Season 2 | Episode 2-8

From Surviving an Explosion in Vietnam to Prosecuting Arizona’s Deadliest Mass Shooting: A Talk About Overcoming Adversity and Finding Meaning in Life with Rick Romley

Published on: 12/21/2022

In this episode of The Optimistic American, Paul Johnson welcomes former Maricopa County County Attorney and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Rick Romley to discuss his incredible story of overcoming adversity and finding meaning in life. The two also discuss Romley’s career and the key challenges he faced, as well as running for office and giving back to the community.

  • Rick Romley joined the Marine Corps in March of 1968 with the goal of joining for two years to get his G.I. Bill and help finance his college studies. He ended up being shipped to Vietnam with the First Marine Division, where he stayed until 1969.
  • Rick shares what happened during his deployment, culminating in him getting significant injuries to both legs caused by an IED (also known as a booby trap).
  • Rick went through some hard times following the injury, which was labeled as critical. He opens up about being close to giving up, about the moment he believes saved his life, and about how he has been helping and inspiring other veterans.
  • Rick Romley ended up going back to college to get his law degree, all while being a single parent of two young boys and being severely handicapped. Paul talks about Viktor Frankl’s story of surviving Auschwitz, his Logotherapy concept, and the three things Frankl deemed to be helpful in finding meaning in life – even during hard times.
  • Rick and Paul discuss how Rick ended up becoming County Attorney in Maricopa County (Arizona), and some of the great challenges he faced during his time there – including being involved in the investigation and prosecution of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Arizona.
  • According to Paul, the greatest thing the American Government ever did was empower the individual over itself.
  • Paul and Rick unpack the concept of patriotism.
  • Paul and Rick share their thoughts about doing the right thing when it comes to both one’s professional and personal life.
  • Paul asks Rick for his advice for someone who’s thinking about running for office.

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