To My Fellow Solider’s

If you need me I am here. Its as simple as that. As a Veteran that statement will never change. Its extended to everyone, but specifically to those that have served or currently serving. The many issues we face coming back and the many challenges of going from combat to the civilian life is harder than any person that has never served could understand. The transition isn’t as easy as the military makes it out to be. They spend so much time preparing us for combat and our jobs, but they fail to educate us on how to survive the world after the military.

The civilian world isn’t structured for the military mind. Not only that its not designed to handle the medical issues that comes with being a Veteran. At one point I was going to so many appointments and physical therapy that I was surprised my employer kept me around. Plus the appointments take hours and usually turn into all day events. Its not as quick and easy as most other appointments.

It will always be impossible to put into words the true nature of a Veteran. We are all broken in some way, we have different experiences, but at the end of the day, most just want peace, we want everyone to come home safe, we want this country to be the best in the world and we want our families to be safe.

So to all Veterans out there. We must stand together. We are the only ones in this country that will truly understand what the price of Freedom looks like. We are the only ones that understand what putting your life on the line means. We are also the only ones that truly understand what each of us are going through. We need to come together to end the suicide of our American heroes.

 

A new year – why not?

If you don’t know by now I am a God fearing Veteran. I strongly believe in God, Country and Family. Pretty much in that order! God is my strength, He is what gets me through my days, helps me with the direction in my life, and mainly keeps me grounded. Loving this Country and the continued oath I took to defend and protect it. My family allows me to grow and share my faith with others. They help build me up and give a continued reminder how precious life is and how tomorrow is never promised.

This year I believe is a year of change and not just a change physically, but change internally and spiritually. This is the part I hope are still reading. If you are not a believer in Christ or you think you are a believer in Christ I hope you continue to read. I am hoping that by the time you are done reading you not only are on fire for change, but you have questions. Questions are good because they end in answers or more questions. God wants us to seek Him. Whether you believe in Him or not, He wants you to seek Him. As a person that grew up without the knowledge of Him I always felt there was something more and until a tragic moment in my life did I realize who He was and I started to have questions and those question lead me on the path I live today. I have taken many paths to get here, but they all led to the same point, not because of what I have done, but because of the choices God has placed in my life.

So who is Jesus, in my words, Jesus is the Son of God. God sent Jesus to earth to understand and live beside us. Jesus is and will be the only born child that was born without sin. You read that right. If you don’t know, the act of birth is a sin. We are all born of sin and into a world full of sin. The reason for that is a punishment that was given at the beginning of our time. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food  and pleasing of the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she too some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with here, and he at it.  Genesis 3:6

With this they broke the one rule God had placed on them and for disobeying Gods command the punishment of painful child birth was placed upon her.

So why did Jesus come to earth? Jesus came to earth to be a physical sacrifice to create the connection between us and God. God sent his only son to be crucified so that we can all be closer to God and to be forgiven for our sins. But its a two way street. Jesus came and so do you. The bible says that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him – John 4:17-17

There is no other way. Nothing else on this earth can get you there. God doesn’t say, if you are a good person, if you are a charitable person, if you go to church, if you don’t sin. Jesus says, through me!! That’s it. If you don’t accept Him he can’t accept you. As simple as that is, many people get it wrong, many institutions get it wrong. Now all of the above things are great examples of being more like Jesus, because that’s what he wants you to be, but those won’t get you to Heaven.

But there’s more. Once you accept Jesus the jobs not done. God says go out and make disciples. Well what does that mean? That means that God wants you to accept Him, learn from His word and then tell other people. I mean why would you keep such good news to yourself. God wants you to spread the good news. Once you accept Jesus as your savior He will begin working in your life. Many find that once they accept their live either goes crazy and sometimes bad things happen. Hold fast and have faith. Once you accept Jesus as your savior you have just woke up the beast and he will now try to attack, but you have to be faithful because now you have God on your side. Things may seem crazy at first, but that’s God making changes in your life from your life decisions. The path you have created may not be the path that God truly wants you on. Stand fast and have faith. Easier said then done right.

Just remember this, He is always with you. Even on the darkest of days God is there. You aren’t alone in your struggle. But also remember your worth. What is your worth to God that he would take his only son to clear you of all your wrongs? Let me put your worth in a different perspective. Jesus is God in the flesh. He is one in the same. God came to earth as living flesh to sacrifice Himself for us. That’s what you are worth to Him. You are worth the blood of God.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be nothing at all. For I am the LORD your God who take hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I am here to help you.”

