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From Redemption to Success: How TMI Helped Michael Anthony Rebuild His Life

Michael as a young man with USMC and Michael now
Michael as a young man with USMC and Michael now

Michael Anthony proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps (USMC), but after making a terrible choice in 1996 to commit a robbery, Michael was convicted on his “third strike” and was sentenced to state prison for the term of 25 years. However, Michael, who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), didn't let his past define him. He used his time in prison to educate himself, earning two AA degrees and a BA in Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies.

When he was released, Michael was determined to start fresh and make a positive impact on the world. He wanted to successfully reintegrate into society and find meaningful employment. But with PTSD and a criminal record, Michael knew that he would need help. That's where Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) came in.

Michael & Cesar
Michael & Cesar

In early 2023, Michael was referred to TMI Veteran Employment Services by the Department of Rehabilitation and was connected with Veteran Employment Manager Cesar Peraza who saw Michael's potential. Cesar helped Michael rewrite his resume to highlight his unique skills and experience, both from his military service and his time in prison. Michael learned how to translate his "lived experience" into valuable assets for employers. He also gained access to job training and networking opportunities.

“From the moment I met Michael, I believed in him,” said Cesar. “Michael's story is an inspiration to us all. It shows that no matter what you've been through, it's never too late to turn your life around. With the right support, veterans with disabilities can overcome any obstacle and achieve their goals.”

Michael working at PATH
Michael working at PATH

Thanks to TMI's support, Michael landed a job at PATH, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting the homeless, where he is using his skills and experience to help veterans who are re-entering society. He is also a mentor to other veterans who are struggling to find employment.

“Today, because of Cesar and TMI, I have hope that I can lead a normal life as a productive member of society,” said Michael. “Even more importantly, I can use my story to inspire others, and to impart hope in my role as PATH Peer Support Specialist.”
Michael at PATH

Michael has also been accepted to Trinity Law School where he hopes to become an attorney and work to reform our justice system from a retributive system to a restorative one. 

Congratulations, Michael! You are truly an inspiration and we know that you have an amazing future ahead!

How TMI Can Help You If you are a veteran with a disability in San Diego County and you are looking for employment, TMI can help. We offer a variety of services, including:

  • Job development and placement

  • Resume writing and interview coaching

  • Mentoring

  • Assistance for disadvantaged veterans

We believe that every veteran deserves the opportunity to succeed. Contact us today to learn more about how you can achieve your career goals.

(Thank you to Michael and Cesar for contributing to this story.)


Founded in 1981, Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and veterans with disabilities. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living Services and Family Support Services. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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