‘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.

Daymond John — Turning Heroes into CEOs

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Daymond John speaking into microphone on stage

The Shark Tank’s Daymond John encourages veteran entrepreneurs to make waves in business.

By Lori Denman

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Daymond John has cast a pretty large net in the realm of business.

John, otherwise known as, “The People’s Shark,” is a busy man—leading his multi-million dollar FUBU clothing line and hosting the popular reality ABC hit, “Shark Tank,” that’s celebrating its 11th season.

But he never hesitates to take time to help a promising entrepreneur—particularly those who have served our country. “I’m working with veterans as much as I can,” he said.

John is in his third year of partnering with Bob Evans Farms to host an entrepreneurial contest called “Heroes to CEOs.” Finalists receive a free trip to New York City for a personalized, 45-minute session with John to help them perfect a pitch that could win them a $30,000 grant for their business.

John says the same traits that make veterans successful in combat—courage, teamwork, overcoming challenging obstacles, taking inventory of a situation—also apply in the boardroom. A veteran’s large network of supportive comrades is a further advantage, he added.

“I call it OPM, or other people’s manufacturing, mind power or marketing,” he said. “Meaning if you want to start up a business, make a list of friends and acquaintances who can assist in the mission. Soak up their knowledge and insight.”

Still, there’s a few personality traits characteristic of the military that may actually hinder a veteran entrepreneur, according to John in a recent interview for The Motley Fool.

Shark Tank panel seated together
Panel: (L-R) Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin OLeary, and Daymond John of Tribeca Talks: Ten Years of Shark Tank poses for a portrait. MATT DOYLE/GETTY IMAGES

“Vets were brought up to think about everybody else and stand in the line of fire. They don’t always put their needs first.”

There’s been more than a few veterans who have heeded John’s advice. Last month, Jonathan Norton, founder and CEO of Peak Safety Systems, was voted the winner of the third annual “Heroes to CEOs” program. A former Army Ranger, Norton invented the RopeSafe Edge protection system—life-saving equipment for military, first responders, and rope access professionals.

Norton says his company was born out of personal experience. ““I witnessed a student nearly fall to his death while he was repelling because the edge protector that we were using failed,” he said in a recent interview on cheddar.com.

“It was a scary moment and created a lot of fear, doubt and uncertainty. But it inspired me to find a solution. That was the impetus for developing the product.”

Although RopeSafe just launched, Norton has successfully sold to several areas throughout the U.S., including FDNY, NYPD, Dallas SWAT and more. Even a window washing company in Rochester, New York.

Daymond John books on display at book signing
Books on display during Daymond John book signing ” Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life”. JOHNNY LOUIS/GETTY IMAGES

When asked about entrepreneurial qualities he acquired during his time in the military, Norton says, “In spite of the hardships or the bumps in the road, it’s really about commitment to the mission and knowing I am serving a bigger purpose.”

John says he was blown away with Norton’s creativity, innovation and solid business plan. “He really rose to the top as an exceptional leader who is ready to take his business to the next level.

With several successful ventures under his belt over the last 30 years, John says he’s often asked what advice he gives veterans and others who wish to start their own business.

“I would say don’t mortgage your house for 100K,” he joked recently on Ladders.com, citing his own personal experience as John did indeed get his start by mortgaging his mother’s house.

After that, John started his successful clothing line but considers the risky move very lucky, adding, “It turned out for all the better, but knowing what I know now, I was very close to losing the house and everything we had.”

Daymond John standing wearing a gray suit
Photo: ADRIAN EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES

His top 5 tips to veterans wanting to start a business as well as other entrepreneurs on Shark Tank:

  1. Set goals to know where you’re headed

By age 16, John had told himself he’d be a millionaire by age 30. But when he turned 22, he was broke and struggling to make a buck by buying and selling cars.

“I didn’t know how to properly execute goal-setting. It’s not just visualizing of a number or a certain age,” said John.

When the idea for FUBU came along, he decided to reshape the goal he set for himself. Instead of committing to making a million dollars by age 30, John instead made it his goal to outfit the hip-hop culture. Designing a clothing line became less about earning money and more about dedicating himself to a community — one that he thought would turn into future consumers.

“My goal became doing the best I can for the company I love,” John said.

  1. Homework — you still have to do it

After sneaking his way into a menswear conference in Las Vegas, John proudly showed off early prototypes of T-shirts emblazoned with the logo of his budding company, FUBU, an acronym that means “For Us, By Us.” He secured $300,000 worth of orders, and after his mother took out an equity line on their house in Queens, he took $100,000 to outfit a factory to get production going.

Just one problem: He hadn’t done any research on what it would cost to start a clothing line and get production going. In the process, he nearly lost his mom’s house and ended FUBU before it got off the ground.

Knowing what you need to launch a venture is something John stresses to the hopefuls who appear before him on Shark Tank. He has to see that an entrepreneur looking for funding has done their work to know what their market is and who their competitors are — and that they’ve used that knowledge to not only start driving sales but also improve on their track record.

