Ride for Veterans

Cycling and anything that keeps the wheels turning. Marine veteran remembering the time I served as well as looking to help others.

Actions speak louder than words.

Would a handful of coins change your life?

4569457286_949974130a_m_answer_6_xlargePeople do this all the time. Someone on the streets walks up and begs for your spare change. Instead of talking with them and seeing if there are ways to help, you pacify their request with less than most people pay for a coffee.

Imagine that time in your life when you hit rock bottom or came dangerously close. Having no one to turn to and no way out, being completely on your own.21166-The-Worst-Time-Of-Your-Life Would a handful of change or several handfuls over the week rescue you? Does it even come close to bringing back what you once had?

Last month was pretty hectic, work related fun, giving me little time to get out there and pedal the roads. I did however get the opportunity to dawn a pair of spandex and circle around downtown Orlando last week. Managed to ride in the path of a shelter of some sort handing out plates of food. There was a line of people, men women and children all waiting their turn. Immediate thoughts turned to the efforts going to feed the homeless veterans for Thanksgiving and how little of a gesture it’ll be, not realizing the problem was much larger. Good starting point.

 

We’re asking for people out there to do more. Spare an hour to volunteer to help in your community. Do more than discard of a handful of change and forget about the problem. Hell you may even end up meeting someone that could change your life! The Ride for Veterans is continuing to grow and each new person yields a helping hand. Whether that’s sharing this blog with others, offering to cook some of the food or great ideas on how to get more each extra person makes this effort stronger.

Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and we’re continuing to collect donations and help from people that choose to do so. The next project is going to be “Warmth For Christmas.” A project that’s still on the drawing board, but is carrying a lot of fire behind it. We want to get out there and provide as many of the homeless with a blanket, gloves, a hat and coat. 7845_2Shelter isn’t always and option for some of them. If possible we would like to also provide a Christmas meal to be shared with some of the shelters in the area. Research will be done to figure out which ones would be best suited for the project. To get a closer look at what life is like in one of these shelters click over to my friend Ronnie’s blog.

 

Change helps to provide a meal for someone or to buy much needed items, but it doesn’t live up to it’s name. A helping hand, a voice, a force strong enough to care is what’s needed.

 

If you’d like to join us and actually help people out of their situations let us know. It’ll only cost you time and love.

help-266x400

 

Temperatures are dropping, time to get off the couch!

Stop letting excuses pile on up leaving you stuck on your butt this season.

Image converted using ifftoany

 

I hear the same thing over and over again. People saying they’re gaining weight and can’t find time to exercise. These are the same repetitious statements made by the motivated folks you see in January making claims about how this will be the year they lose the pounds. We should have a national get off your ass day. I vote we make that November 1st. That way people have time to stuff their bellies with all the sugar from Halloween which should keep them wired enough to have an outstanding first day! People are overly concerned about the “Ebola” epidemic, yet are taking no actions to ward off any other illness. Not too sound like an insensitive prick or anything, but the News Stations could take a few breaks in between to report on the rest of the world’s news.

I for one am excited to see the numbers dropping on the thermometer. Cool days lead to longer relaxing rides out on the bike! I know there are some out there that have a bike either in the garage or shed collecting dust and feeling neglected. I understand that many of them are “two tired” (Sorry cyclist humor, but you’ll be amazed at how your energy levels will rise after a few short rides.

Speaking of taking the bike out, check out our Ride For Veterans Thanksgiving event below. Trying to do great things this year. Please help out by sharing with your friends and family!

 

 

Homeless Veterans’ Thanksgiving 2014. Pt. 3 (Reached our goal, now what.)

Reached the goal of $300 well before anticipated!

imageWe’re very impressed with the progress of this campaign, despite having a flat tire on the most recent ride. Motivated to have people out there whom I’ve never met contributing their time and money to help out. Either with ideas or sharing these posts on Facebook or Twitter.

As I said before for every $100 donated equals 50 miles on the bike. I have most of the food ideas covered with the help of my roommate and her family. (Check out her blog here.)  

For now we’re focusing on what items to include for the veterans. I have a basic list of items I’m planning on purchasing with the donations.If you think of anything else please include it in the comments below. Also if you know of places we could gather them up for a great deal include it.

Thanksgiving list: (Hopefully we’ll be able to expand.)

  • Toothbrush/ toothpaste
  • Razors
  • Sunscreen
  • Body wash
  • Literature on help out there for homeless veterans
  • Sanitary wipes
  • Small first aid kits

If this is the first you’re learning about the Ride For Veterans check out the first post regarding Thanksgiving. 

