SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Now we'll hear from StoryCorps's Military Voices Initiative, which records the stories of post-9/11 veterans and their families. Today, a story about a soldier who went missing.
After Army Private First Class Brian Orolin returned from Afghanistan in 2011, his wife, Donna, could tell something wasn't quite right. He became paranoid. He suffered constant headaches and would isolate himself in his bedroom with the lights dimmed. And then on November 19, Brian left his wife and two children in Spring, Texas. He has been missing ever since.
At StoryCorps, Donna Orolin remembered the day he returned from Afghanistan.
DONNA OROLIN: He was literally the last person off the plane, and he was just so excited to see his daughters. I dressed the girls up and put little bows in their hair with his unit on them. And I put a sign out front that said welcome home, Specialist Orolin. He just couldn't wait to be dad - husband again, but then, things were different.
We used to hold hands all the time before he left. When he came back, he didn't like to be touched, so I had to remind myself to not rub his back, not sneak up behind him and give him hugs. And pretty much his sense of purpose was gone. He would say that he was just going to go away somewhere some day and disappear, and we'd never find him.
Brian left Wednesday morning, and I always went to church to go to Bible study. Since he had the car, I had called the church to see if somebody could take us. Somebody arrived at our house to take myself and my daughters to church, and while they were there, Brian came home. He got very upset that I had people in the house that he didn't know. And he threw his car keys, his credit card and all the cash he had on hand at my feet. And that's the last I saw him.
Our daughters are 5 and 4. They know that Daddy's not home. They know that the police are looking for Daddy, but sometimes they'll have memories, like Daddy used to bake brownies. And he'd let the girls crack the eggs and stir the batter. Well, the first time that I wanted to make brownies, the youngest girl wasn't sure if that was OK or not. And I had to tell her that us Orolin girls could do anything, and we get through it. If I could tell Brian one thing, I love him, and I've got this. I'm going to do what's best for those girls. I've got this.
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SIMON: Brian Orolin has been missing since November of 2014. If anyone has information regarding his whereabouts, please contact the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office outside of Spring, Texas. You can hear more from StoryCorps's Military Voices Initiative on the StoryCorps podcast at NPR.org.
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