Old Glory

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WFOT Fundraiser - Whitey & his Crew's Chicken Cook

April 26, 2014 Rogers, AR Chicken Cook

Don't miss it!  First, don't miss a chance to support our troops and second, enjoy some delicious grilled chicken!

April 26th at the Whitey Chicken Pit on HWY 12 next to Harps and Garners, by the RR tracks in Rogers, AR.  Chicken comes off the grill around 10:30 to 11:30 am.  Come early as the chicken goes fast.  We will also have t-shirts and stickers for sales as supplies last. 

If you can't attend please spread the word.  We would like this year to be even bigger than last year. 

Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" was founded after our son was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.  We were fortunate enough to get him home before he deployed for 11 days and it was the best 11 days of our lives.  We didn't know this would be the last time we would see our son alive so enjoying every minute like we did means more now than it did then.  We want to make sure all families and their military member has the same opportunity as we did.

Most do not realize that when these young men and women go home before and/or after deployments that the cost of this travel is out of their own pockets.  They make a very modest salary so as you can imagine, coming up with the money to purchase airline tickets can really hurt them financially or it causes them to be unable to visit home before or after.  We don't want finances to be the reason they do not go home to spend precious time with their families so that is why we exist.  We have also added family emergencies to our mission statement.  We have discovered that many of our enlisted service members are stationed a good distance from home.  In the event of a family emergency it is obviously sudden allowing them very little time to come up with the funds to pay for travel home.  That is where we come in.  We are honored to have so much support both financial and emotionally to allow us the opportunity to help any of these young men and women get home to their families. 

One thing I want to stress (mainly for our military service members), this is not a handout.  We are a non-profit foundation that would like to show our sincere appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our Arms Forces.  We are a grateful Nation and we want to do this for them to show them (in a small way) how grateful we really are.

If you know any enlisted service member that needs our help like this, please tell them about us.  Spread the word as much as you can and if you are in the area of Rogers, AR on April 26th we would love to have you stop by, purchase some chicken, t-shirts, or stickers and just see how CPL Chad Wade's buddies come together as well as the community to not only honor him, but to support and show thanks to our military! 

2/1 Marines Echo Company Afghanistan 2010

Sunday, March 16, 2014

AR Run for the Fallen 2014

What an honor to have been able to participate and see how these young men and women honor the Fallen Heroes of Arkansas.  Sadly they had to add extra miles this year so the run actually lasted from Friday morning until the afternoon on Sunday.  They would run typically from 6:30 am (around there) and run until around dinner time.  They would get up the next morning and do it all again.  They would have new runners every 6 miles to take over and give the first set of runners a break to rest up and re-hydrate.  They would run carrying flags for the military branches and the USA along with the Fallen Hero they are honoring at the next stop.

They would run and each mile marker they came to they would stop, read a short bio of the Fallen Hero, place the flag with the picture of the Fallen Hero and the bio on one side and a picture that a child from a local AR elementary or middle school drew on the back side in the ground where it will remain all year.  Once the flag is placed, the runners who are standing at attention the entire time of this stop, they would salute the Fallen Hero.  Each runner gave me a hug and shook Tebo's hand before continuing their run.

Something we learned while there on Friday is that these flags and pictures/bio cards are maintained all year where they remain.  If they happen to be in front of someones home, those home owners take care of and maintain these memorials throughout the year.  There are some spots that have multiple memorials at the same location and they are all maintained throughout the year.  That made me feel humbled and proud at the same time.  Americans are truly good people and they care about our military.  We saw evidence of this Friday and many other times as well.  It definitely makes you proud to call this country home.

This run started in Altus, AR and ended up at the AR State Capitol in Little Rock, AR. to complete a 140 mile run to honor all the Fallen Heroes of Arkansas.  It truly was a sight to behold and to say we were honored by this show of respect and remembrance is an understatement. 

The mission of the Arkansas Run for the Fallen is to raise awareness for the native Arkansans who fought and died supporting the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).  Their purpose is also to provide support, hope, and healing to families grieving the death of a loved one in military service regardless of relationship or circumstance of death.  They support organizations that enable the healing process for Arkansas residents whose lives have been affected by the GWOT.  I encourage you to check out their website at www.arkansasrunforthefallen.org to see all the work these folks do.  They will have photos from previous runs as well as the run they are doing this weekend.

