In Memory of Derek Ghose
08/27/81 - 03/09/14
I first met Derek back in high school, 10th grade. I was looking for a bass player and the only response I got from anyone was always, without hesitation, Derek Ghose. Back then his only equal was the man himself, Les Claypool. Hearing him play was intense, hanging out and getting to know him was an even greater experience. Derek had a way of making everything around him more exciting and fun. His energy was infectious. He always put his friends well being ahead of his own, not caring once what his outcome was as long as his friends were good to go.
We quickly became really good friends, sharing not only a love of music, but also of the outdoors. Every chance we got, the two of us were out in the desert around the Superstitions and Florence, in the pines of the Mogollon rim, shooting, hunting, and fishing in remote canyons where few others dared venture. Several of my life's greatest experiences were shared with him; Derek was my brother. Together we learned a lot about what to do in life and definitely what not to do more than a few times.
As we traveled the paths life set in front of us, he enlisted in the Army and served 3 tours in Iraq; my best friend the War Fighter. I've never been so proud and terrified for anyone as I was for him every time he went into combat. When he came back from his second tour I could see the weight it put on him but didn't know how to help. We went camping in the desert, sat around a pile of burning mesquite and talked a lot about where we were in life, what both of us had been up to, and how neither of us could see anything real and big for our futures since being rock stars obviously wasn't in the cards, talent be damned. We also talked a lot about the things that troubled him. Things no human is meant to live through, endure, and then have to carry the weight of while trying to build back a normal life.
The next day we got up and spent a good part of the morning target shooting. When we finished, we cleaned up after ourselves like always because both our fathers taught us not to be pigs. Then we started cleaning up all the garbage that was left out there by others. As we filled bag after bag I noticed he was smiling. A lot.
"I wish I could just do this all day,” he said. “Haha! You and me both buddy, how awesome would that be?” I said. This was the birth of an idea that would one day become Natural Restorations. We just had no clue how to do it.
After Derek came back from his third and last tour a new struggle began. This isn't the place for details, but when your best friend tells you all he wants to do is go right back into combat because it's easier to figure out than life at home, you know things are wrong and the world needs a serious wake up call.
The roller coaster of ups and downs that followed as he tried to readjust to life back home is the most frustrating thing I have ever witnessed and been a part of. There is no magic button, no solvent to wipe the slate clean enough for those suffering from PTSD and TBI, like Derek. No visible end to the struggle for him or his family. Then the day came where he just didn't wake up. My brother from another mother was gone...
There isn't much in life I regret, but from that day on I was so angry with myself for not having some kind of program already built and waiting to help him and other veterans like him. Something to get them away from the chaos of the city to a place where a clear task lay ahead with immediately visible results in a calm environment. Something that could have maybe brought back that spark he used to carry.
A little more than a year later Natural Restorations was officially launched as a way to not only cleanup the environment, but also provide contract work for veterans with the most enjoyable, fulfilling experience we can.
Derek, in your memory brother, everything we do in Arizona, every site we restore, every one of your brothers and sisters we can bring a smile to, is for you! Travel well my friend and know you're always with me.
Director of Field Operations & Co-Founder