  1. Adore what you do, and success will follow

A true entrepreneur must love what they’re doing—a seemingly trite lesson that John said is crucial for any successful entrepreneur. It’s passion for a project that will allow a person to push past failures and feeling burned out.

“Do what you love, and success will follow. Money may follow; but I can’t promise that it will,” he said. “But money’s more likely to follow when you’re doing something you love, because you’ll do it for 10 years or 20 years.”

  1. Remember, you — not just your business — are a brand

These days it’s easy to manufacture a personality using social media. But building a business is as much about how you carry yourself as it is about meeting quarterly sales figures or developing new products.

“Be very honest with yourself, especially today with social media. At any given time, your employees can see you,” John said. “So you have to know what the DNA of the brand is. It only takes your employees two weeks to treat your customers the same way they’re being treated.”

  1. Keep swimming, no matter what

John’s final point makes use of what he calls the power of positive thinking. Even as FUBU grew into a bigger company, he maintained a “healthy paranoia” about running a clothing company.

“I always said fashion brands are hot for five years and then they’re gone,” he said.

But keeping a persevering attitude spurred him to come up with solutions to problems instead of giving up. As John wrote in his book, The Power of Broke: “You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. No matter what.”

Joe Walsh Announces Lineup For Vetsaid 2019 In Houston

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(HOUSTON, TEXAS) – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-GRAMMY Award winning musician Joe Walsh and VetsAid, his national 501(c)3 non-profit veterans organization, announced the lineup and on-sale date for their 3rd annual music festival. VetsAid 2019 will feature sets from ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Joe Walsh and will take place at 5:30pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019, on the eve of Veterans Day, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Tickets will be available through the Toyota Center Box Office, at www.toyotacenter.com or by calling 1-866-4-HOUTIX and will be priced at $199.50, $149.50, $119.50, $99.50, $79.50, $49.50 and $25.

The inaugural VetsAid took place on September 20, 2017 with a concert at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia featuring performances by Walsh, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban and Gary Clark Jr. VetsAid 2018 was a blockbuster event featuring Don Henley, James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Haim and Joe, who was joined by special guest Ringo Starr. They performed to a sell out crowd of nearly 18,000. It was also in Tacoma where Walsh and VetsAid hosted its first Veterans Jobs Fair where dozens of local vets found meaningful full-time employment with established regional employers in the Pacific Northwest.

As every year, all net proceeds from the concert will go directly to the veterans’ services charities selected through a vetting process-coordinated in tandem with the National Association of Veterans Serving Organizations (NAVSO). In its first two years, VetsAid has disbursed nearly $1.2M in grants to veterans’ services organizations on the national level and the regional level with a focus on the festival’s host city. This year, VetsAid plans to disburse grants to Houston-area organizations; small grant applications have been open since May 2019 via the VetsAid website (www.vetsaid.org).

Veterans and their wellbeing have always been important to Walsh, a Gold Star son himself. His father was a flight instructor for the first US operational jet powered aircraft, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, and died while stationed and on active duty on Okinawa when Walsh was 20 months old.

Walsh has been involved with veterans’ related causes for years, supporting various charities, visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and offering free guitar lessons to the wounded veterans there. He has campaigned for his good friend, (now) United States Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee.

Walsh aims to use this platform to raise funds and awareness for the still urgent and significant needs of our returning soldiers and their families. Through the establishment of VetsAid and this annual benefit concert, he aims to give back to those who have given so much in sacrifice for this country.

“It’s about time we brought VetsAid down to Texas and who better to share the stage with than my old buddies and Houston’s own ZZ Top! With Brad, Sheryl, Jason and more special guests to be announced joining us too this will be yet another historic night of incredible music for our vets.” Joe Walsh continues, “This is a night where all are welcome to celebrate the things that unite us as Americans: good friends, open hearts and great music!”

For more information, including grant applications for small veterans services groups, please visit www.vetsaid.org.

6 Terms You Won’t Believe Have Military Origins

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veterans looking at computer and smiling

There’s a long history of military slang, probably dating all the way back to when the first people hit each other with sticks and rocks. While military slang can be fun, it’s even more fun when it seeps into the common vernacular of everyday people. The only problem is when a word or phrase is too good, its origin gets lost in time, and people forget where it came from – but no longer.

Here are just a few words and phrases that came from military tradition.

1. “Best man”

n the days of yore, it was quite possible that a betrothed man might lose his wife even before their wedding to any number of possible hazards – rival bands, enemy leaders, or even random highwaymen. So while he was in the middle of the ceremony, he would enlist his best swordsman to cover his back while his attention was focused elsewhere or hold off an attacking party while the new couple made their getaway.

