Showing posts with label humanitarian missions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humanitarian missions. Show all posts

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Chainsaws, shovels and muscle brought to bear by an Ohio militia

Ohio's militias are armed and ready, with good intent they say

The Plain Dealer
By Brian Albrecht
July 28, 2019
But there are militias that say they support the government and exist to serve as a citizen’s defense force in the historical sense of these groups. Armed, yes, but also prepared and trained to respond to disasters or local community needs.
Members of the Irregulars of Ohio Reserve Militia take a break for a photo with personnel of the Life’s Little Adventures Farm in Wooster, where militia members cleared fallen trees and foliage in May to help the facility that uses rescued animals in therapeutic programs for children, and veterans recovering from PTSD. (Brian Albrecht/The Plain Dealer)
CLEVELAND, Ohio — This is the militia: Men and women clad in camos, carrying semi-automatic rifles, stalking the woodlands, shredding targets, prepping for worst-case scenarios.

And this is the militia: Two militia members arrested and charged in Cincinnati earlier this year for allegedly making bombs; a militia leader arrested and charged with firearms possession by a felon in April after a video showed his group detaining migrants in New Mexico at gunpoint; two members of a Illinois militia pleading guilty in January to bombing a Minnesota mosque; three Kansas militia men convicted last year of plotting to blow up an apartment complex where Somali refugees lived.

And this: Chainsaws, shovels and muscle brought to bear by an Ohio militia to help clean up tornado-ravaged areas of Dayton, and an overgrown farm in Wooster that offers therapeutic programs to treat traumatized families and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The recent history of private militias in Ohio and the United States has been fraught with confrontation and violence.
read it here

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

“Candy Bomber” — will always be a hero in the eyes of the German children

'Candy bomber' joins tens of thousands on base for 70th anniversary of Berlin Airlift’s end

Published: June 10, 2019

WIESBADEN, Germany — Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen — better known in these parts as the “Candy Bomber” — will always be a hero in the eyes of the German children who grew up in postwar Berlin, no matter how old they grow.
Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen greets spectators after arriving at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the end of the Berlin Airlift at Clay Kaserne airfield, Monday, June 10, 2019. BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Seventy years after the lifting of the Soviet blockade that cut off the German capital from food, fuel and other essential supplies, those children still remember the delight of a chocolate bar tied to a makeshift parachute dropping from the sky.

On Monday, amid a grand celebration at Clay Kaserne airfield to commemorate the end of the Berlin Airlift, some of those children, now well into their 70s, thanked Halvorsen for an act that not only took the edge off their hunger but gave them hope during the bleak years after World War II.

“I’m very, very thankful,” Vera Mitschrich, who was 5 when the largest postwar relief operation began, told Halvorsen on Monday. “I’m so proud of you. You gave us hope. You gave us food. I never, never will forget you.”
read more here

Thursday, October 4, 2018

After Soldier was robbed, he got more donations than needed, and gave it away!

Soldier Whose House Was Looted Gives Away Money Raised for Him: 'I Wanted to Show Kindness'
October 04, 2018
In just 11 days, the fundraiser reached nearly $15,000 — surpassing Capron’s $5,000 goal. Ocampo and Finch said they were astonished to receive so much. “It was overwhelming,” Finch tells PEOPLE. “It was way more than we needed.”
Army medic Luis Ocampo returned from the front lines of Hurricane Florence in September to find his house looted, and some of his family’s most cherished possessions stolen. Now, after generous well-wishers donated money to replace his losses, Ocampo is giving away most of the money that was raised for him.

“We got more than we expected, and felt that it was our responsibility to show someone that same kindness that so many showed us,” Ocampo, 24, tells PEOPLE.

Ocampo left his home in Charlotte last month when his unit from the North Carolina National Guard was called to help with hurricane relief. Ocampo spent days in New Bern, a riverfront city ravaged by the storm.

