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

 

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! :)

 

Homeless Veterans’ Thanksgiving 2014. (I’ll need your help.) Pt.2

It hasn’t even been 24 hours yet and the support I’m receiving for this project is motivating!

AustinClaps

 

I thought I was going to have a few days to get myself back into prime riding condition, but apparently there are a few generous people out there that would like to speed that process up! I don’t mind as long as help for these veterans is in the works.

 

 

As I stated in the first post, I’ll be riding 1 mile for every $2 donated. After riding 15 today I still owe all of you 35 miles to be caught up with the contributions, Hopefully I’ll be able to ride the needed miles prior to Thanksgiving. Anyone out there want to make that a challenging task? For proof purposes I have my miles tracked via Strava, shown below.

ISIS. You childish annoying little pricks.

I asked my fellow veterans for their opinions about ISIS in Iraq. Vast majority said to kill them.

CBS 5 – KPHO Second journalist claimed to be beheaded by ISIS.
ISIS ISIL Iraq Syria War

 

 

The general consensus about ISIS is one of hate and discontent. I believe it’s more than a normal amount of hate for the “enemy,”  Even before I took my vacation over to Iraq in ’07-’08 I knew it was a lost cause. Not for a lack of caring about helping these people or going after the ones who declared themselves to be our enemies. Honestly I would estimate that only 2% of that damn country actually cares about it’s future. Of that 2% maybe a couple dozen have the balls to defend their homeland. As evident in the actions of the Iraqi military. Doesn’t matter the size or proficiency of the invading force, the military would rather just hand over their weapons and equipment to the enemy. Despite the years of training and funding the United States has WASTED trying to help.

 

run away

Typical Iraqi service member.

 

ISIS is scared and those meant to stop them are chicken shit.

I came across this video of  U.S. Soldier ripping the Iraqis a new ass. I agree with him completely. They have made it the obligation of other countries military to come in and clean up there mess, time and time again. Most of the American public, not all, but most are apathetic to the situations in the middle east. Myself and other veterans have tried to let the past be the past when it comes to Iraq. Watching the same area we spent a year(s) in being given to some punk group of extremists is disheartening. I use the work “punk” because I feel that is all ISIS deserves. They’re not a military. They’re not even a well organized militia with the same goals in mind. They claim to want to take over Iraq and surrounding areas in the name of Allah. Contradicting the religion they claim to be promoting. I have no way of knowing for sure, but my opinion of those pulling the strings of ISIS aren’t doing so to create a peaceful nation state. Continuously they point out how wrong the western culture is with all of our infidels, despite the fact that many in the middle east disagree with their ideological extremes.

 

Trust me ISIS the people of the U.S. Military don’t want to be in your homeland. Hell because of your inhuman tactics the majority of those you’re trying to rule don’t even want to be there. ISIS brags about beheading innocent civilians and taking over areas using the weapons of fear and anarchy. Yet they have the balls to make videos of their atrocities in order to point the propaganda gun at western civilization as if we were the cause of the violence. There isn’t a spec of pride left in Iraq for the residents to defend.

 

To many ISIS is just a joke found on the internet.

Archer ISIS Bitchslap

I’m not sure if there are others who would agree with me, but the problem isn’t with ISIS, the Taliban or any other group claiming rights to middle east nations. It’s those are supposed to be defending them! The U.S. dumps BILLIONS  of dollars each year into trying to “fix” countries like Iraq. To what end? I would suggest building up and training the military, but as I’ve said that doesn’t mean shit unless they have the courage to actually fight back. I suggest a mass operation to give all of them a set of balls. Possibly an Addadicktome procedure? ISIS isn’t the first group of assholes that take over using fear and they won’t be the last. I hate to say it this way because many veterans have sacrificed so much of themselves up to this point, but is Iraq doomed to be a lost cause?

Final thought about Iraq.

ISIS Marines ISIL Islam

I would suggest either the defenders of Iraq actually grow up and stop handing over their land and resources to anyone willing to point a gun in their direction, or the invading assholes to come out from hiding. ISIS would rather use the media as a weapon and convince the citizens of Iraq that they’re stronger than a super power. You want a fair fight? Here’s a tip, grow a pair and send an email to Obama letting our military know when and where you’ll be and we can compare dick sizes on the battle field. Then again that could be asking too much of our “commander in chief.”

Getting some tail, and using my fingers.

Catching the tail wind on a brief ride tonight.

There’s nothing better than riding in the same direction as the wind. Doesn’t happen too often here in Orlando either due to luck, or the great stints of weather I end up riding in. When it does though I fully appreciate the added boost. The soundtrack to tonight’s ride brought to you by DJ Swan. Good buddy of mine and always has a great mix to pedal to. You can check out some of his tracks here.

It wasn’t a very long ride tonight, I wanted to do it more for speed and intensity to check on something my body has been doing. Too many migraines this week to ignore. I’m thinking there is a connection with my blood pressure. That or I have just been around too many other people that have been pissing me off. Both are plausible.

What the hell is the matter with people?

The-Big-Lebowski-WTF-GifThe end of July has always been a fuzzy time for me in the past. This year it’s just been filled with an abundance of inner issues. Combine that with the mini interactions I have with people, you know the ones that make one want to run head first into a brick wall.

A quick example of one of those mini interactions occurred tonight. I like to call these type of people too stupid to let their brain catch up to their own dumb. I’ll try to put that in plain English or something that makes sense. Ever watch someone do something you know is going to be wrong and at the same time you can see it on their face that they know it as well? Well in these instances these people are being stupid at such great speeds that it’s damn near impossible for them to stop the current actions.

This type of driver deserves a brick through the window.

 

Not too sure why drivers pull this maneuver, but they do constantly. Speeding past a cyclist only to slam on their brakes and cut in front of them to make a right turn. I’m thankful that I have quick enough reflexes to stop myself from slamming into the side of vehicles that do this. Wouldn’t it be much easier to wait 0.5 seconds for the cyclist to pass the road you wish to turn down?

The special person that cut me off tonight received a double dose of my erect fingers. Letting them know just how appreciative I was of their driving skills.

middle-finger-rage-face

Now how many of you perverts read the title of this post and assumed I was talking about a girl? For shame!