U.S. Army Soldier on Mission to Bring Dog Back with Him from Middle East

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New York, NY –While U.S. Army missions may be the stuff of top secret details, there is no hiding what is going on with the mission that one solder is on. Protecting his identity so that his security is not compromised, David is a U.S. Army soldier stationed in the Middle East who is on a mission to save a dog he befriended while being deployed.

Not wanting to leave the dog behind after he leaves the Middle East, he reached out to Paws of War to see if they can help bring Rukban back to Florida with him. It’s a mission that Paws of War has helped numerous other soldiers with and that they have agreed to take on once again.

“Bringing a dog back from another part of the world like this is a true mission,” says Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “There is a lot that is involved in doing it, including the paperwork, travel and medical expenses, and more. It’s a mission that we cannot succeed at without the assistance of people in the community who want to help support those who help defend the country.”

While it may seem like a true mission impossible to bring a dog back from the Middle East, Paws of War is well experienced at helping soldiers successfully pull it off. Being left in the Middle East when David’s unit is sent home would most likely be a death sentence. It’s an area of the world that sees dogs as pests and doesn’t treat them kindly as a result. When David found the dog he named Rukban, he was hungry, thirsty, and injured. He had a fresh neck wound and someone had previously cut his ears off, a common abuse toward dogs in that area.

Immediately going into action, David gave the dog food, water, and got it medical attention. He created a strong bond with Rukban as he nursed him back to health. Military protocol does not allow for soldiers to bring dogs back home with them, so David reached out to Paws of War for assistance.

“Rukban has been such a blessing to me while being in the Middle East,” says David. “I can’t imagine leaving him behind and what would become of him. Being able to bring him home to Florida with me would be amazing. I’m grateful that an organization like Paws of War exists to help with this mission, and I’m humbled that so many citizens give them the support they need to make it happen.”

Those who would like to a donation to help keep David and Rukban together, and help keep Rukban from being further abused, can log online to make a donation: pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/56176-rukban.

Paws of War is an organization that focuses on serving veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. They are an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at  pawsofwar.org.

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‘Therapy on ice’ helps vets heal, give back to community

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By Gary Sheftick

The buzz of the crowd had Sgt. 1st Class Michael Vaccaro on edge. Then a loud bang made him look around nervously.

He knew the noise came from a Zamboni machine, yet its exhaust made him think of the aftermath of a roadside bomb.

All his stress melted away immediately, however, as soon as he stepped out onto the ice.

“When I’m on the ice, no matter what happened before, everything dissipates,” he said. “It’s like a fresh start.”

Vaccaro is one of the co-founders of the Capital Beltway Warriors, a hockey team of veterans with disabilities founded two years ago.

Veterans on the team open up to each other and talk about how they cope with injuries, stress and other issues, said retired Maj. David Dixon, another co-founder of the team.

“It’s like a giant support group,” he said, “or therapy on ice, as we like to call it.”

Many of the players have some level of post-traumatic stress disorder from service in Iraq, Afghanistan or other hot spots, Dixon said. He personally survived four deployments to Iraq, where he was shot in the back and shaken up by three different improvised explosive devices.

GIVING BACK

Dixon and a number of the other veterans also coach youth hockey teams and a few of them help with a local blind hockey team, the Washington Wheelers.

“Giving back to the community often gives them a sense of purpose,” Dixon said of the veterans, adding that it helps minimize depression and PTSD.

Dixon puts in more than 20 volunteer hours a week managing the Capital Beltway Warriors as president and executive director of the team. He helps solicit sponsors, run meetings, apply for grants, recruit players and schedule games.

His time on the ice as a player-coach is extra.

“In a sick kind of way, I enjoy all the hard work,” he said. “You go from commanding troops to working in a cubicle,” he said about retiring from the Army and beginning a civilian job.

He explained that managing the hockey team gives him a renewed sense of purpose.

“You find that niche in life that gives you purpose and whether it has a monetary award or not, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said.

