Last year this time it was the ice bucket challenge to bring awareness to MLS and this year the challenge no longer involves ice but push-ups…..22 push-ups to be exact. I have been challenged to do the 22 push-ups a day by a friend of mine to bring awareness to the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day across this country due to PTSD.
In 2012 a Veteran’s report came out releasing the shocking statistic about our veterans and suicide. In 2013 a non-profit called Honor Courage Commitment began to spread the word about this epidemic amongst veterans. In July 2015, the non-profit split into an additional non-profit called # 22Kill. 22Kill’s mission is to create a global movement that will bridge the gap between veterans and civilians to build a community of support.
A bucket of ice last August helped spread international awareness and raise millions for ALS. Today, 22 push-ups a day to bring awareness to the suffering of millions of our veterans, is a small sacrifice and privilege to help those who have served us so bravely. Join us, in honoring those who have served us.
Each year this day comes and I wonder how can I convey and share my gratitude for those that have served our country. There is no real way to express how grateful I am for our freedoms. While searching for something, this video came to my attention.
While I am an occasional country music fan, I had never seen this song called Arlington. If you do one thing today, to stop and feel grateful, watch this.
As we light our barbecues and pack up from our long weekends. Let us be mindful of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all and their families. God Bless America and Happy Memorial Day everyone!
Today, we celebrate Veterans Day. We honor, remember and salute all of those who have shown us what real service is. I talk about service every week and don’t get me wrong, volunteering is important, but to serve, to give your life, your time and complete commitment to ensuring your country’s freedom…well that is service at an entirely different level.
So today, we salute you, our veterans….thank you for showing us all what real service is.
God bless America and all our servicemen and women.
“Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.”
Carrie Chapman Catt
I had lunch with a girlfriend last week and we were discussing our mutual addiction to that indescribable feeling you get when you give. I had just come from Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to our soldiers around the world. I had dropped off 1800 cards, on my way to lunch, written by student’s in my leadership organization, that would go in care packages for soldiers.
The feeling I had as I handed the boxes and boxes of heartfelt colored cards and notes was of pride, joy and as the quote says, “more happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.” As my friend and I discussed, it is that feeling that becomes something you simply want more of. The gift of service is a gift you give to yourself, even if that isn’t the intention…..it is always the result.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. No one understands this more than a military spouse. The other day when I saw this piece on CBS News This Morning, I knew I needed to share. It is a letter from Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle’s widow, to herself. To me this puts Memorial Day in perspective and I hope it does the same for you.
Today, think about all of those service men, service women and their families who give so much to each of us.
This past weekend I went to see American Sniper, an amazing movie. It made me think of many of the military non-profit post I have done over the years. More than anything the movie reminded me of the incredible sacrifices our military families make.
The movie is one that stays with you. When sitting down to write I couldn’t decide if I should write about the Navy Seal Honor Fund, which supports the children of fallen Navy Seals or if I should revisit one of my favorite, The American Widow Project…which I decided to do here. The story begins with that fateful knock and the nightmare that followed of the then 22-year-old Taryn Davis.
It was 2007 and she was told that her young husband, Michael had been killed in Iraq. Taryn’s life was shattered. She felt alone, devastated and didn’t know where to turn. She decided to travel the country and interview other military widows and the result was both her healing and a documentary she entitled “The American Widow Project.” A few short months later she founded a non-profit with the same name, The American Widows Project.
Taryn’s goal was simply to ensure that no military widow should feel alone in her grief. She believes that each military widow deserves the opportunity and tools to help rebuild her life. When a widow reaches out to The American Widow Project they immediately receive Taryn’s film, a phone call from another widow and thousands of online supporters as well as local support groups. In addition there are monthly activities such as sky diving, zip-linning or surfing, to help these women feel alive again.
While the movie American Sniper was about a hero, it is the people like Taryn Davis who take care of those left behind , who are also hereos.
To date Taryn has helped over 800 military widows and counting.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July, truly one of my favorite holidays. Since most of us are still in a patriotic mood I thought I would follow-up on a post I shared a few weeks back.
Last week we had Operation Gratitude come and speak at our leadership camp and tell the students just how important the two words, “thank you” really are. Our students wrote thank you letters to the troops, that brought tears to my eyes.
When I saw the video below, another example of saying thank you in a very big way, I simply had to share.
Just another reminder of the power of gratitude and saying thank you. A great way to start our week and remember that we all hold the power to make the world better…..simply by saying thank you.
A few weeks ago, a girlfriend invited me to a potluck dinner, which she called Friends with Causes. The idea was to get a group of girlfriends together for a fun casual night and learn about a non-profit in someone’s home. My friend and our hostess has been involved with a non-profit called The Word of Honor Fund, which supports the children of fallen Navy Seals.
This week being all about freedom and patriotism, I can think of no better time than to share the beautiful work that this group does to support those who gave their lives for our country. Many of those who pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, leave behind an unwritten, unfulfilled legacy in their children. This is where the Word of Honor Fund begins.