2. “Boondocks”

These days, to be way out in the boonies means you’re out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the sticks. When the term was coined, it meant that too, only the actual boondocks are in the Philippines. In Tagalog, “bundok” literally translates to “mountains” so when Filipino fighters told American troops they were headed to the bundoks during the 1898 Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War, it meant they were headed to the islands’ inner wilderness.

3. “Cowboys”

Sorry, but the term “cowboy” used to define the ranchers and vaqueros of the Old West was never actually used for those guys at the time. They were usually just called cow herders or cowhands. The term “cowboy” goes well past the 19th Century. The original cowboys were American colonists loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution. They would band together in guerrilla units and lure other units of rebel farmers into ambushes using cowbells to coax them in. After the war, it was used to describe criminals from Texas who made raids into Mexico.

4. “Face the music”

In the European military tradition (from which the U.S. tradition is derived), any disgraced officer who was summarily kicked out of his unit was done so in the most demeaning manner possible. As the regiment’s drummer played on, the officer would have his sword broken, his buttons removed, and his charges read to the entire room. The officer was them marched across the parade ground to the tune of the “Rogue’s March” toward the regimental band.

5. “Last ditch effort”

In the kind of fighting that took place in the 16th and 17 Century, troops didn’t just maneuver around the battlefields in the open, in tight formations, wearing bright colors. I mean, they did that, but they also constructed a series of earthwork redoubts and other protective places to hold. Among these was a series of trenches they could fall back to if the stuff started hitting the fan – and they would dig many in case things went really wrong. But everyone knew by the time you got to your last one, you had to do something amazing, or everyone was likely to die in that last ditch.

6. “The whole nine yards”

This term appeared in the 1950s, after the end of World War II – and it has nothing to do with football or anything else where yardage is a factor. It refers to the length of the ammunition belts designed for American and British fighter planes during the war, 27 feet (or nine yards). When flying a particularly tough mission or otherwise using a lot of ammo, a pilot might have been said to use “the whole nine yards.”

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

Beacon Roofing Supply Launches Beacon of Hope Contest for Military Veterans

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picture of two men working on a new roof

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. announced the launch of its first annual contest, through which Beacon will award deserving veteran homeowners new roofs. The contest is open to all military veterans who received honorable or general discharges. There will be a total of five that will be chosen.

“The Beacon of Hope contest is one way we can give back to the men and women who have given so much to our country,” said Eric Swank, Beacon’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is an honor and privilege to provide a safe roof that they can be proud of and that will protect their family and their belongings.”

From now through September 20, 2019, the public can nominate a deserving U.S. veteran at go.becn.com/beaconofhope Nominations must include a photo and short bio of the veteran, which includes their military branch, years of service and why the nominee is deserving of a new roof.

Ten finalists will be announced in September, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists. Beacon will announce the winners and runners-up on Veterans Day.

To learn more about the Beacon of Hope contest and read the official contest rules, visit go.becn.com/beaconofhope.

About Beacon Roofing Supply

Founded in 1928, Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and complementary building products in North America, operating over 500 branches throughout all 50 states in the U.S. and 6 provinces in Canada. Beacon serves an extensive base of over 100,000 customers, utilizing its vast branch network and diverse service offerings to provide high-quality products and support throughout the entire business lifecycle. Beacon also offers its own private label brand, TRI-BUILT, and has a proprietary digital account management suite, Beacon Pro+, which allows customers to manage their businesses online. A Fortune 500 company, Beacon’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BECN. To learn more about Beacon and its brands, please visit becn.com.

Planes, Frogs & Obstacles? They’re All Happening at LA Fleet Week 2019

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Skydivers in the air with an American Flag attached

Things will really be jumping at this year’s LA Fleet Week—literally.  Added to the line-up of this annual multi-day LA Waterfront celebration of our nation’s Sea Services, Aug. 30- Sept. 2, will be two new crowd-pleasing events, U.S. Navy Leap Frog jumpers and an all-out battle of the fittest with USAA’s high-stakes Obstacle Course Competition. Aerial flyovers and demonstrations are back by popular demand as well.

The Leap Frogs” are the official parachute demonstration team of the U.S. Navy and part of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. The team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. Each day starting Saturday of LA Fleet Week, the Leap Frogs will make a spectacular parachute landing into the event. Often jumping from aircraft hovering more than two miles above, the Leap Frogs are a unique visual experience not to be missed.

Also new this year at LA Fleet Week will be a high-intensity Obstacle Course Competition presented by USAA. As much a participant as a spectator sport, the relay-style competition will feature two-person teams racing against the clock to complete the athletically challenging course in the fastest time. From 150- to 200-lb. tire flips to track sprints, to weighted rope pulls and accuracy throwing drills, a winning team will be determined at the end of each competition day.

For the Obstacle Course Competition, advanced team sign ups are recommended, though walk-up teams will accommodated as scheduling allows. Team competitions will be held Friday through Monday during LA Fleet Week from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The obstacle course will be located in the Battleship IOWA parking lot near the Military Village. See more details here.