Isaiah 41:10-13

Remember!!

On this day 15 years ago we as a country learned how important our freedoms are. Many of us woke up to the terror on TV, many where there and witnessed exactly what terrorism looks like first hand and many of us saw our government scramble our defenses waiting for another attack. The men that boarded those plans had a purpose, that purpose was to place fear in our hearts and try to destroy our freedoms. On this day our country took a different turn. We came together as a country. We saw many flock to join the military and many heroes were born. We witnessed the birth of a new nation that stood together stronger than ever before without prejudice and without racism. A country with a purpose!

That day will forever be alive inside me. A day when I realized that the enemy was real. As a soldier in the Army I knew that we had enemies in the world, but as an American I had never witnessed an attack on our land, especially one from an enemy thousands of miles away. Why would anyone want to attack America? We are the home of freedom. We are the home of immigrants. Why would anyone want to attack us? Over the next 8 years I would understand and over the next 15 years I would ask those same questions again.

The freedoms we have in the country aren’t a new thing. There are plenty of other countries that share some of the same freedoms we have. But at the core of what we believe and the fact that we actually care about the world and try to help others doesn’t sit very well with many other countries or groups of people.

The fear they put into the lives of Americans turned into purpose, turned into hate and gave America a new beginning. But as the left side started questioning our government more and more and as we began to forget about that day we started turning inward again and all of that purpose disappeared. We started turning against our Military, we started fighting among each other instead of trying to defeat our enemy we began defeating ourselves. We forgot that we allowed an enemy to come into our country, destroy our buildings, kill thousands of lives, and to put fear into our hearts. Why?

Plan and simple….the media turned away from showing how important the war was and instead started showing things that weren’t as important. We lost faith in our government and plainly our economy started taking a hit and the birth of the proximity people was born. Simple, if it doesn’t affect me than its not my problem. Americans started looking inward and forgot why we were fighting a war. A different America from when we were in WWII – The war was starting to look and feel like a Vietnam again. Military personnel were starting to be looked down on. Many Americans started hating the Military and began protesting the war. Seems we started reliving our past.

Now 15 years later we are worse off than we ever have been. We live in an America I could never have imagined. One where refugees and illegals have more rights that Americans. A country that is completely torn apart and nothing is sacred anymore. One that I fear will get worse before it gets better. A place where we fear our police officers, can’t trust a word our government says and a place I fear to raise my kids. Our constitutional rights have been infringed. Our civil liberties are slowly being taken away and with this election coming I fear even more will happen to implode our country from the inside out. We as Americans have allowed our country to fall into the hands of the enemy and the enemy I fear has been here the entire time waiting for its chance to strike when we are at our weakest. Right now we aren’t a country anymore. The men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the past 200 plus years did it to protect the rights we are losing. At this point in history it seems it was for nothing because Americans are allowing it to happen.

Today, I pray for America. I pray that each person understands that the freedoms they experience each day was provided by an American that gave their lives. That each breath you take has been given by a breath lost. That we wouldn’t be a country without the sacrifices by the many. I pray that we come together as a country again and begin to heal our communities from the internal fight we have put ourselves in. We must turn back to our creator to give us a better way and a better future. We must turn back into the country, “In God We Trust.” If we don’t we will become no better than the countries around the world that allow slavery, that allow no freedom of speech or freedom to protect yourselves. We must turn back to the very ideas that this country was built on and become a country again!!

 

My Take

I have had the opportunity to serve this great nation. When I served up until the time I left active duty I felt a lot of pride for this country. When I joined I came from a small town in West Virginia. The only other state that I had ever been to was Ohio so my back woods peripheral view was small. I only heard of other countries. Dreamed of someday of traveling and seeing what the rest of the world had to offer. When I joined I served along side different walks of life, different races and even served with someone that came to America from Egypt and if he served in the Military he would be able to bring his family to America. It was the first time my eyes were really opened to unity between different races, backgrounds and religious beliefs all in one spot. The men and women I served with in basic training became a family overnight and we were there for each other because we had one goal in mind, serve our country. We didn’t care if you were a female of male. We didn’t care if you were White, Black, Hispanic or any of other race. We didn’t care what your religion was, we just hoped that you had a purpose. We didn’t care because as a unit we were Americans.

That experience prepared me for the real world, because the small backwoods mind that I had could have never prepared me for living in Iraq and Germany. That experience brought unity to me and my fellow Soldiers. It made us family and has given me a bond with every Soldier I ever served with. I can contest that if any of them reached out to me today for help I would drop everything I doing to be there for them, because at the end of the day I know they would do the same.