In recent years, two major wars have taken significant tolls on our nation and our soldiers’ families. The overwhelming loss of so many heroes has created a void in the lives of their surviving children. The brutal reality for these kids is that they will grow up without the guidance of a hero and mentor, a beloved dad and male father figure. The effect of such loss cannot be measured.
The Word of Honor Fund enables the Seal families to step in to help these kids during the intervening years that lead to adulthood. The Seal Teams provide Make a Wish like experiences as well as mentoring their fallen brothers children. It is their goal and responsibility to identify the means to honor promises made to them by their fathers, and see those promises through fruition to the best of their abilities. It is their Word of Honor.
As we begin preparing this week for our Fourth of July celebrations, remember those who have given us the ultimate sacrifice and their children who continue to live with the consequences.
“Man must search for what is right, and let
happiness come on its own.”
As we say goodbye to May and get ready to embrace June. I wanted to close this month with gratitude towards our military, our veterans and all the families that sacrifice so much for each and every one of us. Memorial Day is behind us and summer is just peeking out from around the corner. So before we leave this month, thank you to all who have given and served.
One of the greatest thing about Charity Matters is meeting incredible people who do incredible things. A few years back I met an amazing lady named Beth Dolan, who at the time was producing a radio show that I was a guest on. We have stayed in touch and she recently reached out to share with me an inspiring project she is taking on, making a movie about our returning military veterans and the consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Her movie is called Stranger at Home. I don’t usually promote fundraising events, benefits or even indigo go campaigns here because this is a place to tell the story of one person making a difference. However, Beth and her husband Luis are making a difference. They are using their skills, talents and voice to share the story of our Veterans who do not always have one.
They inspire me and I hope they inspire you. So take a look and as Beth and Luis said, “They fought for us and now it is our turn to fight for them.”
“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”
Today is Memorial Day, a day that was first celebrated in 1868 as Decoration Day. Decoration day was created to honor the 600,000 U.S. men and women who died in the Civil War. Millions more have served since, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. So today as you enjoy your family, friends and freedom remember those that have given us that gift. Our soldiers.
As we get ready for Memorial Day this weekend and as graduations loom for many, I thought that Admiral Bill McRaven’s recent Commencement address was particularly fitting. Admiral McRaven is a 36 year old Navy SEAL veteran and a Navy four star who has avoided the spotlight successfully. Once his infamous squadron, known as SEAL Team Six, killed Osama bin Laden the attention was unavoidable. Despite Admiral McRaven’s adventures, his wisdom is a treat and as he so wisely states, “It all begins with simply making your bed.”
If you give your self one gift this weekend make it this.
God bless our SEALS, this great country and for goodness sakes, just make your bed.
Don’t you love it when you get introduced to someone incredible? It always makes my day! Last week, my business call turned into much more….an hour and a half call with the most amazing woman and non-profit founder. Her story touched and inspired me and I hope it does the same for you.
Her name is Carolyn Blashek and on September 11th, 2001 she was a young mother of two watching what was happening in her hometown of NYC and sure that her parents were in the Trade Center. They were not, but the events of that day drove her straight to every recruiting office in her suburban neighborhood trying to join the military. Thankfully, she was deemed “too old.”
Her backup plan was the USO, which at the time was sleepy at best. One day alone in the office, a soldier walked in asking for a chaplain, there was no one there. He asked if she would listen, she did. He had come home to bury his mother, his infant child had died and his wife had left him. He told Carolyn that if he didn’t come home from this war, no one would care and she told him she did. That was the beginning of Operation Gratitude. It was March 2003.
The war was just beginning and so was Carolyn. Like most non-profits they started from her living room, writing letters and sending care packages to the troops. At the time there were no other military support organizations and her children were 10 and 12.
Carolyn’s daughter now grown, lives in New York City and her son is returning home this summer after four and half years in the Marines. A Princeton undergrad who will be heading off to Stanford and Yale to complete his MBA and law degrees. Carolyn said,” She had addressed thousands of care packages thinking she knew what mother’s and families went through until she addressed her own sons, when she truly understood.”
Today, Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Their mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military.
Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million Care Packages. The beauty, love and simplicity in simply saying thank you is pure inspiration.
Veterans Day was monday,we hung our flags, enjoyed our holiday and remembered those who served. For most Veterans service never ends and the call to serve is all they know. This week that call to serve is in the Philippines. That is exactly where the veterans who make up the nonprofit, Team Rubicon will be heading on their next mission.
The mission is exactly where Team Rubicon began. Two Marines who met in sniper school, Jacob Wood and Clay Hunt returned from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other Veterans who were no longer sure of their purpose. That all changed when an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. Jacob Wood, Clay Hunt and a host of other Veterans decided to deploy to heal others in need and in the process began to heal themselves. That was the beginning of Team Rubicon.
On the streets of Haiti these Veterans realized they were onto something, and that was that “natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds and smells. The same skills cultivated on those same battlefields – emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork and decisive leadership – are invaluable in disaster zones.” Who can rally better than our troops?
Since January 2010 Team Rubicon has rallied its team of veterans to Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama. On monday, this past Veterans Day, those who have served us boarded planes to the Philippines…..where they will continue to do what they do, serve.