Next year Tebo and I would like to be more involved and hopefully sponsor these runners and this effort as well as attend the ceremony in Little Rock. 

I have pictures we took on Friday at mile 10 at the Johnson County line where Chad's spot was in the link below through Snap Fish.  You can also go to YouTube and search under AR Run for the Fallen and you can see video of the stops along the way of some of these heroes they were honoring and I would imagine a video of the closing ceremony in Little Rock as well.  The video of them honoring one of the Fallen will give you a glimpse into what these runners do for each and every Fallen Hero in the state of AR.  It would be my hope that all states will begin to have runs like this to bring awareness and show honor to these Fallen Heroes and the support to their loved ones.  It is truly something you will never forget.

To view our pictures from Friday, March 14, 2014 just click on this link at http://www2.snapfish.com/snapfish/fe/l=en_US/p/Organizer/AlbumID=11764550007/s_c=0/s_mvm=MVM/s_se=FDR/s_pt=GFT,POS,PSP,REP,PMB,JWL,GEN,PL2,HMB,MMB,HRS,PO2,CAL,CR2,DMB,PRE,CBG,PC4,SLM/s_st=RegReqEu#state=%7B%22pl%22%3A%7B%22uc%22%3A2%2C%22aid%22%3A11765713007%2C%22vp%22%3A%22g%22%2C%22sb%22%3A5%7D%2C%22ovm%22%3A%7B%22v%22%3A%22s%22%7D%7D.

Thank you to all that make this run happen each year.

Who better to talk to you about PTSD than Veterans themselves

You might believe you have a handle on your PTSD, but do you really?  If you have been prescribed medication, are you taking like you are directed?  How are your relationships?  Not just with co-workers and friends, but more importantly, how are your relationships with your partner and family?  These are all very important questions that I don't ask lightly.  It is so important for you to take PTSD seriously and for your sake, the sake of your spouse, family, and especially your children or future children, you need to make sure you are doing all you can to get better and stay healthy.

In some of my research I came across this video as well as other links within the page that I feel is certainly worth watching and checking out.  Check out http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/ptsd?utm_source=adcenter&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=post%20traumatic%20stress%20disorder%20military&utm_content=ptsdveterans&utm_campaign=ptsd.  If you have been diagnosed with PTSD or know someone who has, you should watch this and listen to what these Veterans have to say.

Reaching out for help and seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness.  In fact, to me, it is a true sign of courage.  The only way you can get better and live a full and healthy life is to get better.  I know many of you believe you can do this on your own.  You may even tell yourself or others, "hey man, I've got this".  Do you?  Are you reaching your goals and living your life to your fullest potential?  Are you happy and do you have healthy, happy relationships with others?  If you are married, how is it?  If you are married and struggling with PTSD, it will impact your marriage.  Is your marriage to the person that you love, your soul mate, worth losing due to either pride or denial?  I hope and pray not.

PTSD is real, but it doesn't have to be the center of your life forever.  You can get help and manage it and one day you will realized that you have kicked PTSD's rear!  How great would that feel?  You can look in the mirror and tell yourself, this war and these terrorist did not win against me.  How amazing would that be?

Here is another link that is so worth checking out. http://www.ptsdresolution.org.  There are resources out there that are available, all you have to do is take that first step.

We have lost too many way too soon because of this disease.  I for one do not want to lose anymore or see relationships destroyed or homelessness and all the other sad and unfortunate situations that can come from not facing this disease head on and kicking it's butt.

The first step can be difficult, so how about reaching out to one of your brothers/sisters in arms and talk to them honestly about what you are going through.  If you are a Veteran that has someone reach out to you and share their struggles, take them seriously.  You may not have the answers, but you can always support them and encourage them to get the professional help they need.

If you are a Veteran that has struggled with PTSD and you are fighting/beating it, reach out to some of your brothers/sisters in arms and make sure they know you understand and you are there to listen and share your experience like the ones in the above attached video.

Please take a few minutes to not only watch the video, but check out the useful links connected to it and make that connection with other Veterans and most importantly, take that first step.

We are a grateful Nation and we want to see you not only excel in life, but thrive and get everything you certainly deserve and more.  You deserve it and there are many of us out here that want to see you achieve it!

