Merrimack Health Promotion and Management Graduate Student, Former Green Beret, Publishes Book

Dave Fielding M’25 wrote “Into the Darkness: A Journey of Love, War and Emotional Freedom” about his mental health struggles while serving in the U.S. military.
Headshot of Dave Fielding M’25 next to the Merrimack College logo.
Dave Fielding M’25 previously served in the U.S. Special Forces before enrolling in Merrimack's health promotion and management graduate program.

Even a former U.S. Special Forces soldier can attest – masculine vulnerability needs a rebrand.

Dave Fielding M’25 hopes to redefine what it means to handle emotional struggles with his new memoir, “Into the Darkness: A Journey of Love, War and Emotional Freedom” published earlier this month.

Currently, Fielding works as the health and wellness coordinator for the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. He enrolled in Merrimack’s health promotion and management graduate program this fall to better equip himself for the job.

“It’s a tough job and they need all the help they can get,” he explained. “With law enforcement, they don’t want to hear (about the importance of mental health) from just anyone. They want to hear it from someone out there who’s done stuff.”

The 12-month program teaches students the ins and outs of health, wellness, leadership, marketing, administration and policy to better understand and lead in corporate wellness, public health and fitness programming initiatives. 

“Every week I’m learning something and bringing it back to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department,” he explained. “There’s always a new way of thinking, not just health policy but any of the health initiatives that we do for our corrections and law enforcement officers.”

As an Andover, MA, native, Fielding has long known of Merrimack’s pedigree. 

“Merrimack was an awesome school even when I was in college,” he said. “I learned that Merrimack has one of the top programs for health promotion and management.”

“Into the Darkness” covers Fielding’s time as a spy working operations in Iraq and Syria. While participating in numerous high-stakes missions, Fielding was battling inner demons stemming from his personal life falling apart. 

Fielding said overcoming this dark period gave him a “superpower for empathy.” He hopes to teach this superpower to the readers of his book and help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“It’s a story about something everybody goes through either one time or another,” he explained.

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