Ryan Gurganious

Name: Ryan J. Gurganious
Branch: USMC
Years Served: 30 months
Rank: E1
Military Occupation: Admin 0121
Hometown: Lincolnton, NC
Twitter Handle: @darthceltic85

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • After the Military, I worked for the federal government and became active with my employees union. Having had to quit due to the Anxiety and PTSD, I am newly remarried, I have 8 kids (6 girls, 2 boys).
  • We do Theatre, as well as work with my DAV chapter as the VSO and I help with the Veterans and Community Alliance of Lincoln County, which helps vets with their vehicles.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • Having lobbied for federal employees in my past, I found that there weren’t many from our age group letting members of Congress know how we deal with life coming from conflict that is different than our preceding generations.
  • The advances in medicine as well as technology makes for a different VA experience for us. I want to change that.

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?

  • The military taught me that no matter the odds, determination and time are all that matters to a problem or objective. You need but be patient and things will happen as they should.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • For me, having the VA prescribe me marijuana would be a game changer for me. I have to self-medicate out of pocket.
  • Being a prior opioid addict, this is one of the only ways I’m able to manage my chronic pain and mental illness from the military and have a somewhat normal life.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?

  • The alternative care for me is the most important. This literally saved my life and allowed me to come back from the edge. If it can do this for me, in an unregulated and off the books manner, think what it could do if it was actually legal.
  • I could come out of the shadows and live life to the fullest. I am still shunned by most because of this.


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

Charity Navigator Four-Star RatingExcellence in GivingCharityStateRegistration.orgGuidestarAmerica's Best