Writer, Teacher, Artist, Veteran, Community Organizer
Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and the winner of the Legionnaire of the Year Award from the American Legion in 2015 and the recipient of the Emily Gottfried Emerging Leader, Human Rights award for 2016. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in the the Ted Talk Book The Misfit’s Manifesto (Simon and Schuster), Forest Avenue Press anthology City of Weird, Sixty Minutes, Story Corps, Flaunt Magazine, The Big Smoke, Human the movie, and much more.
Sean was born in the Presidio Army Base in 1973, his father was a nineteen year old private, and his mother was seventeen. The military took the small family to Germany where they lived for two years.
He grew up in the Oregon Cascades on the McKenzie River with his grandparents and two brothers.
At age 17, Sean moved on his own and lived in a Mother-in-Law cottage in the back of some nice couple’s house. He finished high school and joined the US Army.
After six years in the military and a deployment to Haiti for a revolution in 95, Sean left to go to art school in Portland January of 1999. The day after September 11th, 2001 he re-enlisted into the Army Infantry. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 where he received a Purple Heart and New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
In Iraq, Sean and his company were chosen to be one of the units who were used as the Quick Reaction Force for the Green Zone. They were fast rope trained and stationed in Taji. At this point in 2004, Taji was mortared every day and didn’t have any other infantry units. There was also a bridge over the Euphrates that was a part of the Main Supply Route for bases north of their position. Their one company was tasked with all air assault QRF missions into Baghdad, finding the mortar teams around Taji, and guarding the MSR bridge. In the first 30 days they had over 36 combat missions.
On June 13th, 2004, Sean was critically injured in a violent ambush that left half his body broken. He was sent home, and in this time he suffered from severe PTSD. When he healed from his wounds and his battalion returned from Iraq, they deployed to New Orleans to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where Sean acted as a platoon leader due to a lack of officers.
After returning from Katrina, Sean left the military as a E-7 Platoon Sergeant. He suffered from PTSD, but art and writing pulled him out of it. He decided that he would use his VA Benefits and get his life together. Within five years of making that decision, Sean had his Associates, his Bachelor’s, and his Master’s Degree.
Sean’s taught writing at Portland State University, Clackamas Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, the University of Massachusetts: Boston, and many other organizations and writing festivals. In that time he published his essays, articles, stories, and books.
While living and working in Portland, Sean became the post commander for the American Legion Post 134. He turned that post into a cultural phenomenon, and on one particular cruel winter he and his community turned the post into a homeless shelter that saved lives. All the while, he volunteered to help find jobs and homes for other veterans with PTSD. Sean started monthly writing groups with the help of the Oregon Humanities and other groups. They opened up a food pantry for those in needs and did countless coat drives and other fundraising activities.
For the work he did in that time, Sean received the Helping Men Heal Gold Medal Award, the American Legionnaire of the Year, and the Emily Gottfried Human Rights Award from the City of Portland. Sean was also KATU’s Hometown Hero a number of times as well as one of the “Newsmakers of the Year.” Sean was knighted by the Royal Rosarians.
In 2017, Sean and his family moved back to McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, and started their company the Juniper Pine Project. Today he writes grants for organizations in his community, lobbies for important issues such as ending the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and the Oregon Wildlands, and shoots the occasional documentary. He also volunteers on rural boards, and teaches an art and writing class for children in the area. He spends his off time writing, drawing, painting, and upkeeping his land with Kelly, Jackie, Cora, and his two giant dogs Luna and Bombur.