Dustin Kirby grew up in Paulding County, Georgia and is a 2002 graduate of Hiram High School. Dustin had always envisioned himself as being a hero when he grew up, so it was no surprise that he chose to join the military after he completed high school. He served in the United States Navy from 2003-2012 as HM2 (FMF) Corpsman with one Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployment aboard the USS Kearsarge and a second deployment in Karma, Iraq. The second deployment was cut short when Dustin was shot by an enemy sniper while standing post in Karma, Iraq on Christmas Day 2006.
Once the injuries were stabilized, Dustin spent the last six years of his service at the Wounded Warrior Barracks at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He continued to navigate the system to receive the help that he needed to adjust to the new normal in his life with little success. In 2012, he received a medical retirement from the military and returned home to Georgia to begin to rebuild his life.