Old Glory

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!