He helps make the games special for the warriors with lights, music, an announcer and filling the stands with veterans. Local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion in northern Virginia help bring veterans from retirement homes to the games, Dixon said.

Vaccaro also spends several hours per week helping the Capital Beltway Warriors and other veteran hockey teams. He spends a week every year helping run the USA Hockey camp in Buffalo, New York, where they select the national sled hockey team.

He serves as a referee for blind hockey and sled hockey. He helps stand up other Warrior division hockey teams. In November, he spent a few days in Philadelphia helping the Flyers start a warrior team.

“This is my therapy,” he said of the volunteer work. “This is what keeps me going.”

SPREADING THE WORD

Just over two years ago, Vaccaro met up with Dixon who was interested in starting a Warrior hockey team in Virginia.

They met in the Pentagon food court in December 2016. “We sat down and started sketching stuff out on napkins,” Dixon said.

They laid out plans for a team that would play in rinks across Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland.

They found players by word of mouth. They showed up at “stick and shoot” sessions and asked if anyone was a military veteran with a disability rating.

Now they have 76 veterans with disabilities on the team and they play other warrior clubs. A game in Ashburn Dec. 22 pitted the USA Warriors from Maryland against the Capital Beltway Warriors. The teams also play in annual tournaments.

There are now 16 warrior teams across the United States. The minimum requirement to play on one of the teams is a 10 percent VA disability. Some of the players are 100 percent disabled and play with prosthetics.

Some of the veterans, like Vaccaro, have been playing hockey since they were 3 years old. Dixon, however, did not pick up the sport until he was 40.

RAMADI RPG

In 2006 and 2007, Vaccaro was an advisor to an Iraqi Army unit in Ramadi. He and two Marines were on patrol when they were pinned down by machine-gun fire. Then an insurgent fired a rocket-propelled grenade.

“It hit the wall in front of me and knocked me back. Next thing I remember, I heard this really loud ringing in my ears and there was a Marine dragging me back into the courtyard. They were calling for air support.

“We finished the patrol,” Vaccaro said, explaining aerial medical evacuation was not available. A doctor patched him up, and a couple of days later, he was back out on patrol.

After his tour in Iraq, he came back to Virginia, where he had been a reservist with the 80th Training Division. But he had PTSD issues. He decided to go to Liberia in western Africa as a contractor to help put about 2,000 Liberian soldiers through basic training.

“I thought that would help, but I just ended up coming back with the same issues,” he said. “That’s another thing: You can’t hide from this.

“Everybody handles PTSD in a different way. I tried the group therapy stuff and it just didn’t work.”

He received treatment and medication from Veterans Affairs, but the issues persisted. When he smelled fresh bread, for instance, it reminded him of the flatbread Iraqi soldiers baked every morning.

“That’s a good smell,” he said. But then his mind would continue to remember until he imagined the smell of an IED.

“You’ve got to face your fears. You’ve got to face your issues,” he said. “I was trying to hide from it and hockey has helped me open up and talk about it.”

About 10 years ago, he became involved in the first-of-its-kind USA Warrior hockey team stood up by a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland.

“When I’m on the ice, things slow down; things are different,” Vaccaro said.

Both he and his family noticed the difference in him after playing hockey.

“It really helped me,” he said. “The first thing I said to myself when I started realizing that is, ‘I’ve got to get other veterans involved in this.'”

So he became the national representative for USA Hockey in its Warrior division to help stand up teams. He does that in his spare time when he is not working as a civilian employee for the Army Corps of Engineers or on duty as an Army Reserve NCO.

Continue onto Army News to read the complete article.

World War II veteran gets 50,000 birthday cards after daughter’s plea

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Duane Sherman-Purple Heart Recipient

A 96-year-old World War II veteran from California will be spending plenty of time with family going through a mountain of birthday cards, after a request from his daughter on Facebook went viral.

Sue Morse had put out a request for friends to send birthday wishes to her father and Purple Heart medal recipient Duane Sherman, expecting she would get maybe 160 cards.

