Ducks for PTSD

I know that there are a ton of studies out there that discuss the benefit of service animals.  There are guide dogs for individuals that have lost their sight, there are assistance dogs that open doors and pick up items off the ground, there are even animals that are trained to be an early warning system for epilepsy.  And then there are the therapy animals.  We, veterans, need a purpose.  We need a mission.  Without that we can wander, sometimes to some pretty dark places.  Mr. Darin Welker, an Army National Guardsman, found his therapy animal in a flock of 14 ducks.  There is a mission here although it may be hard to see.  Darin has a responsibility now to care for these animals, provide for them, and protects them.

           Read Mr. Welker's story HERE

I don’t know if this therapy can be quantified but if it keeps you out of those dark places and doesn’t interfere with others, I don’t see the problem, and hopefully the township of West Lafayette, OH will feel the same way.

This story takes me back to one of the more odd stories from my time in Iraq.  Our team was set up at the Ramadi Agriculture College, just east of Ramadi.  As you can imagine at an agriculture college there were several building dedicated to raising animals (though they had long since been abandoned).  One random day I was walking over to the Headquarters building and I heard a noise that was recognizable but so out of place that it surprised me.  I went in to the building to see for myself what I thought I had heard.  

In this enclosure there was the scrawniest chicken I had ever seen.  On the floor next to it was a dead chicken that looked no more than a day or two gone.  These enclosures were chain link and easily could hold much larger animals.  Seeing this little guy, I didn’t give him good odds on making it, but I kept hearing my grandfather’s voice in the back of my head.  “If an animal is sick or injured, do something about it.  Get them better, or get it over with”.  It would have been easy to snap that chicken’s neck and move on about my day, but this was Iraq.  Stuff was dying here so fast I thought, here’s ONE I know I can fix.  I disposed of the dead chicken and cleaned up one of the adjacent enclosures.  

I put down some fresh water and for the next 4 months I fed that chicken whatever I could find, to include some millet and seed that I found in a market just down from our base.  Now, the guys on the team will tell you that when we went out on week long missions we would came back and I would go check on the chicken. It acted happy to see me.  Every time. Silly city slickers!!


Greg

Greg

Lowes Helps Out a Veteran

Greg

Greg

Now this is an up lifiting story for me. Michael Sulsona, a Vietnam veteran, is going through Lowes Home Improvment store in Staten Island NY in his broken down VA wheel chair (I will hold my comments about why this veteran is having to repair and maintain this busted up wheel chair instead of being given a new one). The wheel chair breaks and 3 Lowes employees spring to action. The Lowes emplyees repair Mr Sulsona wheel chair and see to it that he has a reliable means of mobility.

This article speakes to me on 2 levels. First, My admiration goes out to Mr. Sulsona for continuing on with his life after his injuries. He has found ways around the challenges that are presented to him and I admire his never quit attitude. Second, I love that these guys at Lowes saw a problem and knew that they had every concivable tool and piece of hardware they would need to fix this busted wheel chair and set to work on it.

The people at Lowes, especially the fellows that put Mr. Sulsona wheel chair back together,  have recieved praise from the internet crowd and I would like to throw my thanks their way as well. Thank you for looking out for a fellow veteran.

Click to read the article - - - -> http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2014/07/good_news_lowes_employees_come.html

Paralyzed Veteran's Golf

These days we often see a fundraising event or a celebrity speaking up for veterans and their causes. The thing to remember about these events is the fact that they make a difference in the lives of veterans right here on our soil. Organizations like Operation PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment) directly impact veterans by bridging the enormous gap in earned services left by the government, the VA and the military. Participating in these events is a much more meaningful gesture than the hollow and reflexive "thank you for your service" comment veterans hear everyday. Step up and do more than merely thanking someone. It's easy, and at events like the Paralyzed Veteran's Golf Open, you can even have fun doing it.

Paralyzed Veteran's Golf

No Better Place To Be

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Working with a team of veterans is more fun, more humbling, and more inspiring than nearly every other job I've had. Everything they've gone through has direct bearing on every jet ski ride we do and every new goal we choose to pursue. Everyone covers the back of everyone else and there is a true sense that either we ALL make it to the finish together . . . or no one does. No one gets left behind. No one crosses first. It's a team.
We WILL continue on our crazy journey. We WILL break World Records in the process. And we WILL inspire other veterans to reclaim their lives.


Veteran Appreciation: John

When I started at my new job as the Dean of Students at my school, for Veteran's Day the third through fifth grade students all drew patriotic pictures or wrote letters to me thanking me for my service. 

