OU grad, war survivor helps troubled kids

Houck, now a burly, bearded man of 22, said he has few concrete childhood memories, but some details of his early life—particularly certain smells—are inescapable.

“I can remember the way 1993 smelled,” he said. “Because 1993 was right after a big fighting year, and a lot of the country smelled like dead bodies. It’s a very sweet and pungent smell that you never forget as long as you live. I don’t like standing near dumpsters. It smells a lot like that.”

Houck will also never forget that day he and his mother were attacked by a group of Serbians in an international market when he was just 7 years old. He can recall certain details vividly, down to the gray T-shirt he wore, and the sound of the mortar exploding.

“I was used to hearing things go off away from me, and it’s usually a loud pop and then a whistle,” he said. “But when it’s close to you, all you hear is a rush of air, like a flag in the wind.”

Read the full story at Speakeasy Magazine.

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