With Ocampo gone, his girlfriend Kailey Finch and their infant son also left home.
read more here

Monday, June 11, 2018

Jake Wood, Team RUBICON Founder to be honored

U.S. Marines Sgt. Jake Wood, Co-Founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, to Receive Pat Tillman Award for Service at The 2018 ESPYS on July 18 on ABC
By Tara Chozet
Posted on June 11, 2018

Jake Wood was a freshman offensive lineman with the Wisconsin Badgers when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. Inspired by the first responders who risked their lives while trying to help others, and by former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman’s selfless sacrifice, Wood joined the United States Marine Corps. He was eventually promoted to Sergeant and served four years in Iraq and Afghanistan, deployed as a Scout Sniper.

Wood earned the Navy-Marine Commendation Medal during his time of service, and since being honorably discharged from the Marines in 2009, Wood has committed to advocating for veterans in the United States. He has actively lobbied Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on veteran transition and disaster response and has testified before a Senate committee on improving mental health services for veterans. For his dedication to serving others, Wood, the co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by Bonobos when The 2018 ESPYS presented by Capital One air live Wednesday, July 18, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Upon returning to civilian life, Wood saw the difficulties some veterans struggled with upon leaving active duty. But on January 10, 2010, Wood found a way to help veterans and also assist those in greatest need. On that day, disaster struck Haiti in the form of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. When he saw the devastation left in the wake of the tremor, Wood and fellow Marine William McNulty galvanized a group of veterans, first responders and medical workers and headed to the island nation with supplies in tow. This marked the beginning of Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transitioning veterans from military service to disaster response and relief. Team Rubicon leverages veterans’ existing skill sets to rapidly deploy emergency response teams while providing veterans with a sense of purpose, community and identity.
read more here

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Saint of Skid Row...Marine Who Was Homeless Too

The saint of Skid Row: How Marine veteran, 67, who became a homeless alcoholic after the death of his wife transformed his life and has spent 15 years helping the masses of huddled on LA's sidewalks
The Daily Mail
By Regina F. Graham For
22 January 2018
The Marine veteran previously was an alcoholic living on the streets following the death of his wife, Lois, more than a decade ago. That left him feeling lost, and even more so after two of his fingers were severed when he fell off a building while working as an electrician.

Blassingame (right) has provided hundreds and hundreds of people with a labyrinth of resources including finding showers, hot meals, clean clothes, social services, medical or dental treatment, drafting resumes for those seeking employment and more
Wendell Blassingame has dedicated his life to helping the homeless on Skid Row
The 67-year-old sits at a table inside San Julian Park and tells people where to find showers, hot meals, clean clothes, housing, drafting resumes
The Marine Veteran used to be a homeless alcoholic in the area until he turned his life around and decided to work for those in need in Skid Row
His efforts are needed even more now since homelessness increased 26 per cent in 2017 as one in four homeless people in America live in the city
Wendell Blassingame has found his purpose in life: helping others in the City of Angels.

For the past 15 years, the 67-year-old can be found sitting at a table inside Skid Row’s San Julian Park where he helps anyone who needs it, free of charge.

He has provided hundreds of desperate people find access showers, hot meals, clean clothes, social services, medical or dental treatment. He has even drafted resumes for those seeking work.

‘I’m in the business of trying to set an example as a resource assisting individuals with housing and anything else they might need,’ Blassingame told while sitting at his table in the crowded San Julian Park.

‘Last year I placed 159 people in housing by myself. I’ve dedicated my life to make this a community.’