They all individually came in my office to present their work to me.  I was really taken back and displayed the pictures and letters outside my office until winter break!

It was very cool.

Loyalty

P.K. Ewing

P.K. Ewing

If you could take a successful team and study it. I mean, a REALLY successful team. Not just a bunch of people who worked on a goal and happened to achieve it. A serious high performance team. A special forces team. A Marine Corps infantry squad. An artillery gun crew on the gun line. Even a Superbowl team. If you could look at the ingredients list on the side of that "box" you'd see that the first ingredient is LOYALTY. Loyalty is the force that makes a random group of people into a team. Loyalty is the fuel that powers the engine of that team and makes it unstoppable. Loyalty is the synergy that transforms that team into something greater than the sum of its parts. Cultivate loyalty above all else. When you have that, your team has integrity and cohesiveness and everyone doesn't fight for the goal anymore. They fight for each other. That is when you really have something...

P.K.

Caring for a Wounded Veteran

Recent statistic: There are more than 1 million Americans caring for injured Veterans

PK Ewing

PK Ewing

There is no measure or scale that can compute the value or worth of the care that one healthy human being gives to one who is sick or injured. But when the ill or injured is a wounded warrior, the care becomes something priceless. It begins to represent the act of sacrifice that caused those wounds in the first place. It’s a harsh circle that describes this kindness. That wounded warrior is wounded because they served in harms way. The caregiver then puts themselves at risk and sacrifices to help the warrior. It is a quiet, humbling thing. It’s a beautiful and tragic thing but it is the best in people manifest in kindness.

Veteran Appreciation: Greg

As a veteran, I have received countless “Thank You”’s to which I am still unsure how to respond.  I guess the “nice things” people have done for me have mostly come from fellow veterans.  There have been several occasions where I have been checking in at a camp ground and the owner is a former service member and gives me either a free stay or a discount on my fees.  Additionally, when I returned from Iraq, I went and stayed with some friends of my family.  My friend’s father was a Vietnam Veteran and just listened to hours of my stories never once interrupting to tell his own tales.  I have since, listened to him tell his story on several occasions to me, but I wonder sometimes, if before I had my experiences if he had ever told his tale.

Greg


Memorial Day Ride to Colonial Beach

It's memorial day weekend and we were back in the water. We're glad for it because this is a day that we hold close to our hearts. We were out enjoying the day but, ever-present in our minds, is the reason why we're doing this and the memory of those who will never be able to do something like this ever again.
Take Point!

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Inspiring Veterans to Greatness

Inspiring Veterans to Greatness

While recovering from life threatening congestive heart failure and a severe injury to my C-spine incurred while deployed to Ramadi Iraq, I had no idea if I would ever live a normal life again. My heart was damaged and I was in constant pain from the compression of my spinal cord in my neck and upper back. I sometimes struggled to walk and spent days in my bed or on my couch. I was deeply depressed and dealing with a broken body and spirit. But being a Marine meant that I was never alone even if I thought I was.

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Ice is in . . Riding's Out

Ice is in  . . Riding's Out

Last weekend was supposed to have been a chance to practice for our upcoming Operation Sea Lion. (That is the ride from Arlington to Ocean City.) But the weather had other plans in store for us. Now a lot of people have been expressing surprise at the fact that we ride our jet skis in the winter. However, we prepare for this. As former Marines, we've been through cold weather training and have extensive experience operating in adverse weather and extreme conditions.

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Operation Sea Lion

Operation Sea Lion

Operation Sea Lion is our first long distance ride. We're aiming for about 300 miles. Our ultimate goal is to cross the Atlantic fast enough to break Álvaro De Marichalar's record set in 2002. In order to do that we have to gain the same level of  PWC experience that a professional PWC racer has and we have to gain that experience in a matter of weeks.

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Semper Fi Fund

Semper Fi Fund has officially endorsed TAKE POINT NOW! You can check in on us all over the web to track our team's progress. We're looking forward to working with many of you and we're proud to be able to raise funds for the Semper Fi fund.

Semper Fi Fund

Source: http://semperfifund.org

Take Point Now

Take Point Now

TAKE POINT NOW has truly gotten underway. Here's the team, John Pignone, Greg Raney, John Kilby, Erika Christie and Jim Kieffer. More people will join and all are welcome. So what is TAKE POINT NOW? It's an imperative, a call to action. It's a command. It is our effort to inspire our fellow veterans to take back their awesome, extraordinary lives by setting a new world record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a jet ski.

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