Instead, he received over 50,000.

“I was amazed, shocked and appreciative,” Sherman told the Orange County Register. “All the good comments people made, it just brightened my day.

Sherman’s wife of 57 years, Lois, died in 2011. His daughter told the Register the only mail her dad receives most days are just bills, and he’s outlived most of his friends.

“I wanted to him to feel special on his birthday,” Morse said.

Sherman enlisted in the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Lamson, a destroyer that saw several battles in the Pacific.

Continue on to Fox News to read the complete article.

Easterseals serves 20,000 vets and their families in 2018

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Angela Williams-Easterseals

In 2018, nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members received support through Easterseals through an extensive list of programs, including; advocacy and education and employment programs and job training.

Other programs include; military and veterans’ caregiver services, veteran community services and support and health and wellness programs. The organization is led by President and CEO Angela Williams, a retired United States Air Force officer, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The iconic nonprofit kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration, furthering its mission of supporting the disabled and their families. Over the past century, Easterseals has provided a multitude of disability services to more than 1.5 million people, helping to meet individual and family needs.

Easterseals Military & Veterans Services
Our mission is to ensure that it’s possible for veterans and military families to live their lives to the fullest in every community. We work to break down barriers, engage organizations and communities, and connect veterans and military families with what they need for meaningful employment, education and overall wellness. Our grassroots outreach – through 71 local affiliates in communities nationwide– provide unmatched, accessible, and indispensable resources and support for veterans and military families.

Grassroots Solutions through Easterseals
The needs of veterans and military families are evolving, not disappearing. That’s why Easterseals specializes in identifying the needs of veterans and military families, particularly with employment, job training and support like family respite opportunities. We work to make solutions easily accessible in communities.

Learn More about Easterseals Military and Veterans Services

Discover how we’ve been successful so far in our mission.

Our work in action

  • Advocacy & Education
    Veterans and military families deserve services delivered in an appropriate, timely, and accessible manner. Our Washington, DC-based government relations team works to influence federal and state legislation affecting veterans and military families and actively engages with Congressional staff in pursuit of these goals.
  • Employment Programs and Job Training
    Our employment programs provide the necessary tools to achieve and maintain meaningful employment and a steady income. We offer skills training, job search assistance, employment preparation and guidance. For example, we partner with the Direct Employers Association, which has a membership of about 800 employers who want to hire veterans and people with disabilities. Through this partnership, Easterseals is offering a job search portal at easterseals.jobs, which features job postings from these employers.
  • Military and Veterans Caregiver Services 
    We strive to ensure military caregivers can access what they need to take on the enormous responsibility of caregiving—often, while still needing to work, navigate family life and take care of themselves. We embrace and support military caregivers, particularly as they transition into this new experience, life-long trajectory and unfamiliar — yet vital role — within their families and communities.
  • Veteran Community Services & Support 
    Veterans come home to their families and communities, so serving them must be a community undertaking. That’s why, across the country, we are delivering services that veterans and military families need to live productive, successful lives.
  • Health and Wellness Programs
    We aim to reach as many veterans and military families as possible to provide health resources and programs, including adult dayand medical rehabilitation services.

Additional resources

What are many veterans asking themselves these days? “What to wear?!”  As military members return to civilian life and face the job search, figuring out the right suit to wear to an interview can be the biggest challenge, while the job responsibilities are a breeze. Watch the video below to see why, and help spread the message that veterans are highly skilled and valuable employees. See all three of our military themed public service videos. 

In November 2015, Easterseals hosted Heroes Work Here, an event to educate corporate leaders on hiring and retaining veterans. With friends and partners, we gathered important advice about how to hire America’s best and brightest. Find tips on why and how to hire veterans here!
Watch Travis Mills explain how you can hire veterans with Easterseals’ help right now.

Veteran and Dancing with the Stars winner JR Martinez and veteran and author Travis Mills play word association with Easterseals, our veteran edition!

Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Qatar Harvey Fund Launch $6M Qatar Veterans Fund to Support Texas Veteran Communities Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), a nonprofit focused on creating long-lasting, positive outcomes for post-9/11 impacted veterans and their families, announced that it has established a­ partnership with the Qatar Harvey Fund to support veterans who continue to be impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The hurricane, which pummeled Texas in 2017, was one of the most damaging and costly in U.S. history.

BWF will establish the Qatar Veterans Fund using a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund, a $30 million gift from the state intended to help the 41 Texas counties impacted by the storm.  The investment in the new veterans fund will be managed by BWF and will support Texas’ large population of former service personnel and military families.

“Following Hurricane Harvey, the State of Qatar established a $30 million fund to support the long-term recovery of the storm’s victims,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, U.S. Ambassador of the State of Qatar. “Our new partnership with BWF allows us to effectively and efficiently support the unique needs of the local veteran and military family population. The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to be working with BWF with the shared objective of helping Texas veteran communities with the long-term rebuilding and recovery process so that they will thrive as they look to the future.”

The partnership was first announced by BWF board member and 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, on stage at BWF’s 12th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit on Monday, November 5.

“During my 41 years of military service, I had the good fortune to spend time in Qatar, as do so many young Americans who are stationed at Al Udeid airbase, home to over 11,000 US servicemen and women,” said General Martin Dempsey. “I was proud to announce the partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and look forward to seeing the impact that this partnership will bring to our veterans in southeast Texas.”

“This new partnership allows us to pursue a goal we share with the State of Qatar:  to support veterans and their families impacted by Hurricane Harvey via those best-in-class service providers who bring measurable outcomes and local activation,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director at the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “We know that our veterans and their families face a range of existing and emerging challenges – all of which are likely exacerbated by the storm’s impact. We look forward to using our expertise and proven approach, alongside representatives of the Qatar Harvey Fund and the Embassy of Qatar, to address both immediate and long-range needs for Texan veterans.”

The Bob Woodruff Foundation will be working closely with the Qatar Harvey Fund to coordinate the distribution of funding to a range of programs and expects to make further announcements early in 2019 regarding the first initiatives from the Qatar Veterans Fund.

To learn more about the innovative programs that the Bob Woodruff Foundation finds, funds and shapes, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $57 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

About the Qatar Harvey Fund and the State of Qatar

Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the State of Qatar announced a gift of $30 million for the long-term recovery of the storms victims in Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund was created to administer the gift.

Qatar is an independent state in the southern Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people, the majority of whom live in and around Doha, the capital. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1972; in the same year, Qatar’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. opened. The relationship between the two countries has always been friendly, highly productive, and reciprocal. Qatar is home to many Americans, and the United States is both Qatar’s largest foreign investor and its largest source of imports. Qatar-U.S. relations are growing continuously in multiple areas: economic, political, military, educational, and cultural. Qatar is a close ally of the United States and a strong advocate of building a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Middle East. Qatar has provided significant humanitarian and development assistance to countries around the world, including the United States. In 2005, the State of Qatar announced the Qatar Katrina Fund, which provided $100M in grants for housing, healthcare and education projects directly to local partners across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to support long-term recovery in the region after Hurricane Katrina.

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Supports Paralyzed Veterans of America on Veteran’s Day

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Brad Keselowski presents check to Bill Lawson

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2018) — Earlier this year, NASCAR driver and 2018 Richtopia Top 100 Philanthropist, Brad Keselowski, announced his Checkered Flag Foundation would support Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment).

Team Penske partners’ Alliance Truck Parts, Snap-On and Würth have also joined these efforts, and on Friday, Keselowski presented a check for $25,000 to Bill Lawson, former president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Started in 2007, the PAVE program provides career assistance and vocational support to transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers across the country. Through the PAVE program, clients receive high-touch engagement as they look for meaningful employment. PAVE staff work with members of the veteran community to provide one-on-one support with resume development, sharpen interviewing and networking skills, and build a strong LinkedIn profile. PAVE operates through eight locations nationwide and in 2018, PAVE staff has placed 319 individuals with meaningful employment opportunities.