His valuable and selfless work in Skid Row is needed even more now: homelessness in Los Angeles rose 26 per cent in 2017 as one in four homeless people in America live in the city, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Homelessness in Skid Row has long been an issue for California dating back to the 1930s where an estimated 10,000 people were living on the streets in the community. Historical articles during that time period state that many of the transient people worked as seasonal laborers. Over the years, officials and police have conducted several crackdowns on vagrants which resulted in hundreds of arrests, but the problem still persists.
read more here

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sailor Went From Submarine to KIA Saving Lives--On Vacation

Submariner stranded in Puerto Rico delivered critical aid in his mom's sedan

The Virginia Pilot
Brock Vergakis
December 25, 2017
While the Navy sent helicopters, ships and doctors from Hampton Roads to help, Rivera was simply on vacation. He managed to get to an Army Reserve Center base, secured orders to temporarily join a military police battalion there, then was given an incredible autonomy to help in a way few others could – all without ever wearing a uniform.

Joel Rivera, right, shown here in a photo from 2011, aboard a submarine during a submarine rescue exercise as part of Bold Monarch 2011.RICARDO J. REYES/U.S. NAVY PHOTO 
NORFOLK — Joel Rivera rumbled down dirt roads in his mother’s Kia Forte weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico – on a mission for the U.S. military that he never imagined when he joined the Navy 14 years ago as a submariner.
Dressed in civilian clothing, Rivera and his cousin drove through mountains searching for islanders needing food and water who were out of reach because large trucks couldn’t use debris-filled and washed-out roads. He’d drop off what little provisions he could carry in the four-door sedan and – whenever he could get a cell phone signal – report to military officials on the island about the hardest-hit areas.
“I’d really just pick a spot on a map that was secluded,” he said. “At this point the government was handing out food and water to the cities.
“I wanted to take care of the places where they were overlooking.” 
read more here

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fort Hood Soldier Took Plunge to Feed Hungry

Fort Hood soldier swims more than 6 miles, raises money for charity

Killeen Daily Herald
Julie A. Ferraro 
November 24, 2017
McQueen’s nickname is “Swim Gypsy.” She has traveled across the country — from San Francisco to Vermont — participating in open-water swim events ranging from one mile to over 45 miles in length.

Tiffany McQueen begins swimming a 10K in Belton Lake, near Dead Fish Grill, to raise money for Killeen's Food Care Center in Belton on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2017.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald 
Tiffany McQueen was sore on Friday, but it was a good kind of sore.

After swimming more than six miles in Belton Lake on Thanksgiving Day, McQueen, a Fort Hood soldier, raised over $1,200 for Killeen’s Food Care Center.
“We couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions,” McQueen said of her swim. The water was calm, and the air temperature not too chilly.
McQueen started and ended her swim at the Dead Fish Grill. The restaurant was open for Thanksgiving, and had information about the swim for diners to see. 
read more here

Sunday, October 1, 2017

USS Kirk Crew Honored for Rescues After Vietnam War

Vietnam Veterans Recognized for Rescuing More Than 30,000 Refugees
NBC 4 News
Brie Stimson
Liberty Zabala
October 1, 2017

"If I wasn’t there, if the Navy chose not to send me, they would have been all killed…there’s no question in my mind,” Vietnam veteran CAPT Paul Jacobs told NBC 7.
Jacobs and the crew of the USS Kirk received two congressional commendations from the U.S. government at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park this weekend for their role in leading the effort to save more than 30,000 Vietnamese veterans near the end of the war.

Saturday was the first time the crew had been recognized formally by the U.S. government. The ceremony included dignitaries and congressional, county and city officials.

On April 30, 1975, Jacobs was told to return to the coast to rescue what was left of the South Vietnamese Navy.
read more here

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thank You Florida National Guard!

When you read this report and watch the videos, remember, they left their own families to take care of the rest of us! "Thank you" is just not enough to say! 

National Guard provides support across Florida

News 4 Jax
Kent Justice
September 15, 2017

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - The men and women serving at Florida National Guard headquarters are thousands of the state’s neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, this group is providing support across Florida. The Guard’s emergency operations headquarters is at Camp Blanding in Clay County.