Dozens of military and first responder aircraft demonstrations will entertain event goers throughout the Labor Day Weekend. Aircrafts will soar over the Main Channel at the Port of Los Angeles to kick off Friday night’s Military Appreciation concert headlined by Cheap Trick, then regularly take to the skies between 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Saturday through Monday.

On tap for the weekend will be U.S. Navy F/A 18 combat jet flyovers, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard. Other aerial demonstrations by various Los Angeles city and county first responders are also in the works.

“It promises to be a great weekend of flyovers with the line-up we’ve got planned,” said Dennis Lord, LA Fleet Week aerial coordinator. “It’s a rare opportunity to see how the aviation component of so many agencies works to protect and guard the freedoms we all enjoy.”

Public ship tours will be available throughout the weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no online reservations needed. Visitors will also be able to enjoy free live entertainment on the event’s Main Stage, a Veteran’s Village, a First Responder Village, a Military Village, a kids’ STEM Expo, and a selection of eats from food trucks onsite.

About LA Fleet Week®

LA Fleet Week® is a multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services that takes place on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. Now in its fourth year, the event has become a Southern California end-of-summer tradition over Labor Day Weekend that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

LA Fleet Week is organized by the LA Fleet Week Foundation, in partnership with the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles. Other LA Fleet Week 2019 sponsors include Ambassador Frank Baxter / Alliance Alice Baxter Ready School, Anchor Brewing Company, Annenberg Foundation, AT&T, Black Knight Patrol, Clear Channel, Collier Walsh Nakazawa LLP, Comcast, Dante Valve, Delta Airlines, Fast Lane Transportation, Humana, KRLA, LA County Veteran Peer Access Network, LA Department of Water and Power, LA Waterfront Alliance, Marathon Petroleum, Outfront Media, Paramount Pictures, Phillips 66, Princess Cruises. Providence Little Company of Mary, Qualcomm, Rancho LPG, Sailor Jerry Rum, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Boeing Company, UPS, USAA, Valero, Verizon, Vistaprint, Wells Fargo and Westrec Marinas.

Bennett’s War–Riding into theaters Nationwide August 30, 2019

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Movie poster for the movie Bennett's War

Opening in select theaters nationwide on August 30, 2019 is the independent feature, Bennett’s War. This exciting, edge-of-your-seat, thrill-ride of a film stars CMA Award®-winning music superstar and actor Trace Adkins and features some of the most exciting and death-defying professional motocross racing sequences captured on film in years! 

Bennett’s War is written and directed by Alex Ranarivelo (The Ride, Dirt, American Wrestler: The Wizard, Running Wild) and stars Michael Roark (Magic Mike, Beauty and the Beast), Trace Adkins (Deepwater Horizon), Ali Afshar (American Wrestler: The Wizard, Born to Race) and Allison Paige (The Flash, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”).

Forrest Lucas is the executive producer and Ali Afshar and Christina Moore are the producers.

Marshall Bennett (Michael Roark) is a young soldier with the Army Motorcycle Unit who survives an IED explosion in combat overseas, and is medically discharged with a broken back and leg and sent back to the U.S.

When he gets home to his family farm, he discovers that his dad, Cal Bennett (Trace Adkins), is behind in the mortgage and may lose the farm. Against all odds, Marshall Bennett pledges to help his family by the only means he knows how, as a motocross racer. Allison Paige plays Sophie Bennett, Marshall’s concerned wife, and Ali Afshar is Cyrus, Marshall’s mentor.

“This film has a wide appeal that showcases and supports our men and women in uniform and our brand of family values and entertainment,” said Scott Kennedy, President Worldwide Marketing & Distribution, Forrest Films.

Check out the trailer!

The Making of a Grandmaster

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The Grandmaster stands with medals around his neck and the American Flag in the backgrounf

By Annie Nelson

From mastering orthopedic surgery to becoming a nationally recognized Grandmaster in Martial Arts, this son of a Marine and twin of a fellow soldier, has gone from Army Chief Warrant 2 to Doctor left that successful career all behind to follow his true passion, the world of mixed martial arts.

Most veterans think one huge career transition in life is plenty; however, this man gave up the comfort and success of being a surgeon to fulfill the dream of his heart and soul. That transition proved to be the best yet! Enjoy getting to know Dr. Barry Broughton as much as I did when he sat down to tell me about his journey.

Tell me a bit about your military service.

I enlisted in the U.S. Army a couple of years after high school to take advantage of the Veterans Education Assistance Program. After Basic Training, AIT (Advanced Individual Training) as a Combat Medic, and Airborne School, I was able to squeeze in college courses, emergency medical technician and paramedic courses between deployments and training exercises at my first duty assignment in Germany. I was fortunate enough to attend numerous leadership schools such as PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course), BNCOC (Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course), and Warrant Officer Candidate School, and was selected to attend the Army Physician Assistant program that was affiliated with the University of Oklahoma at the time. After graduation from PA School, I served as a Battalion Medical Officer for Field Artillery and Armor Battalions. I left the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 after nine years of active duty service.