With that being said. Why can’t Americans act this way towards other Americans? It seems that as a nation we should love each person that lives legally in this country like family. I might have a answer for you. We have become a country that has the backwoods mind frame again. If it doesn’t affect me directly why is is my problem. This stems from our family lives and how we are raising our children. This also has a lot to do with our economy and our way of life. More and more, parents are working longer hours, working more than one job to make ends meet. With that comes the disconnect at home. Children aren’t receiving the  the one on one time with there parents. This time is where the Children learn values, beliefs and ideas that children will keep with them forever. No, the beliefs that they are learning is that you have to work for nothing, that church on Sundays isn’t important, that the time they lost during the weekend needs to be recouped during the weeknights, sorry we can’t create memories because I have to work, we can’t be family because we don’t have the money. What has happened is that the next generation is growing up thinking that money is everything, because that’s what they saw their parents do. So when they can they just work, continue to work and disconnect themselves from reality and spend all their time working. Work has taken over our country because without it we can’t live. Inflation and debt in this country with low wages has destroyed the home and family life. We don’t just stop and realize what we have and how rich we really are in this country. Businesses have created this idea that you can’t take time off because you could lose your job. You can’t take care of your personal life because your professional life is more important.

I can contest. I have fallen for this. The difference with me is I grew up without and as soon as I had the opportunity I worked for those things I didn’t get to have. I didn’t have to bases to conserve and save. Spending became a habit and it took me a long time to realize that wasn’t the point of working. Work to spend, to work to pay isn’t what life is all about. My family was a split family. At times I learned a lot from my dad. Learned how to work on my own car, learned how to work hard for what I took home. I learned about self worth and that my time is worth more than I give myself credit for. I understand that more now then ever before. Once I left the military I took what I learned and hit the work force. I landed a good entry job and since 2009 I have climbed to many heights. I have worked as an entry level IT Specialist to a Director of IT and even Operations Director. As with each job my pay increased, but what I learned over the years was that my pay was increases and my time with my family was decreasing. I was spending 60-80 hours a week working for that money to give my family a good life, but I was watching my family grow without me. Missing out on big moments in my families life. Working holidays, working birthdays, I was losing what I wanted. A rare moment came this year when I was laid off at probably the best job I have had so far in my civilian career. I worked myself out of job that paid at its max. It was a blessing in disguise because they let me go and continued to pay me for a short while after and that allowed me to take time for myself and my boys. But I learned a valuable lesson. Money isn’t everything and without you may lose everything, but with it you lose yourself.

With this election coming up in November its is more important now than ever to elect someone that will get our country back on track and bring values back to the dinner table. I honestly can’t see that for either of the nominees. Both of the nominees doesn’t know what its like to start from nothing. Both nominees are at the higher end of the spectrum and to men and women like me they will never reach us. But as an American I won’t let that define my vote. I have to decide whats best for my country and not whats best for me. Another aspect of that this country has fallen into.

So for my take:

Hillary Clinton

Since her name hit the scene back in the 70’s she has made a mess of things. From water gate to the email gate she doesn’t have an honest bone in her body. Now before you go judging me for judging I am only stating facts. People are human and we all make mistakes, but when your mistakes make you a millionaire from lying, cheating, stealing and killing than I can judge just a little right? What strikes me the most is that people in this country still think she is the best option for our country. That tells me that there are people in this nation that truly have no values. Lets look it this way. If you vote for Hillary you are saying that its okay to lie. If you vote for Hillary you are saying that it’s okay to allow Americans to die for no reason. You are also saying its okay to falsify your testimony to the FBI and Congress about your illegal activities with Classified Documents. You are saying that its okay to purposely cheat in your own party to gain the votes and push someone else out. You are saying that lying about everything to gain popularity and the vote is okay, and that people make mistakes so we should over look their past. Okay, I can see overlooking lying at water gate, I can see stealing furniture from the White House when your husband was president. People make mistakes, people can change. Okay….so how long do you wait for them to change. Do you wait close to 40 years for them to change their actions and stop lying and cheating. 40 years to become a better person and do the right thing. If you vote for Hillary you are getting a liar. Someone that has lied directly to the American people, just as her husband did, put our country in harms way by having an illegal email server that she personally deleted classified emails from and wasn’t prosecuted for it. Your are electing someone that has no real values besides lying, cheating, stealing, all for herself and not for the good of this country. What you are doing by voting in Hillary is telling your children that all these values are okay. Your saying that the highest appointed person in our nation is allowed to be above the law, can lie, steal, and cheat and its okay. And again, that’s what is wrong with our country. We have lost our values as Americans and the next generation is picking up on that. Can you now see why our youth doesn’t respect police, respect their parents, doesn’t respect the law? Because as Americans we are possibly electing a President that has the same values. If you vote for Hillary I hope that the good out weighs the bad. I hope that Congress shuts her down as much as they have with Obama. Its hard to fathom having a president I can’t trust to tell me the truth or even admit to the lie. But to continue lying knowing your lying, but knowing no one will do anything about it.