“Our main job here is to help the citizens of (the) state,” Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Watson said. “I mean, I'm a citizen of the state of Florida. So all we're doing is helping our brothers and sisters inside the state.”
Watson lives in St. Augustine. One of his commanding officers is from St. Johns County. His colleagues hail from across the Sunshine State.
read more here

Florida National Guard distributing food and water in Fort Myers

Florida National Guard distributing food and water in Fort Myers after Hurricane Irma. Food and water distribution centers are scattered across Southwest Florida to help those in need after Hurricane Irma left the majority of the population without power and displaced.

UCF Hosts Florida National Guard After Hurricane Irma

UCF has answered the call of Gov. Rick Scott to host the National Guard on campus as it uses the football facilities, including Spectrum Stadium, to stage its recovery operations efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Texas Physician Volunteers Sleep on Clinic Floors to Care for Harvey Survivors

Mosquitoes, Medicine and Mold: Texas Battles Post-Harvey Health Issues
NBC News
September 9, 2017

Zika mosquito 'heaven'

So far, there's no big epidemic to cope with. The Harris County Health Department had to squelch rumors that plague was being spread by flood waters. Plague is carried by fleas, not in water.
Dr. Luke LeBas works on a patient at Code 3 ER and Urgent Care in Rockport, Texas. For-profit and free clinics alike across southeast Texas are struggling to cope with a deluge of patients after Harvey's floods devastated communities. Danado Saltarelli, RN / Courtesy Dr. Luke LeBas

Dr. Carrie de Moor has a nasty cough, and she’s not sure if it's allergies or one of the common respiratory infections that have been spreading since Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas late last month.

She's been sleeping in a trailer adjacent to her free-standing emergency room and urgent care clinic in Rockport, Texas, which was devastated by Harvey’s winds and flood waters. The clinic had only been open for two weeks when Harvey hit. De Moor is home in Dallas now for a few days with her children but will soon head back to the clinic, which is overwhelmed by people crowding in for stitches, tetanus shots, ear infections and skin rashes.

"We were seeing numbers outpacing anything we were prepared to take care of," said de Moor, an ER physician who is CEO of Code 3 ER and Urgent Care.
Physician volunteers have been cramming into the trailer and sleeping on the clinic floors as they tend to as many as 90 patients a day.
read more here

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Florida Needs to Learn From Harvey's Mistakes Preparing for Irma

Harvey victims can't always get life-saving aid easily, volunteers lament

FOX News
Hollie McKay
September 6, 2017

After Hurricane Harvey slammed ashore almost two weeks ago, scores of Americans made their way to Texas – but offering a helping hand in crisis is far from straightforward, which has left many volunteers frustrated and disheartened.
Water bottles waiting to be delivered to those in need after Hurricane Harvey.

Major players from the Texas National Guard and Texas State Troopers to the Red Cross, FEMA, Salvation Army quickly dispatched into the disaster zone, along with police, church groups, local and state aid groups and other well-intentioned people, quickly creating a chaos akin to too many cooks in the kitchen. It left assets and supplies languishing.

“We were trying to help a small community of people without food, water or electricity and had little contact with rescuers to receive supplies. They were very upset,” Chris Fiore, a 20-year-old volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Texas native, told Fox News this week from Deweyville, Texas – a small town about 110 miles northeast of Houston washed out by floods. 

“But we were told by police that they couldn’t let anyone in and didn’t seem to have a good reason behind it. We had cases of water, MREs, dog food and basic sanitary items – we just wanted to bring people supplies. It was impossible for me just to sit in my house while people are in need.”

Fiore was joined by five well-trained U.S. military veterans that had aligned with Southeast Texas (SETX) Disaster Relief. One of those veterans told Fox News that for the first couple of days they routinely saw and heard law enforcement personnel actively turning away volunteer search-and-rescue organizations with supplies or information about people who needed help.
read more here

Monday, August 28, 2017

Home Depot Foundation Commits $1 Million to Help Texas Recover

Remember our friends with the Home Depot Foundation showing up to help veterans? Well they're at it again! This time they are responding to Texas after Harvey hit them hard.