“Supporting America’s heroes is something that is very important to me, so I’m glad the Checkered Flag Foundation and Paralyzed Veterans of America partnered earlier this year,” said Keselowski. “I’m incredibly thankful that some of my Team Penske partners joined myself and the foundation in our efforts to support this program. This donation will allow Paralyzed Veterans of America the opportunity to continue to serve veterans by providing them, their families and caretakers with career support via the PAVE program. It’s very fitting that we were able to do this on such a special weekend, where we honor and remember all of the veterans who have served.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America not only supports disabled veterans, but all veterans. The organization advocates for quality health care and governmental benefits on behalf of veterans who have rightfully earned them. In addition, the organization is also a champion in fighting for job opportunities for veterans.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to combat unemployment and underemployment of veterans. This summer the veteran unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, an increase from a year ago. But, most concerning, is that nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed at a rate 15.6 percent higher than non-veteran job seekers,” said David Zurfluh, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “When organizations such as Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation support our veterans’ employment program, together we are able to improve the lives of veterans, making them unstoppable in their quest for meaningful employment.”

For additional information about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s PAVE program, or to make a donation, visit pva.org.

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About Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country. Since 2010, the foundation has supported more than 250 organizations and individuals in order to help veterans and first responders during their road to recovery. There are numerous ways for those interested to become involved. Visit CheckeredFlagFoundation.org for details.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at pva.org.

David Goggins Defies the Odds

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Chief Petty Officer David Goggins stands at attention with members of the U.S. Naval Academy’s triathlon team

David Goggins is a hard guy. A survivor of abuse and bigotry who overcame asthma, a learning disability, a stutter, obesity, crushingly low self-esteem and countless fears. A world-record-breaking endurance athlete who once performed 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

A Navy SEAL and combat veteran.

After Goggins lost several friends in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005, he started running as a way to support severely wounded warriors and their families. Since 2005, he has helped raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.

Nothing stops him—except his emotions, especially when speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) in Kansas City, Missouri, who awarded him the 2018 Americanism Award. Choked up, Chief Petty Officer Goggins paused a long moment as he thanked his mother and uncle, then began a heartfelt speech, saying, “I want to thank the VFW very much for giving me this award. It means more to me than anything I have received in my entire life.” He noted that if his grandfather, Sgt. Jack Gardner, were still living, it would be the happiest day of his life to see his grandson accept the award.

After receiving two standing ovations, he told the crowd, “All my life, all I wanted to be was an uncommon man. I was not that. In fact, I was much worse than that. But I read a book about the Medal of Honor—stories about men like you, ‘Doc’ [Donald E. Ballard, Medal of Honor recipient], who had the courage to jump on grenades.”

“I used to look for courage,” Goggins said. “I thought courage was a man who received the Medal of Honor (MOH). It is, but courage is the man who is willing to put those boots on every single day of his life to go out there and fight for his country.”

“I am not a hero. I served with heroes,” he concluded. “I have the upmost respect for all of you in this room. I know what it takes to be a combat soldier.”David Goggins running in triathalon
He knows because he served in Iraq.

In an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine, he reflected, “I know what a lot of the veterans have gone through. A lot of these vets have been in combat. To put those boots on every day, not knowing if you’ll come back, and the fear you live with all the time and the sacrifices you make to be in the military, I have no words. I only have feelings.”

While the retired 21-year Chief Navy SEAL was defending his country, he says he was rescuing himself.

“To be a veteran is everything to me,” reports Goggins, 43, “[Serving] saved me from the person I was.”

From 1994 to 1999, Goggins served in the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He left the military and was working in pest control when he decided he wanted to try out to be a Navy SEAL. He weighed 300 pounds, couldn’t learn without rewriting books word for word (filling dozens of notebooks), and was afraid of deep water.

It was sink or swim. He did plenty of sinking, but he didn’t drown. His commanders wouldn’t let him, and, ultimately, he wouldn’t let himself.

