly I’ve never had Paul’s experiences.  All I can say is it takes an incredibly forgiving, compassionate heart to help the very thing that hurt you.”

If you would like to read the full story, please click here.

Warrior of the Week

TickPick – Warrior of the Week

We’re proud of our military servicemen and women, and we like to show our appreciation for them choosing to serve our country by providing the experience of a lifetime with complementary tickets to live events all across America, courtesy of TickPick.

There are never enough ways to thank our veterans and their families, and while still far from enough, we hope that a memorable night cheering on their favorite team or seeing their favorite acts will begin to show our appreciation for their service.

Do you know a veteran or active duty soldier deserving of TickPick’s Warrior of the Week?

Nominate them now.


The Veterans Project is a comprehensive photographic essay detailing the lives of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom combat veterans and their return to civilian life. The project focuses on the many challenges surrounding their re-entry into “polite society” and realistically depicts their lives profiled in both photographic and interview formats.

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