If you thought this was a Clinton bash you were wrong. I don’t judge, just state the facts.

Donald Trump

As most of this country knows, Donald Trump has no political agenda. If he does we haven’t heard it yet. The only thing going for Trump is that he paid for his entire campaign and says things will be huge. I think many Americans are still wondering, “Trump, how are you going to do the things you say you are going to do?” I the past if you run for any type of office you have an agenda. You come up with things you can change and will change when you get into office. But as history shows us, most of those things that politicians say they are going to do when they make it into office normally never happens. And I’ll explain to you why that happens later. But for Trump the agenda is missing this and I think its a good strategy. What happens is that you promise change and then no change comes and then the Country blames you specifically for what you said you were going to do and didn’t do it. I think Trump knows this and is running on the fact that he has been successful in business and he just knows how to get things done. But what the American people need are some facts on how your going to do those things. Maybe not to specific, but some idea to curve that question. Trump has had a grand life in America. He is on his 3rd wife, he has bankrupt many of his businesses and has failed many times, but what you don’t see is someone that is blaming someone for his failures and ideas that didn’t work. He has an idea, he drives towards it and if it fails he moves on. If he exceeds he makes it great. Its part of running a business which Hillary has no idea on how to do. I think that Trump makes sense to many Americans because typically our President isn’t someone that has no political background and maybe that’s what our country needs. One of the greatest presidents we’ve had was an Actor. Reagan had an outside view looking in and saw the country for what it was. Those with Political careers don’t see that. They only see the next bill or whats next on the agenda. There are some that do, but most don’t. I think Trump gets that, because he is actually doing things that most politics don’t and that real business. Trump does have his flaws, he doesn’t have filter and that could be good. He does say some things that doesn’t make sense and typically that’s because he isn’t reading from a teleprompter like every other politician. Trump has a lot of convincing to do over the next few months to really bring the people to the America he sees in his head. Americans need to trust him too. Most Americans can’t trust things they don’t see and they haven’t seen what he is going to do for all Americans. Not just for the rich or poor. But every American.

So who gets my vote? Some say you have to pick one of the lesser evils. I don’t see any evil in Donald Trump. And if he serves as President the right way it will be Mike Pence that is really running this country and it will be Congress making the right choices. The President isn’t the person that runs this country. Well that’s not how its supposed to be. The American people run this country or at least that’s how it used to be. The President is an elected official that is supposed to represent the likeness of the American people. That’s all they are supposed to do. They are elected to create relations with other countries, try to help pass laws that help and protect American, keep the wars at bay and again, represent the likeness of the country. States where formed to govern themselves without the influence of the federal government, but have to option to ask for federal help. States are governed by Governs that are elected to represent the likeness of those in the state. They are there to pass laws to help and protect the people of that state from the Federal Government, if they impose themselves on the state and it continues to go down from there. Same as Mayors and City Councils. Congressional member and Representatives are elected to represent their state to the Federal Government. Its pretty straight forward, but our government has run off course of what their actual jobs are for. I think Trump would be a great representative of our country, as he does have a lot of the working class qualities of America. He hasn’t been corrupted with all the political values and he has worked with big country corporations.  Hillary represents all that is wrong with out country. I just can’t get past the part of lying. Everything she has done has resulting in her lying to the American people. She may have changes that could fix our country, but the death that is on her hands and how she has put so many Americans lives at risk is hard for me to get past. We need a president that will reverse the issues that are plaguing our country. The political correctness that is going on has taken on a whole new form. The values that we have turned away as a Godly country is disturbing, whether you belief in God, those values where there to protect you and now that they are gone you are seeing first hand what happens without them. If you think this country wasn’t founded on biblical values then you need to look back at history. We wouldn’t be the country we have been without them. Take God out of our country and you get what you see everyday in the news. We as a Nation used to be a Nation Under God, God has abandoned us. He isn’t here anymore. We left Him out of plans for our country and so He has left us out of His plan. But like I always say, the United States isn’t in the Bible. Maybe we are meant to fall to push that next phase of Gods plan. Only he knows.

