WARSAW — When Warsaw’s Dugan Julian says he has an “insanely busy life,” he is not exaggerating. The 31-year old Julian is married with three children — ages 2, 6, 10 — and three jobs: Event coordinator at Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams; owner of Delta Fitness, a health coaching service; and engagement coach and fitness monitor for Kosciusko Community YMCA.
Julian also volunteers much of his time to the community as a rugby coach for Warsaw’s middle and high school teams and a board member of Community Apple Orchard in Winona Lake.
The insanity is not a recent development, however. Consider how Julian wound up serving in Iraq as a Marine:
The 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers occurred when Julian was an eighth-grader living in Silver Lake, and this, combined with videos of beheadings and other atrocities, inspired him to want to serve in the military. By his junior year, his goal was to join the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, or JAG, as a reservist.
Bizarrely, late in the summer before he was to start college, he had still not received a single acceptance letter, in spite of the fact he had a 3.8 GPA and a 27 ACT score. Too late, it was discovered his first and last names had somehow been switched. Dugan Julian became “Julian Dugan,” and, as a result, his acceptance letters were lost in transit.
Julian served seven-and-a-half years in the Marine Corps, including a stint in Ramadi, Al Anbar province, Iraq, from March to October 2008 when the U.S. handed over security to the Iraqi military and police. Before leaving, Julian learned a building where he had been stationed was rigged with plastic explosives, which were never detonated thanks to faulty wiring.
Two weeks after Julian was discharged due, in part, to a back injury, he was enrolled at Grace College, where he worked for the Lilly Center’s initial education and research teams, developing lesson plans, teaching in classrooms and doing lake and stream sampling across the country.
Since graduating with a degree in environmental studies, Julian has begun work as the center’s event coordinator, organizing fundraisers and community events such as the Lakes Festival, interpretive hikes and waterway clean ups.
Through it all, Julian and his wife, Rachel, found comfort in their faith. Julian came to Jesus Christ at the age of 16, but while in the military, “Christ came to the center of the marriage,” he said, when the couple rededicated themselves. According to Julian, only 15 percent of military marriages do not end in divorce.
“Through every calamity, everything has come out in a better place,” he reflected. The Julians attend Pathway Church in Warsaw, where they have found what Dugan referred to as a “spiritual tribe.”
Julian’s military service has proved crucial to Delta Fitness. His Marine Corps training helped him become a certified physical fitness trainer. It also inspired his business model. “I’m passionate about trying to service people who can’t typically get personal training,” he said. His reduced rates make him affordable to those in lower income brackets. Julian provides not only physical fitness training, but also self-defense, stress and sleep management, nutrition and spiritual training.
Looking back, Julian commented, “I’m not where I thought I’d be, but where God wanted me to be.”