Needless to say, I have a lot to be grateful for. My wife, my daughter, my family. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them and I know now, more than ever, that I am one of the lucky ones. Suicide rates are embarrassingly high, disability claim wait times are so long that some have been waiting for compensation longer than the length of their deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. PTSD is still a scary four letter 'word'.
Should I continue? We all know the score. Our struggles are the legacy cost of a decade of war. A decade that saw the burden of waging war fall on the shoulders of 1% of our population. The military community has become more and more isolated from the general public in spite of the best efforts of advocates everywhere. It makes me wonder: With all of the high-profile advocacy going on out there, why aren't there more 'boots on the ground'? What I see is tons of advocacy groups spending a lot of money and time marketing themselves and their image. I don't see advocates in the crowd wearing t-shirts, bracelets. I don't see fundraising efforts on TV like they used to have for Jerry's Kids. I see the same partisan gridlock in DC fouling up everything they touch (sequestration caused suspension of tuition assistance for our active duty service members).
Most importantly, I have seen too many veterans that are tired of the frustration of the VA, politics, PTSD stigma, and unemployment just give up and let themselves fall through the cracks.
You all know what I'm talking about. It hurts my heart to see it happen, day in and day out.
It just feeds my fire. I will not submit. I will not give in. Instead, I will give back.
By now, you all know about my intentions to start my own non-profit. I have received pledges of $1835 towards my minimum goal of $5000 that I need to make it a reality. I've gotten this far with your support. I can't move forward without it. Let's do the math:
What would happen if everyone pledged just $10 each?
I have asked myself a thousand times why I made it back and others didn't. We all know that surviving war is like playing Russian Roulette. What they don't tell you is the guilt you will have to live with if you survive. It took me a long time to work up the courage to do this. It was in large part because of the guilt. I felt like I would be 'taking advantage' of those in need. Stupid Survivor's Guilt. I know now that my cause is just and noble. The only way I can do more is by having the resources to make an impact. Help me start small. On this day, of all days, help arm me to fight for those that suffer in silence. Let me advocate for those too hurt to fight for themselves.
Yours in Health,