After leaving active duty, I had the amazing opportunity to continue to serve the military as a Department of the Army civilian while completing a two-year Orthopedic Surgery Training program at Evans Army Community Hospital at Ft. Carson, CO. I remained on staff in the Orthopedic Surgery Department for nine years before going into private practice.

You have a twin who also served, did you both know you wanted to serve growing up?

I can’t speak for my brother, but I don’t recall a specific desire to serve in the military while growing up. Even though my father served in the Marine Corp and was on Iwo Jima during WWII, and all my uncles had also served during WWII, it wasn’t something that my father spoke of. I didn’t realize it was a viable option until after being out of high school for a couple of years. My brother and I were both Eagle Scouts as teenagers, so I had a cursory understanding of serving others, leadership and serving something bigger than one’s self. But for me, it wasn’t until a mutual friend introduced me to a Corpsman in the Navy, who was home on leave, that I made the connection between getting an education while in the military and simultaneously serving our country. However, after attending Basic Training, AIT, jump school, and getting to my first duty assignment, I really began to understand what selfless service was about. At that point, obtaining an education became secondary to serving my country.

After serving you went into the medical field, was that always your plan?

No, not always. I wanted to be a professional martial artist. After watching the television series Kung Fu and the movie Billy Jack when I was ten or eleven years-old I was intrigued by the characters of Kwai Chang Caine and Billy Jack. I wanted to acquire that same duality of peace and power in my own life that the two of them possessed.

At nineteen, shortly after obtaining my first Black Belt, I expressed my desire to become a professional martial artist. Unfortunately, my dream was trampled into submission by those claiming it was impossible to make a living teaching Martial Arts.

I’d had a keen interest in the sciences while in high school, but I didn’t have the finances or family support to attend college at that time. After the serendipitous encounter with my Corpsman friend I enlisted in the Army three months later. What was initially intended to be a three-year enlistment began my twenty-five-year journey in healthcare and medicine. I continued in medicine because of the opportunities for training and more education. From Combat Medic to Paramedic, to Physician Assistant, to Orthopedic Surgery, PhD, and Integrative/Naturopathic Physician; it just seemed like the correct logical progression at the time.

At what point did you know you were leaving medicine for your true heart’s desire?

I had continued my martial arts training and was teaching intermittently for many years while in medicine. As the years rolled by and I put on my white lab coat day-after-day, it was slowly sucking the life out of me. It’s like getting on the wrong train; the longer that you are on the train the faster it gets moving, and the harder it is to jump off. But my time in the dojo teaching martial arts would reenergize and revitalize me. Even after the most long and arduous days of surgery and seeing patients at the office, when I was teaching martial arts in the evening, I felt alive, vibrant, and in my own element. It’s not that I disliked practicing medicine; I really enjoyed helping people, it just didn’t fulfill me. It was a job; not my passion. It’s difficult doing something that you are good at but not passionate about.

I’m a Martial Artist, and it’s who I’ve always been. Eleven years ago, I finally took the leap. I closed Barry Broughton Coaching a student at BKBHOFmy practice to focus on teaching full-time.

Previously, I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have the support network that I now have. I wouldn’t have been able to invest the demanding hours and travel schedule that has allowed me the level of success that I have now experienced in the martial arts industry if it weren’t for my amazing wife, my instructor staff, team members, Black Belts, and friends.

Have you ever regretted leaving your role as a successful doctor?

No, not really. That is the most common question that I get asked when people find out about my previous career. Even after 11 years of not practicing I still get phone calls at the dojo where former patients have hunted me down to ask for advice. I like having helped people, but I don’t miss the daily grind of medicine and the administrative component that accompanies patient care. On rare occasions I miss the technical aspects of doing orthopedic surgery or reducing a gnarly fracture or dislocation. But I think that is most likely because I’m a “hands-on” kind of guy. That’s probably why I have an affinity for jujitsu related martial arts. But I have never regretted taking the leap to become a full time professional martial artist.

What was your greatest challenge in stepping out and following your dreams?

Convincing others that I wasn’t crazy and going through a midlife crisis! Many of my family and friends thought it was too risky.

For good or bad, I tend to do everything in an all-or-nothing fashion. I burned my bridges by allowing my State and National Certifications, and DEA Licensures to expire, knowing that it would be extremely difficult to retake the licensing and certification exams. In hindsight, it was probably meant to be as symbolic to others as I had intended to be for me. By not having the mental safety net of knowing I had medical career to fall back on, I was forced to make my dream become a reality.

What has been your greatest reward?

