Old Glory

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

PTSD... Taking too many too soon

I have been sadly aware of PTSD http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/post-traumatic-stress-disorder since this horrible war began, but nothing like when Chad was killed.  I have watched some of his closets friends struggle with this (mostly in private) disease.  I heard from a Veteran and friend today that he met several Gold Star Moms http://www.goldstarmoms.com/ that lost their sons (Marines) to suicide as a result of PTSD.  That saddens me beyond words.

This friend of mine (to remain nameless as I didn't get his permission to use his name) is working to get a non-profit together to help these young men and women suffering with this disease.  I know it takes time and a lot of red tape to get one started, but it's a start.  It is truly a silent killer, I believe.

He did tell me of a couple of organizations that are out there currently to help such as RWB http://www.teamrwb.org/ and The Mission Continues http://missioncontinues.org/, but these guys can't do it alone.  There are too many of our men and women suffering out there and we as a Nation need to be concerned and care enough to get involved. 

Last night I saw a very cool story about a band "Band of Brothers" http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57611639/band-of-brothers/ where a rock and roll legend, Roger Walters of Pink Floyd, saw a need and understood or believed that music can be a healer and pulled together a group of wounded warriors to great this band.  These guys are amputees, double amputees, triple amputees, and so on.  They either play an instrument or sing or both.  I encourage you to check them out.  It is an amazing story and will give you chills and maybe even cause a little "awesomeness" to leak out of your eyes when you hear their story and see what the healing power of music is doing for these guys.  Thank you, Roger Walters, for having a vision and making a difference. 

I wish I could take each and every military member suffering with PTSD http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/post-traumatic-stress-disorder and wrap my arms around them and tell them we are truly here for them.  That is the very least we can do for these fine men and women who sacrifice and endure so much for us.  Make it more personal if you have to.  They have sacrificed, endured, and seen more horrific things than a person (especially with most of these being 18 to early to mid 20's) should have to experience in a lifetime for ME.  They did this for ME and YOU!  We should all be asking ourselves, what can I do for THEM!

I challenge you to get outside your comfort zone and be willing to offer a helping hand.  It doesn't have to cost you anything, but a little time a hug or a smile or a conversation.  I believe we are all capable of doing that.

Something I think about at times like this is when I hear or see people get so emotional when those commercials about sick or abused animals come on TV and yet they might hear a commercial or hear someone speak of PTSD and it's as though no words were spoken.  That bothers me.  I'm not saying everyone does this, but I have seen my fair share of those that do and that is difficult for me.

I pledge to be one of the ones that will step out of my comfort zone and offer a hand no matter what that might be if I am at all in a position to do so.  It might just be a kind word or paying for a meal or better yet, just listening.

If you are a member of the military or have a loved one who is/was and are suffering from PTSD and you are reading this, you can reach out to me and I will listen and do anything I can to help you or steer you in the right direction.  If you are a mom who has lost a child in this war regardless how, I am willing to listen and be a support for you. 

These young men and women have burned a place in my heart that will never go away and as long as there are those suffering with this terrible disease or someone who has lost a child or loved one in this horrific war, I will always be here to listen and offer what I can.

Lord, please be with each and every member of our Military at home or abroad and give them the physical and mental strength to face each day.  Lord, also be with their families and close friends that walk these steps with them and give them the peace and understanding they need to encourage and support them in this honorable job they have chosen to do on our behalf.  Amen.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans' Day 2013

To all our Veterans who have served or still serving we would like to say THANK YOU!  I wish, we as a Nation, would do a better job collectively of thank you every day rather than certain times of the year, but it's my hope that you are shown appreciation more today than in days past. 

I'm so proud of our company Tyson Foods, Inc. and Walmart for making such a great effort to hire our Veterans.  It makes me proud that not only myself, but my husband, and two of our daughters work for Tyson Foods, Inc. and we have the honor each day to see just what we do for our Veterans and how we honor them, but more than that, giving them a job and help with the transition into civilian life again.

The sad stories that we have experienced with so many Veterans not being able to find work is heartbreaking.  It does my heart good to see how these two companies are going above and beyond to hire these heroes.  I am certain there are many more companies joining this effort, but these two I know personally are doing so and with Tyson Foods, Inc. and their Camo to Khaki program sets a new higher level of pride within me just knowing I am a part of a company doing great things.

With all that said, thank you to all our Veterans who have ever worn the uniform and signed on that dotted line to serve and sacrifice even if it's with their own lives for our freedoms.  I hope you always feel the appreciation from a very grateful Nation! 

Picture courtesy of http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/poster/vetsday07.jpg

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

When you take advantage of a teaching opportunity... Priceless

One of our neighbors from our old neighborhood reached out to me asking if I knew any specific Troops that her son's 6th grade class could send care packages to.  I started doing some checking and got some names and addresses for her.

She took her son shopping last night and she found the perfect way to take this kind act and turn it into a learning experience for her son.

Most of us adults don't really comprehend how much our Troops need the simple things we take for granted while deployed.  Things like washing machines and dryers aren't there for their convenience and depending on where they are located they may not even have showers and if they do have showers, most don't have hot water.  If most of us adults aren't aware, how would we expect our children to know unless someone teaches them.

I love how our friend was able to take this simple act of kindness and turn it into a very teachable moment and not only did it teach her son how little our troops have when they deploy, but I believe it taught him compassion, understanding, and gratitude.  One small example of how she showed him what he was doing was so important is when she had the chance to explain how important a container of powder is to them.  He couldn't figure it out so she explained that they put it in their boots and on places that get rubbed raw.  It made it more real for him.  She then explained to him that they will appreciate getting things they desperately need or would just like to have to remind them of home from someone other than their families would mean so much to them and she is correct.  Chad even said once how touched he was when a group from a church sent him a care package and wrote notes to him and they didn't even know him.  It truly does touch their hearts that total strangers will take their time and money and do something for them when many times I fear they think we have forgotten about them.

They know their families aren't forgetting about them, but when someone outside their family, especially children, are thinking about them and thanking them for what they are doing I believe it gives them a little boost of moral that they need when they are so disconnected from the real world.

His mom said it gave the two of them a change to talk about what they miss out on and why they need the things on the list they were given.  While just seeing the list and purchasing them on her way home may have seemed easier for her to do, she decided to take him along and use this as a teaching opportunity for him.  So for "Jacob" and his mom, thank you and hopefully this will inspire more parents to get their kids out there and get them involved with sending care packages to our Troops.

With the holidays coming up these young men and women are away from home and families (some for the first time ever) so image how it will warm their hearts to receive care packages from people all over the U.S.  Knowing we are still supporting them and not forgetting that they are still over there fighting a very real war.  It couldn't have been better timing for all this to happen with November being Military Appreciation month and Veterans' Day coming up as well as the Marine Corps birthday.  I'm proud to have had them as neighbors and still have them as friends.

Picture courtesy of www.rrdailyherald.com 

Picture courtesy of www.operationcarepackages.org

Picture courtesy of theshoppingmama.com

Picture courtesy of www.takepart.com

Picture courtesy of brooklyncupcake.wordpress.com 

If you ever doubted if your efforts were appreciated, this last picture says enough...  Thank you to all who give and send care packages and a very special thank you to our Troops home and abroad for your service and sacrifice and for all past, present, and future.  WE ARE A GRATEFUL NATION!