The Home Depot Foundation Commits $1 Million to Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Efforts

ATLANTAAug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Home Depot® Foundation today announced its commitment of $1 million to support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana.
Funds will be distributed to several nonprofit partners including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon to support both short-term relief and rebuilding needs.
"Our hearts and full support go out to our communities, customers and associates that are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey," said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. "The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot volunteers will work alongside our disaster relief partners to assist the people and areas impacted by this catastrophic storm."
In addition to helping the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Foundation's employee assistance program, The Homer Fund, will provide emergency financial assistance to associates who have been affected by this tragedy.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Veteran Says "I think for years I didn’t really want to come back"

Some combat veterans are drawn to risk. Here's how to keep them alive and free.
USA Today
Patrick Mondaca, Opinion contributor
July 3, 2017
I was discharged from the Army in 2004 following my deployment to Iraq, and the way back has been long. I think for years I didn’t really want to come back. The military gave me a sense of belonging and purpose and normalcy that I lacked in civilian life. And I didn’t find those things again until I went to Darfur with a humanitarian group in 2007.
There need not be more senseless veteran deaths or captivities in war-torn countries. The time has come to think outside the traditional.

Austin Tice was a former Marine Corps captain and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who left for Syria prior to completing his final year of Georgetown Law School. Tice was captured by unknown armed actors in Syria while working as a freelance journalist in August 2012. He remains in captivity to this day.

Peter Kassig, a former Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq War, was captured in Syria in 2013 and executed a year later by ISIS militants. Kassig had founded the nongovernmental organization Special Emergency Response and Assistance to help aid refugees in Syria and Lebanon in 2012.

I’ve often wondered what compels veterans like Tice and Kassig to take such risks in their post-war lives. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) spoke of his own fondness for risk-taking in a letter to a friend just 15 days before dying in a motorcycle wreck. “In speed we hurl ourselves beyond the body,” he wrote. “Our bodies cannot scale the heavens except in a fume of petrol. Bones, blood, flesh, all pressed inward together.”
read more here

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ex-Special Forces Soldier Captured on Video Saving Child


Milwaukee Navy SEAL veteran shot while helping humanitarian group rescue girl from ISIS gunfire 
Maddie Koss 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Published 9:21 a.m. CT July 19, 2017 

Check out the story and video here, then look at the one reported a month ago.

Am I out of my mind or is this the same story with different names and dates?

Video shows ex-Special Forces soldier-turned-aid worker dodge ISIS sniper fire to save little girl during battle for Mosul
FOX News 
By Maryse Godden
Published June 19, 2017
A former U.S. Special Forces soldier has been captured on camera braving ISIS gunshots to rescue a young Iraqi girl from the line of fire.

David Eubank, who works as an aid worker, was in the worn-torn northern Iraq city of Mosul when he saved the youngster’s life.

The 56-year-old, who founded the Free Burma Rangers, told the Los Angeles Times he spotted the small child among bodies of dozens of civilians killed by ISIS snipers as they tried to flee.
read more here

Friday, December 16, 2016

Fort Carson Operation Stryker Christmas

Hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers help the homeless during Operation Stryker Christmas
FOX 21 News
By Angela Case and Lauren McDonald
Published: December 15, 2016,

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers delivered items to those in need during the annual Operation Stryker Christmas Thursday morning.

About 350 soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team carried donated goods from Fort Carson to the Marian House Soup Kitchen in downtown Colorado Springs. They started the 25-mile ‘Manchu Mile’ Wednesday evening and arrived at Marion House Thursday morning.

The Manchu Mile commemorates the 85-mile march the 9th regiment completed during the Boxer Rebellion in July 1900.

Another 1,400 soldiers with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team marched from Dorchester Park to Marian House Thursday with rucksacks full of donated goods.

