In this podcast, we talk to best selling author and professor at the Wharton School, Dr. Jonah Berger.  He’s a thought leader on the academic side of what causes certain content to go viral, how influence plays a part in all of our lives, and we discuss how this relates to life and Team RWB.   
We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include:

• How his book, Contagious, has influenced Team RWB

• How to get people involved

• The Invisible Influence that shapes all our lives

 

 

  

Chapter: Midwest/Dayton, OH

Member Since: September 2014

Motto: “Some people follow their dreams. Others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission.” Neil Kendall

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“I joined Team RWB at a time of great transition in my life, when my social support system was crumbling beneath me. At the time, the Dayton chapter had just formed, and I saw Eagles cheering each other and everyone else on at a local 10k. I thought they all seemed very positive, and friendly. I looked up Team RWB that night, and joined the Facebook group. It took me a month of social media stalking to feel comfortable attending an event, but once I did, I was hooked. I originally joined to make friends, and quickly realized that Team RWB is so much more than just a “running team.””

What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?

“It’s nearly impossible to choose just one – of course, the larger experiences like organizing our legs of Old Glory Relay, and the Air Force Marathon events have been incredible. However, it’s the everyday interactions that bring me the most joy. When Eagles come closer to achieving their goals, or share how their lives have been enriched through our activities, it confirms that all of the hard work is absolutely worth it. Watching the success of others unfold, and being a small part of that, is immensely rewarding.”

 

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I am the Chapter Captain of Team RWB Dayton, and serve as a representative of Dayton VA Voluntary Services on a Fisher House committee. I also volunteer with the Positivity Project, and have been involved with Girls on the Run, as well as local non-profit experiential education resources for elementary and middle school students.”

What Inspires You?

“People who remain positive and forge ahead despite setbacks, who remain kind in the face of hostility, and who give of themselves to others. “

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“In the 2 years since I’ve joined, my life has completely changed. As a civilian, I’ve learned more about the veteran experience, and have come to an understanding and admiration of the unique strengths veterans bring to communities. I’ve found inspiration, mentorship, family, and passion. Through so many experiences, I have become a softer and stronger leader, and learned that we all have a story. If we only find the courage to share our own, and listen to others, we’ll find that we are not so different from one other.”

What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?

“Dive in! There’s no pressure – come as you are, give what you have, and I promise what you’ll receive in return will be nothing short of life-changing.”

I walked into the Yoga Leadership Camp a little skeptical about what was going to happen and how I was going to feel.  I mean… it’s yoga for crying out loud. But boy, was I in for a surprise.

Georgina started it off with a talk about being authentic, and her “why” for joining Team Red, White & Blue.  It really was a great way to start off the weekend because it immediately set the tone.  During her talk, I silently whispered to myself, “You better not cry.”  So much for the positive self talk.  Before I knew it, the first day was ending with some calming yoga and a group dinner.  After dinner is when things got serious.

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All the Eagles sat in a circle, and Georgina asked who wanted to share their story.  I shyly raised my hand, and the tears began to well up in my eyes.  I’ve told my story a few times in a couple different programs, but this would be the first time I would share it with someone without a military background.  My story goes something like this:

I joined the military back in 1998 under peace time.  It was so fun that on my first West Pacific deployment on the USS Pelieliu, all we did was a couple training operations and a ton of liberty in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  I was on my second deployment when my life would dramatically change.  While on liberty in Darwin, Australia, September 11th happened.  I would go on to deploy to Afghanistan twice and Iraq three times in an 8 year period.  In 2009, I was injured and had to make a decision to move laterally to a different position or separate from the Marine Corps entirely.  I couldn’t imagine being anything other than an infantry man and leading Marines in combat.  If I couldn’t do that then I didn’t want to do anything, so I got out after 12 years of service.  That’s when the wheels started to fall off.  I found myself drinking heavily – not your normal 6-12 pack of beer, but a fifth or pint of vodka a night just to sleep without nightmares.  I was neglecting my family and ended up destroying my relationship with my ex-wife and children.   I ended up losing everything, wife, kids, and job.  I ended up homeless for three months wondering how to put my life back together.

The drinking got worse as well as my social skills.  On February 15, 2015 I tried to end my life.  My girlfriend at the time, who now has become my wife, said that I needed to get help, if not for myself than for the sake of my children.  There, the dark journey into my own soul began.  After attending numerous counselling sessions with the VA – both group and individual – I enrolled in a program called Save A Warrior (SAW).  Here, the light bulb came on.  Once I was done with SAW, I came home thinking, “What now?” Now that I have done the internal work what’s the external work?

A while later, I saw some people running with red shirts on, so I went home and Googled them and found out it was Team RWB. I signed up and, at first, just participated from afar.  When I was finally talked into doing the Tempe International Triathlon, I was hooked.  The camaraderie, es sprit de corps, and brotherhood was that missing external piece that I had been looking for.  Since then, I have jumped into the team head first and haven’t looked back.  Being the Veteran Engagement Coordinator has been the most fulfilling position I have held since separating from the Marine Corps.

I finished telling my story and there was a hush over the camp participants.  Throughout the weekend I would hear stories that even though they weren’t exactly like mine, they were stories of pain, hurt, and unfulfillment in lives.  The same thing I was encountering, just in a different manner.  What I learned that weekend at Yoga Leadership Camp can’t be taught in school.  Be authentic to yourself, genuine to others, and always have empathy and compassion because you don’t know that person’s’ story.  We all have a story to share and when we are authentic with it and genuinely in tune with others stories, we can begin to build stronger, more loving communities and Nation.

Terrance Gant

Team Red, White & Blue // Phoenix Chapter

Eric Garcia has been lost.  After an impressive military career that included assignments with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), his life took a turn for the worst.  In 2010, Eric found himself homeless, addicted, and on the way to rehab.  Just 7 months later, he started a small nonprofit to support Veterans through fitness and fellowship.  He soon found Team RWB and in the time since has been one of our very best volunteer leaders.

Today, Eric serves other Veterans as a case manager at the Salvation Army in Tampa, Florida.  He is working on a Mission Continues fellowship and will complete his degree in psychology next spring.  Eric spends his time in trenches, meeting Veterans where they are at, everyday.  His perspective is absolutely priceless.

This episode is a very raw and honest conversation that speaks to all of us.  Please take it to heart and share with your friends.

  

Chapter: Midwest/Fort Leavenworth

Member Since: October 2013

Motto: If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

 

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“I was getting ready to retire from the Army and was looking for a volunteer organization that would help me stay connected to the community and fellow veterans.”

 

What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?

“Coordinating with the VA Domiciliary to visit the third Sunday of every month. The residents really appreciate our visit and enjoy the interaction with us. It is rewarding and also humbling to be given the opportunity to make a difference in just one person’s life.”

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“Not only am I the Chapter Captain for Fort Leavenworth, I am also the Lead Ambassador for the City of Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau Ambassador Program. I am also a member of the Leadership Leavenworth-Lansing Board and a member of the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce.”

 

What Inspires You?

“Seeing people overcome obstacles to accomplish a goal they never thought they could do.”

 

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“I have met some wonderful people who are truly passionate about the Team RWB mission and understand that if we can provide that connection for just one person, we have made a difference.”

 

What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?

“We don’t just run and it’s not just about the t-shirt! We are so much more. And when it’s all said and done, we are one big family here to take care of each other and to ensure our members stay connected.”