You CAN do this, but you canNOT do this alone.  I know there are those out there that believe they can, but I am telling you that after all I've read and watched over the last 3+ years, you cannot do this alone.   Below are some images that I found when Googling PTSD images and families.  I believe these pictures paint a picture and for me, they are pictures of hope.  The more people are aware of PTSD and what it is and the impact it is having on our Veterans and the ones that love them, the better the chances are that more and more will get the help they need and live the life they deserve.  

Please do not be the next one we have to say good-bye to.  We are all tired of the good-byes, we would rather be saying, see you next time.  God bless each and every one of you and thank you from my family to you and yours.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wanting to help

We are ready and wanting to help more of our military service men/women get home before and/or after deployment or if they have a family emergency and can't get home.  We are here to help.  In case you aren't aware, if our military are enlisted and active and they try to get home even before and after deployment it is up to them to get home on their own dime.  They make a very modest salary and from that salary they have rent coming out if they aren't living in the barracks and uniform charges.  There is a misconception that these guys get a salary and everything around them is paid for by the military.  At least for the Marine Corps, that is not the case.  I know I can't speak for all branches, but the USMC does not pay for all these things for our Marines.
We all know how expensive airline tickets are and while they may get a military discount, I can tell you, it isn't enough.
That's where we come in.  We have an active board of members that have a heart to help these young men and women.  We have raised money and continue to raise money in order to fund these airline tickets.  We are completely non-profit and this is our small way of saying thank you and for paying it forward.  This is the very least we can do for all they sacrifice for us.
Let me be very clear about one thing.  This is NOT a hand out or charity in a negative way.  This is simply a service we are providing for our military so they can have precious time with their families before and/or after deployment.
I can't even imagine not having had 11 days with Chad here before he left for Afghanistan.  I will cherish those days always.  I would never want one of our own to deploy without that chance to go home and see their families and heaven forbid they not come home.  Those that do come home and heaven forbid they lose a brother or sister in arms, they need their families more than ever.
Please join us in spreading the word and letting those that might need our help know that we are here.
Most the ones we come in contact with look at this as a hand out and that is not what this is.  It is a helping hand and a huge thank you for their service and sacrifice.  Help us help them!
For all that are serving or have served or will serve in the future, THANK YOU & God Bless!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PTSD... This is frustrating

I am not naive enough to not know that even people that have not been to combat can suffer from PTSD.  There are lots of situations where this can be the case, however, in my opinion. George Zimmerman does NOT fit this description.

To me, this is exactly why it is hard for many people to take PTSD seriously enough to make sure our troops and those truly suffering with it, because I believe it is too easily thrown around as a diagnosis. 

When I saw this article about George Zimmerman, I truly felt ill.  I pray for the guys that served with Chad that they get through life as happy, healthy, and alive as they possibly can after all they have been through and the ones that PTSD ends up taking from us far too soon and the families of those left behind and then I see something like this it breaks my heart.

I don't want to make anyone believe or feel like I do by any means, but I do hope to at least spark a little thought behind what PTSD really is and how devastating it is for the person dealing with it and the families and friends that love them. 


Still learning about myself

I have had quite the last couple of weeks.  I believe most of us think we know ourselves (at least I did), but I got a pretty good look at myself from my sister's perspective this past week and confirmation from another one.
Let me explain.  I'm the first born out of 7 kids (blended family) and I typically find myself being the surrogate mother and take care of things when they pop up.  There have been times when one might be in trouble for something and I could be two states away and they would call me to help fix the mess or tell them what they should do.  I actually love this role of my life and I really have never known anything different.
Well, last week I was talking to my youngest sister and she asked me what was wrong, I said, I don't really know.  I just feel like I've been in a funk and I can't put my finger on it.  She said, "you don't have me to take care of anymore".  I'm like, what?  She said, "I don't have cancer anymore".  You finally find yourself without someone or a project to focus on she basically said and you don't know what to do with yourself.  At the time I said maybe you are right.  After we hung up the phone I started thinking about what she said and I thought, she might actually have a point.  Then I thought to myself, do I always do this?  Do I find "projects" whether it be people or foundation or reorganizing my house a thousand times over just to avoid facing my own feelings or grief? 
So, I asked my other sister if this really is what I do and I made her be honest.  I'm pretty sure she didn't hesitate to say, um, yes! 
Well, there you go.  Even now, after I thought I knew myself pretty well by now, I discover something I guess I never realized.
I knew when Chad would deploy I would try to find a project to keep me busy and my mind off the danger he was in (if that was even possible), but I always figured that was more for Tebo and my family than for me.  Then when Chad passed away apparently I've been keeping busy with various other "projects" that I truly did not realize what I was doing.  I'm not really sure if I have even gone through a large portion of grief yet as I haven't had some of the stages "they" say you go through yet.  I'm not so sure I want to, honestly.
So after having two sisters states apart from each other confirm this to me, I guess it is time for me to face the fact.  I would rather take care of someone else, or work on our foundation, or a project than for someone to take care of me or to face my true feelings.
I would like to say that I will change that about myself, but I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen any time soon.  I actually prefer to help someone else or take care of them than to think about how I might be feeling, because honestly, I don't know if I want to uncover that just yet.
Is that healthy?  Probably not, but right now, that's all I can promise.
So don't be surprised if you are going through something and I find out about it that you don't become my "project" for the moment.  Apparently no one is safe from me.  LOL!  I will say this, I'm glad I have family and friends that just accept me for who I am and just let me be me.  I am pretty sure I would drive myself crazy if the shoe were on the other foot.
Before my world blew up...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WFOT supports those struggling with PTSD and their loved ones

