Veteran Don Morrell shares his life-saving experience with Fitbit, plus details

Earlier this year, Fitbit published a story I wrote about my Charge 5 tracker and how it helped me detect heart problems I didn’t know existed. I felt compelled to write again when I heard that Fitbit was offering a big discount for veterans this November: I’m a veteran myself, and I hope my experience with Fitbit resonates with other vets and inspires them to take advantage of this opportunity. Fitbit helped me, and I want it to help you.

First, a little about my service—I grew up learning the importance of service through my father. He served as a paratrooper in the US Army during World War II, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was stationed in Germany at the end of the war. After the US Air Force was established in 1947, he became a fighter pilot; Finally, he enjoyed a long career as a pilot for United Airlines.

With the support of my amazing wife, Kim, I joined the Army on Veterans Day in 1980. I went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and advanced training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. I began my military career in counterintelligence at Fort Ord, California, and after studying German at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, I was assigned to Germany as a counterintelligence agent.

While there, my responsibilities included conducting personnel safety investigations; Army Counterinsurgency and Espionage Directed (SAEDA); communication security; and actual or suspected acts of terrorism. I finished my military career in the operation security division of 9m Department headquarters at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Throughout my military service, I supported Army units within my areas of responsibility by providing intelligence and operations protection and coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It gave me the opportunity to meet, work with and witness the unwavering commitment and esprit de corps of many veterans and civil servants. I am proud to work with such dedicated people and follow in my father’s footsteps.

After the Army, I had a demanding, 25-year law enforcement career—one that I could not have done well without taking care of my health. I was fit and ate well, and after retiring in 2013, I continued to stay active with weight training, biking, rowing, and regular walks with my wife and our dogs. So you can imagine my surprise when one night last December, my Fitbit indicated that my heart was in a state of atrial fibrillation!

Not only that, but my next doctor’s visit revealed that I had a heart defect from birth and a thoracic aortic aneurysm. You can read more about it here, but needless to say, I was shocked. Thank goodness for the ECG feature on my Fitbit; Otherwise, I would not have known to visit a cardiologist for examination and treatment. My wife insists that I am always Now wear my Fitbit, and we both rest a little easier knowing that our devices (she wears one too!) also monitor for irregular heart rhythms while we sleep.

We also use our Fitbit devices for daily health and wellness. We love sleep score breakdowns to understand our sleep patterns; We look at our stress score (of course, my anxiety has increased after these issues with my heart, so I like to monitor it); And I’ve come to rely on my daily fitness score to help me know when I should take it easy and when I can go all out with my workouts. Most importantly, the Health Metrics dashboard helps me track any issues related to my diagnosed heart condition. Fitbit is a true health companion, and since I don’t see my doctor every day, we feel good knowing we can see important health data 24/7.

And that’s why I’m writing again. I would love to hear from other veterans of such health and wellness tools Really helps! Whether it’s a situation like mine, where it alerted me to a serious heart condition I didn’t know about, or for veterans struggling with emotional and mental health issues—a Fitbit device helps you set and focus on physical activity. can help you cope with stress or set and manage goals around sleep, stress management, heart health and overall wellness. It is so important! Throughout my career, I have witnessed death and debilitating injuries in many ways—some due to stress and mental health issues. I believe that any tool to prevent these losses and help those who are struggling is a benefit to all of us, and a Fitbit device can be one of those essential tools.

So from one vet to another: take advantage of this great deal Fitbit is offering you. Get one for yourself, and one for your loved one (you can get two using the Veterans Day 35 percent discount). My Fitbit device has ensured that I receive much-needed medical care, which means I can hopefully continue to live a long, healthy life with Kim and our family. I believe Fitbit can deliver on their mission to help make everyone in the world healthier, and I want as many veterans as possible to be included. I hope you mean that!


Interested in supporting veterans like Don? Join us for the DAV 5K, Walk, Roll, Run, and Ride to thank those who serve and raise awareness about the issues that sick and injured veterans face every day. You can attend in person in Cincinnati on Saturday, November 5, or attend virtually anywhere from November 5 through Wednesday, November 30.

DAV is a non-profit organization, supported by the Fitbit Veterans ERG, whose mission is to empower veterans to live high-quality lives with dignity and respect. They help ensure that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; Fighting for the interests of America’s wounded heroes on Capitol Hill; and educate the public about the great sacrifice and necessity of vets returning to civilian life.

In addition to our sponsorship of the DAV 5K, Fitbit is offering a Veterans Day workout coached by First Sergeant and certified fitness, strength and conditioning group instructor Diamond Ott, available for free on the Fitbit app and on YouTube (also November 5 through 30).

Finally, remember that now through November 25, you can buy up to two Fitbit devices at a special discount for veterans, active military and spouses. Verify your eligibility to receive your devices today

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