Using scenes from the movie Rocky as inspiration, and willing to suffer through anything to achieve his goals, he failed and failed … and then he thrived.

After enduring three hell weeks, he was assigned to SEAL Team Five in 2001, and in 2004, Goggins graduated from Army Ranger School as “Enlisted Honor Man.”

“A person who is driven and obsessed … they don’t give a damn what’s in front of them,” he says. “A person who is singularly focused on a mission can get it done.”

Tough love didn’t hurt.

Navy SEAL David Goggins“I found in the military a way to find myself through discipline, through training. It was a kick in the butt.”

That discipline and training—and a nearly-inhuman capacity for suffering—are forged in his character to this day.

Goggins is one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world. He has completed multiple ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five. He’s run more than 200 miles nonstop in 39 hours and placed third in the toughest foot race on the planet: the Badwater 135, which takes place in Death Valley during the summer.

He set a Guinness World Record with those 4,030 pull-ups (the record was later broken).

“My greatest strength is my mind,” reports Goggins. “I figured out one thing: Life is one big mind game … and you’re playing against yourself.”

Goggins’ achievements made him the subject of a feature in Runner’s World, where he was named “Running Hero.” Outside Magazine named him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” The Navy SEALs tagged him as their poster boy and lead recruiter.

In November 2015, he was the subject of the New York Times bestseller, Living with a SEAL, and since leaving the military, he’s become a prize public speaker. He’s spoken to professional sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, and other large organizations in both the public and private sector.

Everyone wants to know what it takes to become a SEAL, his fitness tips, his inspirational mantras and how in the heck he ran 205 miles in 39 hours.

It was 2005. Goggins got hit with bad news: Several of his buddies had died in Afghanistan in Operation Red Wings. Goggins, never a natural runner, decided to pound ground in the San Diego One Day, which raised money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

He said he wasn’t motivated. Motivation comes and goes. He was, and is, driven.

He nearly died. He tore muscles, broke all the metatarsal bones in his feet and endured screamingly painful shin splints. On bathroom breaks, he was urinating blood. He knew his body was breaking down, but his mind? That’s another story.

“I am scared to death of one thing: disappointing God,” he said. “I know there’s something above David Goggins … I believe in God, and that’s my strength.

“I used everything that God gave me and created a miracle.”

He wants to inspire others—especially those abused in their homes, or stricken with health problems, or living in fear and despair—to do the same.

On December 4, his book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, will be released.

If you want a quick fix, it’s probably not for you. Miracles, Goggins believes, are made, and that’s good news.

“I got tired of ‘In five easy steps you can fix your life,'” he said. “You’re not going to get better with that mindset.”

How do you improve?

“Suffering and grinding,” he said.

David Goggins stands at attentionHere are some highlights from the book:
• He thanks people who insulted him, even bigots. “You want to get back at people who don’t like you? Be the best.”
• He elaborates on his 40% Rule. The upshot? You can push past pain, demolish fear and reach your full potential.
• He writes about the concept of the “only.” That’s short-hand for the feeling you get when people isolate you, or you isolate yourself. Goggins said it need not be a negative. “It was my fuel.”

Goggins, who works out about five hours a day, needs fuel. He’s a human conflagration of passion, which is ironic, because he’s a wildland firefighter. Putting out fires is another way to fuel his commitment to serve.

For the last couple of years, he’s spent the fire season slowing and knocking down fires with his crew mates.

He’s in a position where he doesn’t have to do it. That’s the exact reason he should dig fire lines, he says.

“I’m just a guy on the line, man. I’m a guy who sleeps in the dirt … and digs ditches.”

It’s a metaphor for his life. In the face of overwhelming odds, he digs and digs.

“My legacy would be: That was one guy right there that if you told him he couldn’t do it, he is going to find a way through all the doubt, through all the throes. That’s my legacy. A man who didn’t stop trying to achieve more.”

