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.

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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.”

Sights, smells and other facets of life that remind you of the military

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If you have been through any type of basic training or boot camp then I’m sure you’ll understand this completely. Coming upon a smell of some kind that brings up memories of the time you served. Recently for me it was wet grass and a musty smell that brought my mind back to boot camp. Oh Parris Island you soul destroyer.

I asked the question about bringing up old memories on my Facebook page and twitter and was delighted to see that many others also shared the same experiences. One of the responses had to do with hand sanitizer! It reminded one of my followers of going to the chow hall and waiting in line for food. Another being freshly cut grass and how it reminded them of PT (physical training) in the early mornings.1004768_10152427043880656_358421496_n

Certain gestures people do remind me of my time overseas. A certain handshake or way people hug each other trigger these memories and I do miss those times. Words used everyday around us having different meanings when heard by a veteran. Such as boot, formation, blue falcon, police call, mandatory fun day, watch or the most favorite FIELD DAY! For those of you who don’t know what a field day is ask your veteran friends. 😉

I’ve built up enough memories during my time in the Marines for an endless supply of story time around the camp fire. I enjoy sharing the stories of the non sense we found ourselves in. If the words, “So there I was…” leave my mouth prepare to be entertained, confused or shocked haha.

One such memory.

Whenever I see a volcanic rock or anything to do with climbing a mountain I reminded of  headache I had for three days. So there I was…

319420_422157141161089_1120309015_nBehind me in this picture is Mt Fuji. While in Japan we were given the oppurtunity to climb it one weekend in between our training schedule. A shuttle brought us up to the base of the mountain to begin our ascent! I was twenty years old, full of stupidity and endurance. I thought to myself, “I bet I could run up this mountain and beat everyone to the top!” So begins my journey.

After about two hours of jogging with my friend Jeff reality started to sink in. The top of the mountain kept getting further and further away from us. Every time we thought we were looking at the top another section would appear. By the fourth hour we were being passed by elderly Japanese women and young children.

Finally we reached the top and our energy was restored. . .not necessarily a good thing haha. We collected a few volcanic rocks as souvenirs and followed the path towards the descent. The texture of the mountain side was different on the descent. It was a completely open view with tiny rocks that our feet sunk into. Similar to walking on a beach. It was all downhill from here.

We started lengthening our strides to gain momentum and took pleasure in the fact we were passing many people on the way. The problem came when we gradually made our way to a full out sprint. Slowing down was no longer an option! Our little Marine legs were moving quickly enough to keep us from tripping over anything. Of course a big friggan rock appears out of nowhere.

I was running too fast and had no control of my body as this rock was getting closer and closer. I knew I would be unable to shift to either side to avoid it and I also didn’t want to ram my legs into it. Instead I had a split second to jump and hope I would clear it. Miraculously I did and then came to a sudden realization. Yes I manouvered well enough to avoid the damn rock, but at the same time I was now flying. The speed remained the same however my view of the mountain side changed horribly. To try and explain how I was flying let’s just say that my feet would be the top of the line with my head at the bottom. (  \  ) I remained in that position for what seemed like twenty or thirty feet using my great idea filled head to come back down to earth on. I crashed hard and continued to roll down the mountain doing somersaults until I came to a stop.

So began my 36 hour fun of learning my lesson. Now every time I’m reminded of that day I shake my head laughing at myself.

Share a memory in the comments section that you love to share!

It’s okay I miss you too!

I’m sorry everyone! I know it’s been a while since my last blog post. This week has been pretty hectic. Instead of working nights I have been working from sun up to sun down.

Diagon Alley is opening soon as I’m sure you’ve already heard. Combine that with the today and tonight show at Universal and you can understand the fun we’re having being in security.

Despite the heat and busy schedule for this week, I am having a good time meeting people and listening to bands play on the Universal concert stage. I mean come on how many times can you go home from work and say you were paid to watch Jimmy Buffet sing Margaritaville?!

I’m looking forward to this weekend because I’ll have a couple much needed days off and have time to spend with my friends.

A couple of updates to keep everyone in the loop.

My little brother just came home from Afghanistan this week safely!

Secondly, this bulls*** in Iraq is going to continue to happen decade after decade. We are a nation that needs to focus on rebuilding the American dream! Not one that needs to try and break up every little pissing match countries thousands of miles away stirs up. We did our part in making sure they had new AMERICAN humvees to drive around in and tried and tested M16 rifles. You’re welcome ISIS. It’s a shame.