Cole Lyle is a Texan with deep roots. Originally born in Corsicana, Lyle’s family called Texas home before it even became a state. His distant ancestor Samuel Wilson settled here with Jose Antonio Navarro, after whom his home county is named.
In addition to being a military veteran, Lyle’s inspirational story is one marked by hard work, self-determination, and public service.
“I joined the Marine Corps out of high school and attended classes at a few different community colleges, doing distance learning and that sort. Eventually, I settled at Texas A&M and expect to graduate this December. “
After leaving the military, Lyle spent a lot of time thinking about what he wanted to pursue professionally.
“I was going through some major changes in my life, and decided on a new course of action that involved a career in foreign policy. The problem was, I wasn’t politically engaged outside of just keeping up with current events, doing my own research, and voting. I only had one friend involved named Ashley Sewell, who had worked for Senator Cruz’s 2012 campaign and was working for Ken Paxton’s campaign at the time. She took me to Red State, where I sort of acted as a body-man to Paxton for the day, and I was hooked.”
After making some contacts, Lyle jumped right in pursuing a variety of different jobs while a full-time student.
“I’ve worked with Empower Texans, Frontline Political Solutions, Senator Ted Cruz’s D.C. office, and the Heritage Foundation. Now I’m doing work on veteran’s affairs legislation independently. Even though I’m in school full-time, and travel frequently to D.C., I also am a Resident Advisor for my university apartments and work in a kitchen at a local bar to pay the bills.”
His most recent project aims to provide service dogs to veterans who are struggling with transitioning back into civilian life. His own personal struggle (and triumph) ultimately inspired him to take up the cause to help his fellow veterans.
“I’m working on legislation called the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act, or HR 4764, in DC. When I got out, I struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress. Traditional pills and therapy just didn’t work for me, so I ventured out to other methods of treatment and got my service-dog, Kaya, trained at my own expense of roughly $10,000.”
Twenty-two veterans each day commit suicide. Unfortunately, many suffering from PTSD are not receiving effective treatment. Lyle says that in addition to his own personal story, there are studies that show service dogs can help veterans in need.
“I know most veterans don’t have resources to buy and train their own service dog. And I didn’t understand why the VA wasn’t exploring this option. Upon further research, I learned they’ve been dragging their feet on a study since 2010.”
Since May of last year, Lyle has gone into almost $10,000 in debt, sacrificing his own time and resources to advance the cause. Congressman Ron DeSantis (FL-6) introduced legislation, which now has over eighty cosponsors, with fifteen or more from Texas.
“Simply put, PAWS expands veteran access to service-dogs that are specifically trained to combat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. The pilot program puts $10 million into veteran service organizations like Patriot Paws based here in Texas, Warrior Canine Connection, K9’s for Warriors, and others that already have the expertise and infrastructure in place to avoid wasteful spending.”
PAWS supporters—outside of a select group of people at the VA—believe the program will drastically reduce the epidemic of suicides plaguing the veteran community.
“PAWS is paid through reallocated funding in the VA’s HR department that is currently going to superfluous ‘administrative training’ conferences every year in places like Vegas and Orlando. It’s not only sound, fiscally conservative public policy—it’s the right thing to do.”
Lyle says he saw an opportunity to make a difference, but no one around him was taking action. With faith in himself, his cause, and God, he decided to go all in and trust that everything would work itself out.
“God will put me where He wants me. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s souls.’ But then after you make those plans in pencil,” Lyle laughed, “give God the eraser.”
In whatever free time he stumbles upon, Lyle enjoys reading. He’s currently on a “classic literature kick” reading Aristotle, Plato, and others. He also takes long runs with Kaya.