Hollywood Meets the Pentagon

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Actor Gerard Butler spoke to Pentagon reporters about his collaboration with the Navy in making the movie “Hunter Killer” that was recently released.

The Pentagon press briefing studio was filled to capacity as Butler — who plays the commander of the fictional attack sub USS Arkansas in the movie — answered questions about the experience. DOD officials approved the request in December 2014, and the Navy provided access and technical support to the filmmakers.

The movie’s plot focuses on an operation aimed at averting war with Russia. Butler said it brings the submarine genre into the 21st century. “Hunter Killer” is a chance to take viewers into submarines and let them see the culture, “and really see how these people think, work, their courage, their intelligence, basically their brilliance,” the actor said.

The plot alternates between the submarine, a special operations team inserted in Russia and the Pentagon.

Navy Vice Adm. Fritz Roegge, now the president of the National Defense University, was the commander of the U.S. Submarine Force in the Pacific during filming.

Only a small fraction of young Americans qualify to serve in the military. An even smaller number are aware of the opportunities the services offer. “Although the Navy benefits from technology that gives us the world’s most capable platforms and equipment, it is our people who are truly our greatest strength,” he said.

”It’s more important than ever that we find ways to inspire the next generation of warfighters to consider serving our country in the Navy,” Roegge said. Officials stressed that support to “Hunter Killer” or any other movie is done at zero cost to the American taxpayer.

The Actor and Director Donovan Marsh also visited Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut recently, to meet Navy submariners, tour the attack submarine USS Hartford, and share a special premiere of the movie with sailors on base. The movie also stars Gary Oldman and Common.

Continue on to the DoD to read the complete article

Paws of War Launches Nations First Mobile Veterinary Clinic Exclusively for Veterans and First Responders

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Paws of War’s latest mission is to help veterans and first responders get the veterinary care they need for their pets that they may be having difficulty obtaining. On November 8, 2018, they will roll out the “Vets for Vets” program, which is a custom-designed RV that has been outfitted to be a mobile veterinary clinic. The mobile clinic, staffed by a veterinarian, will be on the move providing care to many veteran pets.

“This is the first of its kind,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws pawsofwar.org. “It’s exclusively for the pets of our disabled veterans and first responders. They need the assistance, we heard their call, and are doing all we can to answer it.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 4 million veterans who have a service-connected disability. A service-connected disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Additionally, there are many disabled first responders also in need of assistance. Through the “Vets for Vets” mobile veterinary clinic, both disabled veterans and first responders will have the ability to obtain care for their pets. Some of the people may have difficulty getting out of their homes, while others may find veterinary care to be a financial burden.

Paws of War obtained the used 2006 26-foot RV and found that it was in some serious need of repair and renovation in order to meet their mission. That’s when the original manufacturer, LaBoit Specialty Vehicles, stepped in and offered to completely refurbish the RV, all free of charge. Now the mobile veterinary clinic has been completely customized for the Paws of War team and its mission.

“When we first heard about Paws of War, we did a thorough research of the organization and were very impressed with what they do, stated Gil Blais, president of La Boit Specialty Vehicles. “Being a veteran myself, I knew I wanted to help any way I could and renovating their vehicle was right up our alley. The entire La Boit staff felt the urge to help and did so by volunteering their time. We also had vendors donate equipment so it truly was a group effort. We wish Paws of War all the best for such an innovative program!”

Some of the veterinary services that will be provided by the Vets for Vets mobile clinic include:

  • Annual vaccinations
  • Dental care
  • Allergy care
  • Grooming/nail trimming
  • Microchipping
  • Wellness checks
  • Medication that they may not otherwise be able to afford
  • Minor surgeries
  • Bloodwork/testing

“We are really excited about this new program and grateful to La Boit for their generosity in restoring the vehicle,” explained Misseri. “We look forward to hitting the road and helping out our nation’s heroes.”

Paws of War is currently seeking sponsors for the “Vets for Vets” mobile clinic. Those interested in sponsoring the clinic should contact the organization for more details and information. Paws of War is an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at pawsofwar.org.