I pray that our country becomes a country of unity. One without color differences, one that respects our military, veterans and public service members. Remember, all of those people that protect you, keep you alive, and keep the enemy at bay are all volunteers. They volunteer to keep you save. We could be in a country that has the draft again, we could be in a country that has no one protecting you. We could be living in a country where first class medical care doesn’t exist. I pray that Americans pull their heads out of their 4th point of contact and realize that breaking the law isn’t just for the lower class. I pray that when you go to vote you vote for the betterment of your family and whats best for this country.

Remember. There are only three things that qualify anyone to become the President.

  1. Must be a naturally born citizen
  2. Must be 35 years of age
  3. Must have lived in the US for 14 years

That’t it folks. That’s all that qualifies you to be President. So when I hear that someone isn’t qualified because of their past or because they have no political background or they have thinned skin or because they don’t have a military background, I laugh, those don’t disqualify you, they just change your votes. But in today’s world you should add money and influence to that list, because without those two things you will never be President. Because that position has been tainted by Money and Power and we need to reverse that. I also think that those qualifications need to change. I think you should have served in the Military to become president. I also think you should have college and no past criminal history. Just some things to think about.

Ok so my rant is over. I could go on and on about all this because I love this country. I served this country honorably and I think if your going to be President you should serve honorably too. Whatever values our President has will shape our future Generations. Just think about that before you make your choice.

A dying breed

You can’t help but stumble on a post this week about World War II. Facebook is covered with remembrance of of Normandy and the Greatest Generation ever. I believe that whole heartily. Never before was there a generation that gave so much for the freedom of the United States. And not just domestic freedom, but foreign freedom. Never has there been a generation of talented men and woman here and abroad that trained, fought and gave so much for the next generation. And looking back on those sacrifices I can only wonder was it worth it? Was it worth riding the world of evil to only run from it now.

As a Veteran that volunteered to not only serve my country, but was called to fight in its war I can only imagine what was going through the minds of those men as they left a country they knew to a shore that was unknown to so many. To fight in a war that had no true meaning to them. But to do it because America was asking to fight an evil that we didn’t want in our country. And now today we fight an evil that has made its way to our country, that has embedded itself within our government and is attacking our very existence. An evil that can only be won by turning back to the one thing that has made this country so great, God. Many will tell you that this country wasn’t found on christian beliefs. And that would be true, but what is really true is that this country was found on the principles of God.

Those that came before us that helped shape this country to be at its greatest would be sickened by where we are and where we seem to be going. I can tell you that those men that stormed that beach didn’t do it for safe places, taking prayer and God out of school, and they surely didn’t do it to allow the evil that is brewing in the world. I can tell you that the world I knew before I went to Iraq in 2004 is surly not the world I live in today. What happened to the country that came together after 9/11? What happened to the country that came together after Desert Storm or During World War II and World War I? It seems to me that this country only forms as one when a conflict happens that they feel would affect them directly. Korea and Vietnam are two of those wars that didn’t matter to most Americas at the time because it wasn’t something that would directly affect them. When will the American people pull their heads out of there asses and stand together no matter what. Stand behind each other, stand for what we believe in and form a union that we once had. I love this country and would stand at arms everyday to protect our freedoms. But in the end at what cost would it be if we won’t learn from our history.

The breed of Americans that built this country and kept evil at bay are slowly fading away. Many are leaving this world and will soon be forgotten and to many would rather be written out of history, because that’s what we do best in this country. One of those men is my grandfather. One that I never got to know, but grew up hearing stories about him. He is now laying in a hospital surrounded by his family and slowly leaving his last impressions on them. Men like him that gave their all for family and for his country are fading away and the knowledge they have are being lost. I wish I had the chance to get to know my grandfather. Not only because he is my grandfather, but because he holds to the keys of knowledge of my family, of the past, and has the wisdom that none of us know anymore.

As a parent I fear for my children each day, fear that they will grow up in a world that is more confused with itself than it ever has been. Confused on gender and confused on the direction this country should go. We are lost as a country and until we find our footing we will continue down this spiral out of control and we will continue to take every soul with us. I say we, because no matter what, we are one country under God. We as a country have the power to take back our rights as we have that power because it was given to us. The moment we realize that we are powerless the powerful will take everything from us. Those that understand that the most are those that continue down the road of welfare and powerless means of living. I pray that we get right with God and become again the country I once knew. One that treats its people with respect and kindness and treats its heroes better than refugees.

