J.M. van Zuiden was born and raised in the upper Midwest in a small farm town. After two years attending a local community college, J.M. joined the US Army at age 21 being stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed with the US Army’s 1st Cavalry Division to Iraq in 2004 for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he experienced combat first-hand. J.M. currently resides in Illinois where he serves his fellow Veterans as a Veterans Service Officer.