That’s an easy one. Seeing lives changed! Whether I’m teaching an AKT Combatives Jujitsu class, a weekend self-defense and personal protection seminar, a Police Defensive Tactics course, or a leadership workshop, my objective is always to use the physical techniques of kicks, punches, throws, joint locks, and submissions as the medium to instill the intangibles of improved self-confidence, self-discipline, self-respect, goal setting, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

I’ve had a lot of personal successes and have coached Sport Jujitsu Regional, National and World Champions, but my greatest reward is empowering others to step into their own destiny. Investing in the lives of those who don’t necessarily see the potential for their own success motivates, drives and inspires me.

I feel that I am making a more significant impact in people’s lives now than I ever did while in the medical profession.

What advice would you give others who are in a career, but it is not their true passion?

That’s a tough call because there are so many variables that can prevent someone from leaving a career and converting their passion into their livelihood. I suspect that it was easier for me because I was already self-employed. To start, I’d suggest doing your research and due diligence. Is your passion something that others would want, and would pay for? Get the education and training needed. Do the hard part and learn the business side of your passion. Find a couple of good mentors who will hold you accountable. Start off by working your passion on a part time basis. As it grows, be willing to work two full time jobs as you make your transition. Understand that all passions cannot easily be converted into careers, and that’s okay. Above all, surround yourself with a good support network and team who will not only cheer for your successes but will also call your bluff when you need it.

What does the future hold for you and AKT Combatives Jujitsu?

Wow! Where do I start? I currently own two academies in New York with instructor staff at both locations. I am actively mentoring my Black Belt students who have an entrepreneurial spirit in preparing them open their own AKT Combatives Academies.

I’ve written a bestselling book, Beyond Self-Defense: AKT Combatives Reality-Based Personal Protection and am currently working on several follow-up books and instructional video projects. I have the privilege of traveling around the country teaching AKT Combatives Jujitsu, Self-Defense and Personal Protection, Workplace Violence Prevention, Police Defensive Tactics, and Sport Jujitsu seminars. We are also currently preparing Team AKT members for the upcoming 2019 World Sport Jujitsu Championships.

How can people follow Barry Broughton?

You can follow me on Facebook.com/BarryBroughtonAKTjujitsu, on Instagram @BarryABroughton, or at my website at AKTcombatives.com.

Ford, ROUSH Unveil One-of-a-Kind ‘Old Crow’ Mustang GT to be Auctioned for EAA Aviation Programs at AirVenture 2019

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Ford and Roush Performance today unveil the 2019 “Old Crow” Mustang GT, a charity collaboration project which pays homage to World War II triple ace pilot Colonel Bud Anderson of the U.S. Army Air Force and the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter planes he flew in combat – nicknamed “Old Crow.”

This one-of-one Mustang will be auctioned at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2019 AirVenture air show on July 25 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. All proceeds will be donated to support EAA’s youth and adult aviation programs, many of which help prepare the next generation of America’s great pilots.

Built by Roush Performance, the “Old Crow” Mustang GT features a custom paint scheme and badging replicating Col. Anderson’s iconic P-51 Mustang fighter plane. A custom Roush grille with P-51 Mustang badge adorns the front, the words “Old Crow” are written on the hood and an authentic Eighth Air Force emblem badge adorns the decklid panel.

Performance in the “Old Crow” Mustang GT comes by way of a Ford and Roush Performance TVS R2650 supercharger, which boosts the 5.0-liter V8 engine to 710 horsepower and 610 lb.-ft. of torque. Other performance upgrades include a Roush Performance cold air induction system and X pipe, plus a custom active exhaust system from Ford Performance.

The “Old Crow” Mustang uses Ford’s MagneRide® damping system and puts power to the ground through a set of custom 20-inch lightweight Roush wheels wrapped in 275/35R Continental ExtremeContact sport tires.

Exterior enhancements include Roush rear fascia aerofoils, Ford Performance front racing spoiler, 2020 Mustang Shelby® GT500® rear spoiler, custom heat extractors on the hood and blue rainbow tinted exhaust tips that emulate the exhaust on the P-51 Mustang planes.

Inside the cabin, a fully custom, aircraft-inspired interior features unique military-themed green leather and canvas and red shifter nob and door handles. “P-51” is written on the passenger-side dashboard. The vehicle includes Sparco four-point harness as well as aluminum rear seat-delete.

“Heroes like Col. Bud Anderson have become true living legends in the 75 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy,” said Craig Metros, Ford design director. “Ford is proud to team up with Roush Performance to honor Col. Anderson and all of the brave servicemen and servicewomen who risked their lives during World War II, all while raising funds for the Experimental Aircraft Association, which helps make flying more accessible to America’s youth.”

Col. Anderson achieved more than 16 aerial victories in Europe during World War II. He flew 116 combat missions, including a six-hour mission on D-Day. He was never struck by enemy fire or forced to withdraw from an aerial engagement during his career. Col. Anderson’s service earned him more than 25 decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal.

