I was born in Galveston, Texas, on April 7th 1984 and raised there along with my two sisters. I got through school staying out of trouble with little interest in excelling beyond 12th grade. School wasn’t for me and my 11th grade year came up when the 9/11 terrorist attack happened. I knew I didn’t want to go to college or stay in Galveston so I told myself I would join the United States
Marines and go fight the bad guys. I went to the recruiting office and enlisted months before graduating and took off to boot camp June 3, 2003, a month after high school graduation. After boot camp training I went to Engineer school and graduated as a Combat Engineer.
My first year out of school I deployed to Japan as my duty station and from there went to Thailand to do humanitarian missions and Korea to practice operations along the DMZ with Korean Marines. My next duty station was back to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I would finish up my career. As a Combat Engineer at 2nd Marine Division we trained with explosive breaching, urban demolitions, landmine warfare and building bunkers. I was good at being a Marine and strived to be the best at what I did. I trained for a few months and deployed to Iraq in July 2005. I was based out of Camp Fallujah and from there we conducted route clearing and demolition missions all around the city of Fallujah and nearby cities. That year we found thousands of rounds and cleared hundreds of explosives and weapons from our Area of Operation. One afternoon after returning home from a mission we had a squad vehicle roll off the road into a canal, a couple of Marines were injured and the vehicle was destroyed. When that happened, I immediately jumped in the canal and started pulling guys and gear to safety and was awarded a Certificate of Commendation. Later in the deployment, I became the squad leader and led a team of nine. I was on another mission and my vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on the side of the road, my Corpsman was hit and knocked unconscious, and the vehicle was disabled. I assisted him to safety and ensured all personnel and serialized gear were quickly recovered and lead my team on over 20 Weapons and Ammunition Cache sweeps denying insurgents the weapons, explosives and ammunition necessary to conduct IED, direct fire and indirect fire. February 7, 2006, I was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and later the Combat Action Ribbon. After that deployment, I returned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and my time in the United States Marines was coming to an end as my four-year enlistment came up. It was during that time that I found out most of the guys I deployed with were getting sent back to Iraq, along with fresh new Marines. The leader in me and the love for my fellow Marines wouldn’t let the guys go back without me. I made the decision to go ahead and re-enlist for another four years to go back with my brothers. While on leave before deployment, I found the woman of my dreams and asked for her hand in marriage. After months of training up with old and new Marines, I deployed back to Iraq as a Combat Engineer squad leader, and this time as a married man.
April 2, 2007, I hit the ground in Iraq and was back operating in Fallujah. April 23, 2007, I woke up and was having a little down time with my guys in our room and my Platoon Commander entered the room and informed me that Gulf Company needed support and my squad was on it. So I briefed three of the guys on our route-clearing mission and we departed base and traveled to the Gulf Company outpost. Hours later we set out into the city of Fallujah. While on the mission, we came in contact with insurgents and later a vehicle was hit by an IED. This IED was big and would change my life and many other lives forever.
That day my vehicle was hit. Days later after all the pain meds wore off, I came to my senses back in the United States at Bethesda, MD, greeted by my wife and parents. Lcpl Stanley was the driver, I Cpl Molis was the passenger, Lcpl Dale Peterson and Lcpl Johnathan Kirk were in the back seat and on the turret gun. These three men were all new to the Marines and on their first deployment, Adam Stanley was uninjured and saved my life by performing first aid, Dale Peterson was KIA and Johnathan Kirk passed on May 1, 2007, due to injuries from the blast and shrapnel. May 1, I found out how bad my Traumatic Brain Injury was with testing and was sent to Richmond, VA, for inpatient therapy and care. My wife, Lauren Molis, flew up to be by my side and care for me until I returned to Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital for out patient care and to finish out my time. The Medical Board would later retire me because of my brain injury.
February 1, 2008, my son Landon Caine Molis was born in Galveston, Texas, and I was released on March 28, 2008, with a Purple Heart and Honorable Discharge.
The next couple of years from 2008 to 2012 were complete destruction for me and and my wife.
I wasn’t happy with life and didn’t know how to love anyone because I couldn’t be a Marine and my guys were gone, dead on my watch. The only thing I was great at was being a Marine and I failed at it. Now I was a husband and father that had to love and care. I found myself drinking a lot because that’s what made me feel free, free from the guilt of having to love my wife, free from missing the Marines I served with or have any responsibilities. With the drinking came the spending money and carrying on with other women besides my wife. I was arrested 3 times with the last time being on my birthday, April 7, 2012. We had a big party and I couldn’t stop drinking, started breaking stuff and my wife feared for her life so she did the right thing and called the cops. By then I had my second son, Cash Logan Molis, he was two years old and Landon was five. Both of them saw me get hauled off to jail for a second time and for the last time. I was released on Easter Sunday and then decided I couldn’t drink again. Shortly later my wife’s co-worker told her about a veteran organization called the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program and suggested that we should check them out. Soon after I went to a Gala the program was having and was introduced to Chad Robichaux, founder of Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs. In early 2013, I got into the week-long program held by Mighty Oaks and didn’t say much while there but I took a whole lot in. What I took in was being a man wasn’t drinking, war and sex. Being a man was having a relationship with Christ and to overcome my past struggles by being the authentic man God created us all to be. The program softened my heart, planted seeds in my heart that I wanted to know more about Jesus and what He did for me. God’s timing was perfect and weeks later I was sponsored on a trip to Israel by someone at my church. Without Mighty Oaks telling what I needed to hear, I would have never gone on the trip. Days into the trip, I was sitting on a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and was asked to pray. For the first time I felt someone receiving my prayer and my body was overtaken with a feeling I have never felt before. It was a feeling of love, care, comfort, joy and the message that it was going to be OK. Days later Brian Haynes my lead pastor from home and the leader of the trip was baptizing a couple of guys in the Jordan River. I raised my hand and asked him a question, “am I worthy of being baptized?” I just couldn’t get over the bad stuff I did in the past and Brian said something along the lines of “no, none of us are worthy but Jesus died on a cross for that reason.” I walked into the water and gave my
life to Christ, from then on I’ve put God first and my family is thriving like no other. Christ stays at the center of our lives and everything falls into place.
April 7, 2012, was the last time I had alcohol and now I’m being the man God created me to be by leading my family and giving back by sharing my story, my testimony of salvation. I’ve now been an active leader in the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program holding to the true word of the Bible - Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This year on May 28, 2016, by the grace of God someone gave scholarships and allowed me to bring 4 other veterans to Israel to experience God’s love and devotion to his people like I did.
I am now a devoted husband to Lauren, stay-at-home father to three beautiful boys - Landon, Cash and Johnathan Molis - and a new baby girl, Remy Jo. The kids teach me stuff every day and give me a purpose in life. I volunteer at the school three days out of the week. I still struggle with my brain injury in many ways but I have a purpose in life. As long as I can function, I will be a father, teaching my kids to love Jesus and I will look out for my fellow brothers by sharing my testimony and letting them know what God has done for me and will do for them.
My military life didn’t define me but Christ has; now I’m living.
This is a short documentary on the God Story Joey and his wife Lauren have to share about how they came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and how their traumatic life circumstances like his injury through the military shaped their first year of marriage.