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PTSD is not only effecting our military

Our service men and women that are diagnosed and suffering with PTSD are not the only ones suffering.  Have you ever stopped to think what this does to their family and close friends?  Moms and dads have to watch their child suffer and feel there is nothing they can do.  Spouses watch and many times are pushed away and feel helpless and abandoned.  The children of these service men and women don't understand.  All they know is mommy or daddy is different now and they just can't figure out why and there is always that chance they may even blame themselves.

We as a Nation owe it to these service men and women and their families to do all we can do to help them.  It could be a simple card/letter, an encouraging word, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, anything.  It doesn't even have to cost you money or that much time.  It would be amazing to these folks that are suffering just to know there are people out there that do really care about what they are going through.

I can only imagine how alone each of these people must feel at times and I think that is what breaks my heart the most.  I would never want them to think they have no one to turn to.

It has been my experience so far that many of our service men and women suffering chose to suffer in silence for several reasons (I believe).  One, I believe they don't want to burden their families any more than they feel they may have already done.  Second, I'm not sure they know how to take that first step and just open up.  Third and probably most importantly, I believe they view this as a weakness and they have been trained not to show weakness and to be brave and strong at all times.  This makes me sad.

They have been trained physically and emotionally to be protectors.  How can they lean on someone else, especially family and friends, if they continue to feel it is their "duty" to protect them?  I believe many of them feel this way.  I could be wrong, but based on the ones I've talked to, I don't think I am.

Stop and think how these parents must feel.  I will speak specifically about the moms as those are the ones I've actually spoken to so far.  They not only feel helpless, but they feel a since of failure and abandonment.  You might ask yourself why since they didn't cause this.  Well, speaking as a mom, it is our job to protect and care for your child regardless his/her age.  I know for me, it wouldn't have matter how old Chad was or if he were married (which he was) or how many children he had (which were none), I would have still done anything and everything to take care of him and make sure he was healthy, happy, and just ok.  I believe all moms have that in them, always.

As for spouses, can you imagine?  First, the love of their life is different and sometimes very different than the man or woman they married.  They want to continue to love them and help them through this and feel helpless I'm sure.  Think about it, they know their spouse is different and sometimes someone with PTSD can be mean, certainly angry at times and depressed.  It may take them months or years to figure out this is the issue.  Can you imagine what a toll this would take on a marriage and sadly, I'm afraid, most don't make it through this.  It takes a mighty strong couple who are determined despite anything thrown their way, they will make this marriage work.  However, I can tell you, that is easier said than done when you feel there is no way out or no help for the situation.

There is hope and there is a way out.  There are so many organizations out there willing and waiting to help.  There are support groups not only for the service member, but for the families as well.  Please take advantage of these resources.  If these organizations are anything like our Wings for Our Troops, they are desperate to help.  We long for the next service member to send home and when we go months without one request it gets disheartening.  I am certain that is how these other organizations must feel.