All of the items were donated by soldiers and their families.
read more here

Monday, July 25, 2016

Veteran Marine Survived Deployments, Cancer And Still Thinks of Others

Former Marine Saves Up to Make Big Gift to Food Bank
Associated Press
by Ben Muir
Jul 25, 2016

Skorna left the Marines in 2011 after four years of active duty, but he said the time he spent in stricken areas fueled his desire to donate.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Thurston County Food Bank receives emails from people who want to help every day. Some offer an egg carton or loaf of bread. Others help wash cars or give cash donations, usually $10 to $50. Wealthier local residents sometimes make donations in the range of $1,000 or $2,000, reported The Olympian.

So when Fran Potasnik, a full-time volunteer at the food bank, checked her inbox and found an email from another prospective donor in April, she didn't think much of it.

Until she opened it and read, "Hi my name is John, and I plan on giving $10,000."

John Skorna, 27, vowed to donate the $10,000 to the food bank's summer lunch program. Potasnik told him a gift like that would provide 2,762 lunches — 20 percent of the 10,777 meals distributed to kids every summer.

"I thought, 'OK, what is this guy?'" Potasnik said. "I then forwarded it to the director and said, 'I don't know if this is for real or not.'"

"My first thought was a little bit of skepticism, but not in a negative way," Food Bank Director Robert Coit said. "John's email had a sense of sincerity and passion. Both Fran and I felt there was something about it that seemed real."

Skorna wrote to Coit that he had most of the $10,000, but would need more time to collect the rest. Coit said he understood and reminded him that no matter the amount, any donation is noble and they would be grateful.

"He's the epitome of what a service person looks like," Ravancho said. "He'll do selfless things with integrity, and he doesn't need someone to say thank you. He could have come in here, given the check and left without saying a word to anyone. That would have been enough for him."
read more here

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Australia "Overwatch" Tracking Social Media to Save Veterans

'Overwatch' group prevents veteran suicides by monitoring social media, sending in the troops
ABC Australia
By Louise Merrillees
Posted Fri April 29, 2016

"I've had my bad moments when I've been pretty low, and they've sent vets to come and find me. From what I can see, they've prevented an awful lot of suicides from happening."

PHOTO: Ex-serviceman Trevor Dineen receives support from veterans at his local RSL. (ABC News: Louise Merrillees)
Trevor Dineen, a 31-year-old ex-serviceman, is talking about Overwatch Australia, a national organisation that intervenes when defence force veterans show mental health warning signs.

Overwatch, a military term that means one unit providing cover or support to another unit, has more than 4,500 volunteers Australia-wide, who have served with the Australia Defence Force.

The organisation describes itself as a "peer-to-peer, boots-on-the-ground, rapid-response organisation formed to assist former ADF members who are at risk or in crisis".

Robert Harris is the national president of Overwatch, while Marc Kirwin is the national coordinator. Both of them served in the Army.

Mr Harris said Overwatch was all about a quick response when warning signs became obvious.

"Once we have someone's address, we can put boots on the ground in 30 minutes," he said.

Overwatch focusing on Rwandan and Somali vets

Mr Kwinan said Overwatch was focusing on veterans from the Rwandan and Somali peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

"Those guys are wracked with guilt. The rules of engagement were totally different - they couldn't engage unless they were in direct harm's way or fired upon.

"They saw women and children slaughtered in front of them. And the militia are standing there looking at them smiling and knowing they couldn't do anything about it.
read more here

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Team Rubicon Picking Up Community in Texas After Tornado

Veteran-led Team Rubicon aids in tornado recovery efforts in Glenn Heights
Dallas Morning News
Loyd Brumfield
January 13, 2016

GLENN HEIGHTS — J.J. Selvig found life after the military as a part of Team Rubicon. Sarah McCord found her purpose.
Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
Team Rubicon volunteer Molly Gayden of Fort Worth
hauls a piece of garage door to the curb as they clean up the
tornado ravaged home on Mesa Wood Drive in Glenn Heights.
Selvig, a 30-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Fort Worth, did two tours of duty in Iraq and came home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He signed on with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit formed by veterans and first responders to assist in disaster relief domestically and around the world.