To the greatest generation, I salute you. I pray that your peace after this life is great and that you know there are still many of us here fighting the good fight to continue what you started. That there are still those that believe in the principles you showed in your bravery and dedication to your country. That your deaths, struggles, and continued sacrifices are not forgotten. Than you again for protecting my freedoms and giving me the way of life I have learned to love.

They still care!!

The other night I had the great opportunity to go and speak about the organization I work for. A company was doing a team bonding event and they called and asked if someone would come and speak to the group about the organization and accept care packages for troops deployed. Being someone that had deployed I have received several care packages and while I stood there and watched this group pack these boxes with care and excitement it took me back to when I received my first care package. It was just weeks after I had arrived to Iraq. The box had a big sticker on it and said, “Angels for Heroes.” I guess somehow my name was put on a list and I was sent this package. When I opened the package there was a note inside and was amazing to read. I remember there being things in the box that I hadn’t had in awhile because before my deployment I was stationed in Germany.

I really remember feeling grateful and happy that America really cares about the troops. Over the years that care has fallen to the waste side in this country. Less and less American care that our troops are in harms way everyday, even when there isn’t a “war” going on, troops are watching over America everyday and put there lives on the line. It only seems to matter to the American people when it benefits them. We only seem to come together when tragedy strikes, we look at our military, then when the cost of protecting our country gets too high, the American people start complaining. But that night I saw a room full of Americans that cared about our troops. They were so careful that every box was packed the same and that every box had a note. It almost brought me to tears because I’m now on the other end and now see what it takes to make care packages happen.

I know there is nothing I can do to bring the country back together again. We have become so divided over the years and there really is no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed the Government to dictate our freedoms, tell us what we need when its doesn’t benefit us and only benefits them and we continue to allow them to dictate what is best for our children when they aren’t in the home and don’t have to take care of them on a daily basis.

When did we allow ourselves to not be Americans? At some point America has come to a conclusion that if it doesn’t directly affect me its not important and I believe that is one of the key reasons America has fallen. Yes I said it, we have fallen. We aren’t the America I grew up loving and not the America I joined the Army to defend and protect. When I see the crazy stuff that is happening I always ask myself, “did my brothers die for this?” “is this why we fight?” I can tell you that it is not why we fight, why we serve, why we protect and why we take the other to always protect! We do it to preserve our freedoms that are outline in the constitution, we do it to keep our families safe at night, and we do it because we love our country. For God, Country and Family!!!

It took many years for me to realize why it takes certain people to become a soldier, marine, airmen, and sailor. Its not a job for everyone and the Marines have it right when they say the few, because its not for everyone. Its a big boot to fill no matter how or why you join because so many have done it before you.

I want to say thank you to the Americans that still believe that we need our troops, we need our veterans, and we need a country founded by beliefs and values. For those Americans that think we don’t need troops please excuse yourself from the freedoms you receive everyday and live a life without the freedoms you’ve become accustomed too. Many have come before you and have sacrificed to continue the vision for this country. Many have died on the battle field to protect their families and families they have never met. You may see a senseless war, I see a need to continue making this country safe for generations to come.

They still care! It was great to see that American’s still care and want to give to troops in harms way. Continue to show you care! Because we greatly appreciate it.

Where have you been Brian?

Its been a wild ride since January!!!

In January I was released from my job and had to scrabble to find a new income. Took a month off and really focused on myself and my health as much as I could. In that time I met an amazing girl who since has become my best friend. She has truly shown me that medicine isn’t needed to fight the day to day battles of PTSD, that just having the right people in your life can help. I was able to find a new job and I now work for a nonprofit organization that provides financial and moral aid to Active Duty Military and Reserves. We do more than that, but its what is in our wheel house and its our main focus. It has been amazing to work closely with Veterans, Service Members, and at the end of the day, know that what I’m doing is making a difference, no matter how little the impact.

Health wise, I’m still waiting for the VA to approve or deny my claim for an increase and have been waiting since February 2015. I have been hearing that a lot of people have been receiving increases to hopefully its a good sign. But either way, I will wait patiently and continue fighting the VA for Veterans. Whether they increase or not I’ll keep fighting.