Roush Enterprises founder and aviation enthusiast Jack Roush, Sr. honored Col. Anderson in 1994 by fully re-creating an authentic P-51 Mustang aircraft with the same badging and paint scheme as the Anderson’s “Old Crow” Mustang plane.

“It is truly special to have the opportunity to honor a great American hero and a truly great friend of mine such as Col. Bud Anderson,” said Roush, Sr.. “My father instilled in me a love of aviation and a deep respect for the brave pilots and airmen of World War II. Building this incredible ‘Old Crow’ Mustang, especially to support the next generation of America’s pilots, has been a very rewarding opportunity and one that we’re proud to share with the world.”

The “Old Crow” Mustang GT will be displayed during EAA’s AirVenture show from July 22-28. EAA AirVenture guests can get an up-close look before the car is auctioned on July 25 at the annual EAA AirVenture auction – The Gathering.

EAA AirVenture attracts more than 600,000 aviation enthusiasts to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin every year. Ford has supported EAA AirVenture for 21 years, building and donating 11 custom-designed vehicles to help raise more than $3.5 million to date.

These include the 2018 Eagle Squadron Mustang, 2016 “Ole Yeller” Mustang and 2015 Mustang Apollo Edition. Ford’s highest-selling vehicle auctioned at AirVenture is the 2008 Mustang AV8R, which sold for $500,000.

“Ford and Roush Performance are helping build the next generation of aviation through their support of EAA, AirVenture and The Gathering,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This project not only will be a highlight of The Gathering; its impact will help EAA reach those who are pursuing their own dreams of flight.”

Bidding at “The Gathering” auction is open to all interested parties. Bids can be made in person or remotely online.

To learn more about the “Old Crow” Mustang GT and Roush Performance’s full line of vehicles and performance products, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com/. Further information on Ford Motor Company is available at www.Ford.com/. For bidding information on “Old Crow,” call 920.426.6573.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 196,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.Corporate.Ford.com.

About ROUSH Performance
ROUSH Performance was founded in 1995 by motorsports legend Jack Roush, the winningest name in racing.  Combining performance engineering with entrepreneurship, ROUSH began selling designs he had created for his own team to the wider world of motorsports. Based out of Plymouth Township, Michigan, ROUSH Performance, a division of Roush Enterprises, designs, engineers and manufactures completely assembled pre-titled vehicles, aftermarket performance parts, and superchargers for the global performance enthusiast market. For more on ROUSH please call 1.800.59.ROUSH or visit www.ROUSHperformance.com.

About EAA
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 220,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to EAA.org

Veterans’ retreat gets boost from Massachusetts company

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1A Auto owner hands over keys to car

The SUV that Rick Green drove his newborn babies home in will now be packed with heroes, he said in Maine last week, handing over the car keys to a Maine organization that provides a free getaway vacation for wounded veterans and their families.

His Westford-based automotive company, 1A Auto, donated a Chevrolet Equinox to the Travis Mills Foundation in rural Rome, Maine. The car will transport veterans and their families from the airport to the retreat, a key need for the nonprofit. (pictured: Mike Green, co-owner of 1A Auto, hands over the keys to Brandy Cain, the executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation in Rome, Maine.

“This helps bring us some much-needed relief,” Brandy Cain, executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation, said as Rick and his brother Mike pulled up in the 2008 teal SUV. “There’s a lot of good people who are really good to us.

“That looks awesome,” she added, speaking to the owners of 1A Auto. “I’m excited to drive your baby.”

The SUV is one of the first cars that 1A Auto bought at auction. The company then changed more than 100 car parts, as seen in their how-to videos online.

“Instead of selling back at auction, we wanted to start giving cars to organizations and veterans who really need them,” said Rick, whose father flew massive C-5 transport planes in the Air Force. “This is just the first one we’ll donate, a very special one.”

Rick, who ran for Congress in the 3rd District last year, recently asked his public relations manager John MacDonald if there was a veterans organization that could use a vehicle. MacDonald, a veteran and member of the Lowell-based Veterans Assisting Veterans, reached out to the Travis Mills Foundation — and the nonprofit confirmed they needed a car.

Before heading to Maine, 1A Auto brought the car to Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, where students helped inspect and tune up the SUV.

At the retreat — founded by an Army sergeant who lost portions of his arms and legs in Afghanistan — veterans and their families can get massages, canoe, kayak, participate in adaptive rope courses, read books from the Barbara Bush Foundation, eat lobster and more.

“They tell us this is better than Disneyland, the best family vacation they’ve ever had. We get that a lot,” Cain said. “Many injured veterans can’t go on a traditional vacation, but here, they can actually be an active part of the family because we have all the adaptive equipment.”

The nonprofit serves about 200 veterans and their families each year. They raised $3.5 million last year to cover all costs for the attendees.

To volunteer and donate to the Travis Mills Foundation, visit travismillsfoundation.org.