Sources:

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Homelessness in America: Focus on Veterans. usich.gov/resources

U.S. Census Bureau. Veterans Day 2017census.gov/newsroom

Decorated Naval Officer turned Talk Show Host, Montel Williams, signs on as Host and Co- Executive Producer of “Military Makeover”

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Montel Williams-Military Makeover

When most Americans hear the name, “Montel Williams,” they remember the Emmy Award-winning host of Montel Williams Show, which aired nationally for seventeen years.

Along with being a New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Montel is also a passionate advocate for veterans, education and health. While his colleagues tended to invite the dramatic or ultra-celebrity guests, Williams often took the platform of education through self help and mental health advocates. Montel’s unrelenting, empathetic kindness acted as a major directive in his pre-and post-show efforts as he was the first to employ a holistic, therapeutic approach. He now serves on the board of directors for the Fisher House Foundation and the Anne Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What America may not remember is that Williams is also a decorated military officer, beginning his professional career in the United States Marine Corps, becoming the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to go on to graduate the Naval Academy and be commissioned a Naval Officer. Montel graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs and served in the military for a total of 22 years. Montel is thrilled to be a part of Military Makeover, relishing the opportunity to give back to his fellow veterans through this new role allowing him to not only lead as a host, but also to creatively co-produce the show in its new season. Montel’s heart has actively guided him through his career efforts and there is no doubt this show will further his mission of making America a more loving, giving community by leading the Military Makeover team in generously giving back to those who fought for our freedom.

“In the nearly three decades since I retired from the Navy, I’ve never really taken the uniform off Montel-home makeoverbecause standing up for those who are serving now and those who have served has been the greatest honor of my professional career.” – Montel Williams

“We are so excited to welcome Montel Williams into our Military Makeover family and have no doubt that he will take the show to new levels of engagement and success!”
– Mark Alfieri, Founder and CEO of BrandStar

Military Makeover with Montel®, produced by BrandStar, offers hope and a helping hand here on the home front to members of our military and their loved ones. A veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy, talk show legend and military advocate Montel Williams seeks to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country. This special series enlists conscientious Fortune 500 companies, designers, contractors, landscapers and other home improvement professionals. Help starts at home for veterans.

White House Chef and Combat Veteran Andre Rush Has Signed a Deal to Produce ‘Chef in the City’

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White House Chef Andre Rush is pleased to announce that he has signed a deal to produce an upcoming television show called “Chef in the City.” This unique concept on location cooking show will have acclaimed Chef Rush take the audience on adventures across the United States, visiting restaurants, first responder units, children’s hospitals, local community centers, military bases, and more.

“I’m honored to be able to take all of my years of experience and skills and produce a brand-new television show that will take audiences to locations not normally highlighted on current cooking shows,” says Chef Rush. “Each week I will meet new and interesting people, cook with them, talk over the preparation, and discover new adventures in cooking. It’s going to be an amazing experience for me as well as the audience viewing to take cooking out of the studio and into communities across the U.S.”

Chef Rush is a master ice carver, sommelier, pastry chef, chocolatier, and sugar sculptor, among other specialties. He has had the exciting opportunity to bring his expertise and skill to the White House over the course of several administrations as the executive chef for special dinners, gatherings, banquets and anything directly involving the first family and their invited guests.

Chef Rush is also a combat veteran who retired as a master sergeant after 23 years in the United States Army. During his career, he worked for many leaders including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff, and Superintendents of the United States Military Academy (West Point).

In his capacity at West Point, Chef Rush was the senior aide and advisor, chef, and security detail assigned and protocol liaison. He planned, prepared and serviced social functions to thousands of high-ranking foreign and domestic dignitaries, both civilian and military, and was responsible for the training, performance and welfare of dedicated personnel.

Never far from his military roots, Chef Rush is a key advocate for the United Service Organizations (USO), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion as well as a full supporter of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition with the goal of leading a younger generation to a healthier tomorrow.

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