Homeless-veterans-thanksgiving-fall

By the end of October I will have completed the 150 miles that I owe everyone for their donations. Because there is still time before Thanksgiving we are hoping to make more of an impact. LET’S MAKE IT DOUBLE! To make things fair, after the 150 miles are completed any further donations will count as $1 for 1 mile. For those of you out there waiting until November to make your donations, keep in mind that all of these miles have to be completed prior to Thanksgiving. Confident that this won’t be an issue. 😀

Share on Facebook! Share on Twitter! Share with your friends and family! Happy to see so many others getting excited to help out.

Two Marines are Marching to Washington, Find Out Why.

Two Marines are WALKING nearly 300 miles to Washington to deliver a message!

I first heard about these two Marines during a radio show interview via The Community Journal, while discussing the Ride For Veterans. There mission is to demand the release of Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooresi from a Mexican prison. Two MarinesThe two Vietnam veterans Terry Sharpe 63 years old, and Allen Brown 64 years old began many years ago without realizing it. After meeting and talking with each other on the walk they discovered they were in fact in the same Company during the Vietnam War. This is the second time they’ve conducted this walk to Washington. Urging anyone they come in contact with to call their state representatives demanding the release of Tahmooresi.

I had the honor tonight to speak to these gentlemen. They described walking 18-20 miles a day! I know others that won’t even walk 1. Their feet and legs are swollen. Pushing through the pain of blisters being motivated by cars honking as they pass. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough with my ride. I need to get out there and ride several more miles to contribute as much as myself as these two.


If you would like to learn more about these two Marines you can do so by following these links.

Freedom fighters. Vietnam Veterans.

Updates from The Community Journal Facebook.

Or their updates on Flags across America Twitter.

Thank you to those who have shown them support thus far and to those that will be down the road.

How veterans are viewed by employers post military. (Stigma about PTSD)

There is a stigma about our men and women returning from the military that is creating some road blocks for employment.

 

When many of our veterans first talked with a recruiter they are built up to believe in the benefits of the military. Sign up and improve your life! Discipline, courage, self reliance, sense of belonging, self direction, pride, and a life time full of stories is what every one of them experience. The fact is while all that is true it’s not going to help you with employers if that’s not how they view you. For many a welcome home to the United States after war is more of a wake up call.

home coming

 

It’s not a secret that some veterans return with severe PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who do are dealing with it in the best way services and treatment will allow. Those who exited the military without PTSD are blanketed with the stigma that we all went through the same military history.

PTSD

Large companies and “Veteran Friendly” employers claim to want veterans to work for them. If they do end up hiring it’s usually in an entry level position well below their qualifications. Typically what you would expect an 18 year old to be able to get with a blank resume. How is that even possible when the experience and training the military receives is state of the art? A lot of veterans being only 19 to 21 years old hold more responsibility in their short time in than most middle aged people that choose a different path.

Instead of being seen as highly valuable or hard working Americans with great work ethic, we are seen as dangerous and violent. I feel as though this is partly due to the media reporting only when veterans screw up and the movie industry for portraying PTSD in an imperfect light. Stigma associated with PTSD: perceptions of treatment seeking combat veterans. If you’d like to view an example of how veterans are usually shown in movies check out the trailer below.

 

Currently as I’m writing this I’ve asked my fellow veterans in an OIF/OEF facebook group if they’d had difficulties getting jobs because of how we are viewed. Just to show you an small example of how veterans feel they are viewed I’ll post the comments below. If you would like to add to these comments add them at the bottom of this post please.

PTSD VETERANS

Snapshot of a discussion in a veterans group.

There are businesses out there are doing what they can to combat these issues. A new friend of mine Alex, as seen helping other veterans out, is a combat war veteran is more than willing to help out hiring veterans. All that he asks is that they work hard and put in the effort. If you’re an out of work veteran I suggest checking out the website.

PTSD is not a reason interviewers need to turn someone away. Being a veteran is not a reason to believe that we automatically have some deranged form of PTSD that will cause us to lash out at work or have a psychotic episode. I’m not able to speak on behalf of all of them struggling to find jobs, but I would consider the ones shaking our hands and saying, “we’ll be in touch”, when they know it’s a lie to be foolish. These men and women give up their lives to protect and serve in whatever country our government asks of us. The next time one walks into your office you should have one of those “adult conversations” with them about their service. We are not simply high school graduates that have no idea what’s going on in the world.

 

In other news.

If you’ve been following along with or efforts to help homeless veterans this Thanksgiving we’re pleased to tell you it’s going extremely well. Co-workers are spreading our message out to friends and family more and more. We’ve raised $250.00 so far, which means I need to get out on my bike tomorrow to pay it back with some miles. We’ll be sharing the story on two radio stations this week which is exciting! Appreciative of all who are participating and sharing on social media, keep it up! :)