Never give up on what you feel you deserve for serving. Whether you feel like you can deal with your issues, apply, get it on paper because it will benefit you in the future. I have met many Veterans that have minor issues that don’t want to burden the VA with their conditions or Veterans that don’t have any issues. I tell them both, its your duty to apply for VA benefits. One day you may need them and getting them later will take more time. Every Veteran should be applying for Benefits, seeing what Benefits they have and just getting put in the system.

As as also, watch out for your buddies. 22 a day is almost a full platoon of service members. We need to check our buddies daily and stay in their lives so we know whats going on. The only way we can stop the 22 is to be apart of the solution.

And don’t forget today is R.E.D. Friday – Remember Everyone Deployed ~ without them we wouldn’t have our freedoms!!!!!!

New Beginnings

One of the hardest things with living with PTSD is always reliving the past, always comparing the future to the past and always trying to figure out how your going to get past that part of your life. The moment leading up to and the moments after always are fresh in your mind, but the situation that plagues you the most is what keeps you from moving forward.

One of the things I learned and held onto in the Army was that everyday and everything you do should always be moving forward, never standing still, always progressing in a forward motion. Mainly that was infantry skills, but I have learned to use that in my own life and when things are moving forward than life isn’t progressing. This has helped with my PTSD and issues I have faced. Always move forward and never accept the status quo. Never be completely comfortable with the now and always looking forward to tomorrow.

PTSD is real, its not some made up disorder that someone made up to label soldiers, its everywhere, everyone goes through it and its dependent on the person on how it affects you. Mine has pushed me even more to better myself, gave me reason to be alive and has pushed me to live my life and not just stand still and watch the rest of the world move on. There are moments that I find myself, back in Iraq, reliving days that were good, days that were bad, sleepless nights, seeing my fellow soldiers, receiving news of losing a soldier. Those moments will never go away. Those memories will never get any better and I now live with a medical condition that reminds me of it everyday.

But there comes a time, that I hope many will get there, that something changes. Your world changes because of someone or something that makes those memories just a little more bearable and just a little less real. Mine has been someone and it has changed my outlook on life and outlook to my future. I don’t worry about my medical condition as much, but know that its serious and I need to figure out why. Someone that softens the memories and makes me realize that God protected me all those days to be here in this moment with this person to bring life into someone else. Not only the person, but a new job where I get to help Service Members and get to show off being a Veteran, the feeling of satisfaction when a Veteran calls to say thanks for the Tickets or how proud a Veteran is to be the hero of the game.

There isn’t enough words that I can express for how the last few months have been. I find myself at peace most days and I am happy and content right where I am, but still looking towards the future. I say to those that have PTSD, never give up and never give in. Reach out for help, your wounds are deep, but not so deep they can’t be cured. You survived for a reason and its time to live it. Be more than PTSD, don’t let it label you, its another war we have to fight and as Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors, its a war we can defeat. Its the hardest combat we will ever face, but we aren’t alone, are battles are right here waiting to help.

 