The Gary Sinise Foundation Changes Another Life: U.S. Army SPC Tyler Jeffries Receives New Smart Home with Tech from Nortek Security & Control

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Disabled veteran sitting in wheelchair in his smart home with disability access

Following in the footsteps of his Navy-veteran father and Air Force-veteran brother, Tyler Jeffries proudly enlisted in the U.S Army in January 2010. After two years of training with the Attack Company 2-1 Infantry Battalion in Ft. Lewis, Washington, Jeffries deployed to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province In April 2012 where, just six months later, in October 2012, Jeffries’ life changed forever when an improvised explosive device explosion took both of his legs.

For Jeffries, this was not a defeat, but merely a setback, and he took his first steps with prosthetic legs after just 44 days, following nearly 30 surgeries.

Jeffries’ story caught the attention of the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program, which recognized his sacrifice and selected him to receive a new specially adapted smart home in North Carolina, complete with home automation, entertainment, and security technologies from Nortek Security & Control.

Brian Berg, Principal at electronics integration firm Interactive Interiors, designed and installed the home’s technology infrastructure and ELAN control system to provide Jeffries and his family with tools that simplify common household activities and give Tyler added freedom and independence.

“Thanks to the ELAN Control System in this specially-adapted home, SPC Jeffries can easily control lights, music, TV, security, door locks, surveillance, and window shades from anywhere in the home,” Berg said.

Using the simple, intuitive interface in the ELAN mobile app, two wall-mounted ELAN touch panels,RISE-smart home or one of four ELAN HR30 remotes, Jeffries and his family have total dominion over the electronic system in the home. Multiple TVs and several zones of multi-room audio can be turned on and controlled instantly, while property-wide Lutron lighting and motorized window shades are also just a touch away. The home’s climate is controlled with four ELAN thermostats creating distinct automated HVAC zones that can be adjusted right from the ELAN app.

“Tyler loves gaming, so he was really excited about the man cave we designed with a 75” TV and 7.1 surround sound system with SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers and a Sunfire subwoofer,” Berg said. “We added custom scenes based on their needs, such as lighting scenes for nighttime that automate multiple rooms and hallways through a single button, or a ‘Movie’ scene that automatically turns on the TV, selects a source, turns down the lights and lowers the motorized window shades. For Tyler, who is most often in a wheelchair while at home, this makes life more enjoyable and saves huge amounts of time for those daily tasks most people take for granted.”

The outdoor lighting is controlled as well, including a spot light on the large American flag in front of the home, and special pathway lights that emit bug spray on command through the ELAN app. The flagpole spotlight is programmed to turn on for morning and evening, and automatically turn off during daytime.

Security was a top concern for Jeffries, so having instant access to the home’s robust 2GIG security system and 10 ELAN surveillance cameras was a huge deal. Whether they are at home, at the grocery store, or halfway around the world, the family can easily view live feeds from the cameras in the ELAN mobile app and review video from the digital video recorder, all without leaving the ELAN app. Because the 2GIG security panel is fully integrated into the ELAN system, an “event” identified by a 2GIG sensor automatically alerts the surveillance system to display the appropriate video feed to the ELAN app. Three of the home’s doors feature electronic door locks that can be opened through the ELAN app, and the two garage doors are remotely accessible as well.

“They love the system,” Berg added, “and they frequently show it off when new people visit the house. It really delivers a much higher standard of living, allowing Tyler and his family to interact with their home in a more natural way that alleviates stress and provides greater comfort, convenience and peace of mind. We were thrilled to play a role in improving this hero’s life and provide modern technologies to give him greater self-sufficiency.”

With daily home life relying on integrated technologies, Interactive Interiors made sure to protect all the equipment with a Panamax M4315-PRO power conditioner and a Panamax MB1500 UPS. The power system includes BlueBOLT remote technology, so the integrator can schedule power cycles of log in remotely should a connected subsystem experience an issue. This expedites service calls and further simplifies reliable operation for the family.

The brain of the system is the ELAN gSC10 system controller, with four additional ELAN g1 controllers providing on-screen display and local control for four TVs. The surveillance system records to a 4TB ELAN NVR, while an ELAN 4K 4×4 matrix offers video distribution for centralized sources such as cable boxes and a Blu-ray player.

In addition to adding scenes and specialized automation, Berg also expects to install more surveillance cameras and potentially add voice control as another easy means of system management.

“Tyler loved that the system can grow and expand to do almost anything they want,” Berg said. “Whether that ends up being voice control, additional security or lighting, or more complex scenes that perform a host of functions from a single button, his ELAN system can do it all.”

About ELAN

ELAN, from Nortek Security & Control, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award. The new ELAN Intelligent Touch Panels add face recognition and voice control for a truly intelligent home experience. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control

Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed more than 5 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, Linear®, GoControl®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, security dealers, technology integrators and consumers.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC has over 50 years of innovation and is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

Other brand names and product names mentioned herein may be the trademarks, tradenames, service marks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.