“Until I deployed to help with Hurricane Sandy, I had basically spent about a year-long bender in a bar,” Selvig said. “Something I found during Sandy was, with each way I could help, I was able to piece myself back together.”

Selvig and about 40 others are part of Team Rubicon’s tornado relief effort in Glenn Heights. City leaders say they have been instrumental. They form at 7 a.m. each day at Home Depot in Lancaster before fanning out to clean up and repair damaged neighborhoods. Members from all over the country will be in town over the next several weeks cleaning up hard-hit spots.
read more here

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fort Hunter Liggett Soldiers Fill Food Pantry for Veterans

Filling up the pantry
Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office
Story by Amy Phillips
December 18, 2015
“VTC has changed my life, and helped me become the man I am now - a proud veteran” Parnell Strickland
Monterey County Veterans Transition Center (VTC), Dec. 17, 2015. The VTC Volunteer Coordinator, Parnell Strickland, pictured with the Fort Hunter Liggett Commander, Jan C. Norris (left), some of his staff and more than a thousand pounds of food donated by its military and civilian workforce of FHL. Parnell is an Army veterans who served with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, Calif. "The VTC has changed my life, and helped me become the man I am now, a proud veteran."
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. – Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL) delivered more than a thousand pounds of food donated by its military and civilian workforce to the Veterans Transition Center (VTC) of Monterey County on Dec. 17, 2015.

“Fort Hunter Liggett is honored to be able to support our extended family of veterans at the VTC,” said Norris, who visited the facility for the first time. “I’m pleased to see the services they provide and the genuine care the VTC leadership and staff show to the veterans.”

One of the many VTC personnel to help unload and fill the food pantry was Parnell Strickland, an Army veterans who served with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord and a graduate of the VTC program.

“”VTC has changed my life, and helped me become the man I am now - a proud veteran,” said Parnell.

“With this kind of help from FHL and others, we’re able to assist over 1,200 veterans a year with housing, food, clothing and information,” said Terry Bare, Executive Director of the VTC.
read more here

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Team Rubicon Veteran Subject of New Book

'Charlie Mike' explores plight of veterans
Ray Locker
November 8, 2015

Few writers have captured the grief and suffering of combat veterans making the transition from war to home better than journalist Joe Klein. His 1984 book, Payback, traced the lives of five Marines as they struggled to adapt after Vietnam. Now, with Charlie Mike, he follows the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan as they fight through guilt, injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Much has changed between Vietnam and America's two latest wars. Veterans now have behind them the bulk of public opinion, which Vietnam vets could not count on. But the percentage of Americans who join the military is much smaller than before, leaving fewer people to relate to the demands of service.

Much of the veteran's lot remains the same, however. None can forget the searing experiences of war, of seeing their friends die horribly or suffer grievous wounds. They often live in constant agony, their memories flashing back a stream of horrors that sleep can't soothe.

In Charlie Mike, a term that means "continue the mission," Klein's main focus is two veterans whose seem to represent the best American has to offer. Jake Wood, a former offensive lineman at the University of Wisconsin, is a huge, strapping specimen of American manhood — tall, muscular and intelligent. Eric Greitens, an Oxford-educated Navy SEAL and intelligence officer, had the smarts and charisma that made him a natural leader.

Wood led a sniper team in Afghanistan, while Greitens returned to Iraq as an intelligence officer after his SEAL service. Both served honorably; both saw war steal their friends.

Klein shows how their service changed them but also propelled them to serve others once their military service ended. For Wood, it meant joining up with Marine buddies and heading to Haiti shortly after the January 2010 earthquake that flattened much of the country. Their freelance aid mission would eventually become Team Rubicon, Wood's group of veterans that acted as a team of early responders to some of the world's toughest disasters.
read more here