I was recently told that there is a military veteran that is looking into a business to train dogs that can sense when someone is about to have an episode or show symptoms of PTSD and will prompt the service member to take his/her medication.  Now I also have to tell you that I have yet to find such an organization out there, but I will continue to look.  I did, however, find that there are PTSD dogs that have been trained to be companions and they are seeing that it helps the patient cope when he/she has one of these dogs.  I'm not much of a dog lover (ok, not at all), but if this is something that helps our service men/women suffering with PTSD, I'm all for it.  I have a few links below that you are welcome to check out and see if any of these are a fit for you.

By all means, if you are a service member and you have been diagnosed or feel you may be having symptoms of PTSD, talk to someone.  If you don't want to speak to your family or friends then find someone else.  I am an email or post away and there are so many out there with open arms ready to help lift you up.  That is certainly the first step in truly getting the help you need to live a long, healthy, and happy life.  You deserve it!






Please do not suffer in silence any longer and do not allow PTSD rob you of the life you deserve. 

Pain in a little boy's eyes that has to watch someone he loves suffer with PTSD (picture courtesy of easyreadsystem.com)

Picture courtesy of photo bucket

The look of a wife or mother that feels helpless in helping their child or spouse (picture courtesy of urbanchristiannews.com)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When a Heart Breaks

I had the honor (I guess you can call it that) to chat with a mom who lost her son to PTSD recently.  I know right where she is right now.  She is in a fog.  She is just going through the motions of life and probably not even sure how she got from point A to point B at times.  My heart breaks for her.
I've been doing some research and reading and studying anything I can get my hands on about PTSD so I can hopefully be of some help to these young men that are now my bonus sons.  One of the things that I've learned is that it is common amongst almost all of them is that these young men and women don't really know the words they need to use to express what they are going through.  They can't really tell you what is wrong and for the most part, they have been taught to be so tough that asking for help when things just don't feel quite right would be a sign of weakness to them.
I would like to take a moment here to speak to those young men and women that might (hopefully) be reading this.  It is never a sign of weakness for you to ask for help or merely tell someone close to you that you don't know what it is, but you just don't feel quite right or quite yourself.  This is the first step to healing and getting the help you need to live a full and successful life.  You can't do this on your own.  I would also like so say that your family sees a difference in you at times, but they don't know how to help or how much to step in.  Give them permission to love you enough to help you.  That's all they want to do.
I can't speak for other people, but as a mom, it is hard to watch your child struggle and not know what to do or knowing you can't do anything to help them.  It's a terrible place to be as a parent so help them out by letting them in.
As a parent, you can't always know what is going on with your child inside their minds and hearts.  They have seen and experienced things in their short lives that most of us will never experience or understand.  They probably don't even understand it themselves so how could we/you possibly understand.
All we can do is be there for them and let them know that it's ok and that there isn't anything you wouldn't do for them.  
The other thing I have noticed is these young men and women are more likely to reach out to each other before even family.  I believe they do this because they know they are the only ones that really get what they are going through as they lived it with them.  I would encourage you guys, if one of your brothers comes to you and shares their heart with you and you believe it is enough that they need to speak to someone professional, try to find a way to let someone know.  We don't want to see any other family lose a child because of this war either in action or as a result of this silent disease PTSD.  
I also believe in my heart that these young men and women worry more about being a burden on their loved ones and I think that too keeps them from sharing.  In addition, I have to believe they don't discuss their experience of war with most (if anyone) people, because they don't want to re-live that experience and maybe they are afraid if they talk about it, it will become too real again.  
I'm not an expert by any means and I'm certainly not a very intelligent person, but I love these boys my son served with and I have watched and listened to them and I have a true burden on my heart to help them and the parents of our fallen heroes that won't allow me to stop thinking about this.  I need to do something, but I don't know what.  I can promise you that I will do all I can to figure that out and to promise to do all I can to make sure there is a difference made even if it is just one person.
If you are a parent of a service member, you know how tight this band of brothers is and I for one love seeing that closeness.  Here is a picture that was taken in CA after a much needed cookout with Tebo, myself, and just some of our new bonus kids and while they aren't all in this picture, I believe this picture gives you a glimpse into how much they love each other and I believe it is a love that will carry on for the rest of their lives.  Enjoy these smiles.  I know I do every day.
The Mountain Dew Gang.  :)  5-25-11 in CA at Camp Pendleton
Most everyone wearing a Mountain Dew t-shirt in honor of Chad!

He sure loved this t-shirt...  :)