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

 

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.

Veterans Affairs Should Be Ashamed. Lowe’s Helps Vietnam Amputee.

The Veterans Affairs could learn a lot from 3 Lowe’s employees.

 

Lowes veterans homeless Veterans Administration VA

A veteran named Michael Sulsona was helped recently by 3 Lowe’s employees who choose to do the right thing. Sulsona had lost both his legs during Vietnam while serving in the military. While in the store his wheelchair that he relies on for his main source of mobility broke down. I don’t think there could have been a better place for this to happen.

Without question these 3 Lowe’s employees seen in the picture gathered up the tools and materials necessary to fix his wheels. Afterwards to show his appreciation Sulsona wrote a letter to Lowe’s corporate, saying “The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some that still believe in stepping to the plate.”

Why did it take so long for the VA to give this Vietnam veteran a new wheelchair?

Veterans Affairs.

Prior to this visit to Lowe’s, Sulsona had been waiting for a new wheelchair for OVER TWO YEARS. I suppose the paperwork needed to obtain a new one should have stated the wait time. I can imagine he isn’t too happy with them. Only after this story came into light did the Veterans Affairs do anything about it. Formally apologizing and making sure he was set up with a custom wheelchair for veterans. Damage control at it’s finest.

Thankfully there are people out there like these Lowe’s employees that believe in doing what is right.

 

Called out by my roommate’s dad!

Just when I thought I wasn’t going to be called out for the ice water challenge!
Also say hello to my roommate, Just created a twitter follow her! @Vam1390

Why even have an Iraqi army?

Why even have an Iraqi army?

The feeling of victory was short lived.

A statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls as it is pulled down in central Baghdad April 9, 2..

Many U.S. veterans have spent time overseas in Iraq. Working their asses off to rebuild an entire country so perhaps others wouldn’t need to go there. So much money and man power was spent building up the Iraqi army and police departments in hopes that they would be come self sufficient. Eleven years after the war in Iraq began the Sunni and Shiites would rather continue to fight with violence instead of rebuilding their country.

Billions of dollars was spent in order to protect them. Instead all of the humvees and other military equipment we left there is being used to take back control. Town by town I’m watching Iraqi soldiers abandon their posts. Ignoring the reality that a destroyed country left in ruins will be worthless if victory is won on either side.

My friends and I spent a year there working with contractors, the army and the police. We watched streets filled with trash and blown up vehicles turned into clean roads and beautifully painted buildings. I had predictions about Iraq while living there. I knew that it would end up back in this situation. The Iraqi people don’t have a strong central government that each group can agree on so the feeling of allegiance is nonexistent. They were more concerned about getting money from the United States during the week they wanted it. Not thinking about the future of their country.

At this point I would highly disagree with any action taken by our government to dump more money into Iraq or to send troops over to help. Especially when we have veterans either in need of medical treatment or living on the streets of America. Would not be wise to enter back into another armed conflict when we can’t even take care of the ones that were once there. What kind of message does that send to younger Americans? Why would they want to join the military when they can see the reality of their efforts when they return?

With the downsizing of the military and the constant bullshit that the Veterans Administration has been piling on we are stretched too thin. We spend too much time building up the military forces in other regions of the world while making ours weaker. I spent eight years in the Marines and it’s apparent that I escaped the nonsense just in time. For those who have been to war I would not be shocked if they persuade their children not to sign up.

Please I would like your thoughts on this situation.