Reflections

I know in the past few months I haven’t really focused much of my posts on Veterans issues or slamming the VA as I have. I truly feel there are small changes behind the scenes that are happening. The PHX VA is slowly making changes, just like finally hiring a full time Director. There are still issues and the more we bring those to light to better.
I know in the past year things have gone up and down in my career and life. Back in October of 2014 I was on fire with VA issues, I jumped on board with many organizations and was even offered and told I was going to be hired by one of these organizations. Fact is, there were others with ideas that didn’t fit with mine. I’m still advocating for Veterans, still fighting the cause. Over the past 7 months things have been going in a different direction for me. The questions on life, present and future have been a forward thought. Have I made some mistakes in the past few months. You bet I have and as a human being, if you expect anything different you should re-evaluate your own life.
I’ve brought more God back into my life, decided to take a different path and focus more on the positives in my life than the negatives. I’m thankful for the great people I have been blessed to have met in the past 2 years. One of those is Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, an organization that I completely stand behind and continue to support at the best of my ability. He has taught me to continue to fight for my fellow Veterans, speak the truth when a lie is much easier. I have also friended alot of Veterans that I otherwise would have never met. One of those is Steve Cooper. I haven’t had the pleasure of actually meeting him in person, but he has been an inspiration to me. When I see junk coming at me in my personal life I use the strength he has shown to fight it off and realize that tomorrow isn’t promised so we should live for today. Don’t hold back and keep fighting for tomorrow.
I think the biggest reason I am writing this is that the next few months are hard for me. February of 2004 was when my issues started in Iraq so the issues I face today stem from then and I relive those issues, April is when the first battle that I knew in Iraq lost his life. The dreams of Iraq become more intense. I was never on the front lines like so many were, but the continued threats everyday when on convoys are a constant on my mind. Most days I wish I could go back to those days and wish I would have continued on the Convoys even when I found out about my condition. But dwelling on that is worthless. Living each day in remembrance of those that lost their lives is much easier.
I think the best things in my life has happened in the last month. Besides the day my boys were born the last month has been, not only the craziest, but the only month in along time that has made since and has really opened my eyes to God’s true power. There comes a time in your life when you fall into the place where God wants you. Yeah, I lost my job over a month ago, yeah bills are not getting paid, life seems to suck, but to know that what your doing is for God your on top. Its a true statement when believers say we are richer than anyone on earth because we have the Love of God. Plus when you listen to God he will truly bring you what you have been looking for. Sometime in this life you meet someone that is you, when you look at them you see you, when you talk, you don’t every want to stop, when they are gone, you miss them, but know more than ever that the feeling of missing them is more than the idea of them not being there, that its the idea of feeling like you’ve lost something and can’t find it. Finding someone that accepts you for you is the best feeling also. Even harder for Veterans and even harder for Veterans that have issues like PTSD and medical conditions that they have to accept coming in to the relationship.
To any Veteran that is reading this, please take care of you. No one else is going to do you better than yourself. Don’t take no for an answer at the VA. Life you life for you to carry on the memory of those that have fought and died for this country and our freedoms we seem to be losing. If your not active in a Veteran group you are wrong. If your not mentoring other Veterans and partaking in Veteran issues, your not a true Veteran. We are a family. Whether you were a Soldier, Seaman, Airmen or Marine, we are all family, we all understand the struggle and no one else will ever get what you are going through. Stand together with your fellow Veterans, even if you think that your health care is so great, even if you think that you can’t help. Find a group you can back and go to work. Your service to this country and to your fellow Veterans isn’t over. That DD214 wasn’t the end of your contract, its the next chapter of your life as a Veteran.
Veterans are the backbone of this country. Its not the politics that win wars, its not orders that win wars, its not local government that saves lives when natural disasters hit our country. The blood of patriots and soldiers have soiled this land and have allowed it to grow to the strength that it has been, but this Administration, this government that thinks it can survive without soldiers, continues to kill Veterans, continues to turn a blind eye to the issues plaguing Veterans. Alone, there are enough Veterans in the US to march on DC and make a difference. This Administration thinks what Veterans have done for this country can just be written off. The divorces, deaths, children without a father or a mother, the multiple deployments that make soldiers go crazy and increases there chances of PTSD and suicide. War is ugly, but its necessary to protect the things we love, Family, God, and Country.
We need to rise up against this Administration and say enough is enough. We need to rise up against these pathetic candidates that think they can lie to America and then actually think they can run this country. To those that think free is the best way to go. Nothing in life is free, someone has to pay for free. We need to get this country back to its roots. God needs to be at the forefront of this country and the reason again we are a country.

Trust – Not always easy

Some of the hardest days we lose site of the importance of keeping our faith. Even those that don’t believe in God or Jesus, they have the notion of something that keeps them moving forward. So I guess you could say that whether you believe we all have bad days and bad seasons in life. Just the seasons are different. In the past week I have hit rock bottom, have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and have restored my faith in my own faith to leave all my troubles in God’s hands.

In the past it has been easier said then done. But with everything else going on in my life I’d have to say I’ve been the calmest I have ever been and when I was told I was being let go at my job I was totally okay with it, like it wasn’t the CEO telling me, but God was telling me, its time to move on, I have a plan. Some of the people that know what happened said that I was just too calm to be let go with no prospective job lined up. But God doesn’t shut a door to not open a larger door. I’ve put in all in His hands. Given Him the power of my path and just said, God…I’ve got nothing, its all on you to come through for me. Easier said then done, but as I think back he already started that upward battle with my Disability.

I honestly believe that those that go through the storms that come out the other side are stronger and when I was laid off years ago I grew up really fast and learned quickly that networking, keeping God close, and friends closer was the best thing I could do.

Good new to end the week. I have a great job interview and line up next week and it could push me into another direction within IT which is what I wanted. I truly believe that when your up your up, when your down your down, and when your in the middle your being attacked.

But this week has been up and down, lost a job, might already have another, my friends have reassured me they are my friends, I’ve started talking to my mom which has been hard, but glad that I am and praying for a change in that. Its just like nothing I have experienced in my life. The ultimate roller coaster in my life and I accept it and put it in God’s hands to deliver the perfect answer.