Chapter: Team RWB Midwest / Marion Illinois

Member Since: October, 2016

Motto: “I can do all things through Christ”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“An acquaintance had a sister who was involved with Team RWB, they were needing a runner for the Old Glory Relay. She knew I was getting into running, and I was a veteran, so she connected me. I was not able to attend the run due to a scheduling conflict, but that was my introduction. As I learned more and more about the team, I realized that I was missing the camaraderie that I had loved in the Army. “

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

“My favorite event with Team RWB has to be Iron Mom Half Marathon in May. I never in my life thought I would want to run a half, let alone be able to! So the morning of, I met up with our team for our group picture, and we each kill the next 30 minutes on our own. I end up at the starting line alone. Nervous, but excited…I look over to my left and there is a fellow veteran in an Eagle shirt that I had spoken to once before at another event. She had arrived later and missed the group photo. We ran most of the race together, got to know each other, and talked 9 miles through the race! It flew by! We didn’t have to know each other before, but there was such an awesome connection to get to share our veteran stories and where we’ve come since leaving the military. I am so honored to have run my first half marathon with her!”

19092998_1904093186531079_985440458904594393_o

How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I serve my community a few different ways. With Team RWB, I enjoy meeting with female veterans / team members one on one. I understand not everyone can or likes to run, so I try to meet up and have lunch, or spend time outdoors, just getting the opportunity to get to know who they are and what common interests we have. The second way I serve my community is through my employment. I am the Executive Director of Pregnancy Matters, a local non-profit agency. There, I also like to meet one on one with new moms, or pregnant women and give them the emotional and social support to make it through the transition into motherhood. I believe one thing that the Army taught me was that I can do anything if I keep at it with determination. This applies to so many areas in life, even with raising my children. So my passion is to share this hope and strength with other people.

What Inspires You?

“When I think back to where I was when I left the Army in late 2002, I really didn’t know how I was going to get back on my feet as a new single mom. But I was determined to still go far, even if it was going to be in a different direction than I thought. With the help of family and a few good friends to guide and encourage me I have done more than I ever thought possible, so I would say that personal, encouraging relationships inspire me, and I try to be that same encouragement to others every day!”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has given me back my pride in my service. I had lost that positive emotional connection to my memories in the Army. I have something that I am proud to be a part of again, and I am proud, once again, that I took that big scary step to join the Army. With Team RWB, I feel connected to others who have some of the same experiences. And even though we can be so very different, we can still share a supportive bond!

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

“Jump in my friend, you will LOVE IT!

Blog written by Nate Blackler, Team RWB Manchester

The weekend of May 19th I had the privilege of attending the Eagle Leadership Academy (ELA) in Silver Bay, NY. I can’t even put into words how amazing this event was! I met some of the most loving and inspirational leaders in the Northeast. When I first received the invite, I was excited, but also nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t know a lot of the people going. As the weeks creeped closer, I started to get excited. I had stepped up to take one of the Captain positions in my local chapter and was eager to learn more about leadership in the organization. I had the privilege of riding up to the ELA with one of the 2017 Eagle Fellows. It was a great opportunity to connect and gain a deeper understanding of Team RWB before even getting to ELA.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were immediately welcomed by so many happy and eager leaders from chapters all over the Northeast.  We may have come from all different areas, but were all there for the same reason. Instantly, I knew I wanted to get the most out of this experience. I decided to shut myself off from social media and pushed myself to try many new things. The weekend was led by our Northeast Regional Staff, Amanda and Jessica. Some of the key leadership traits they touched upon were the difference between authentic and genuine, as well as sympathy versus empathy.

IMG_5770

Usually when meeting new people, I am nervous and shy, but this time; it was different. I felt safe and very welcomed by everyone. I opened the weekend with a game of corn hole with some folks from Rhode Island and Connecticut. From there, we dove in with many activities including ice breakers, hiking, yoga, team building rucks, and stories around a camp fire.

It is hard to put into words the authenticity everyone showed and their hunger to learn. Over the weekend, I opened up and talked about things even my closest friends and family don’t know. I was inspired by how everyone was so loving and understanding. Upon leaving the weekend, I had gained 30 new lifelong friends. I knew I had a support group like I used to have in the Infantry. These people truly cared and understood. The week following the ELA, I went to Arlington National Cemetery and visited a few comrade’s sites. I had the entire team behind me reaching out with support and checking in on me. After 11 years, I had gained the strength to do this and their support was truly amazing.

The one thing that I find inspiring about Team RWB is that everyone treats each other the same. From this experience, I gained a deeper understanding of what the organization is about. Many of us take part in events and promote Team RWB, but after that weekend, I saw things in such a different light. It truly was one of the most impactful, amazing weekends of my life.

Being a part of Team RWB has been a life changing experience for me. I have gained new friendships and a true support group. I had spent years after the Army trying to fit in and find my tribe again. As a Veteran, it’s important to me to be able to continue to serve in my local community. It’s my heart’s desire to reach out and help other veterans feel connected, as well as connect with civilians. Bridging the gap and becoming one team in our communities is important as veterans integrate back into civilian life. Team RWB has allowed me to not only feel like I have a family again, but also gives me unlimited opportunities to give back and be active.

Team Red, White and Blue is such an amazing organization! I’m so blessed for the opportunity to help lead in my local chapter. I’m excited to take what I learned and bring it back to my chapter and community. We are growing in leaps and bounds, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

 

Marjorie is the acclaimed author of the 2017 Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) winning book, The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11.  The book began as a personal memoir for her son and turned into the first to define post 9/11 service and leadership.

In this episode we discuss:

The term Frontline Generation, and what it means.

  Writing a book for her son

  Why she decided to independently publish, vs. a traditional publisher?

  How intelligence professionals view the world differently.

  What it’s been like to share unfiltered journal entries with the world.

 

  

Chapter: Team RWB Fort Irwin

Member Since: December, 2016

Motto: “The influence of ONE is great on the many.”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“Well I first joined Team RWB because my husband wanted to be involved, so I went to a couple of meetings with him. Then I completely fall in love with everyone. The fellowship, friendship, and encouragement I received were an answer to a prayer. The relationships that were built in such a short time was almost overwhelming. That is when I knew I had found something truly great and special and I had to hold on to it, nourish it, and run out to tell the world what I had finally found, so they could find it too!”

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

“My favorite event so far was the Spring Fling Event that the post put together for the children. We set up a table and started the morning off with a 5k and I had the opportunity to run it with my whole family. My husband paced me and together we shaved 20 minuets off of my personal record. After that, I got to spend the afternoon reaching out to all of the new comers in Fort Irwin and tell them about Team RWB and what it has done for me here in the middle of the high desert. I got to encourage them to join, and come to feel the love and support that I have felt since becoming a part of this Eagle family. In this place if you don’t know where to go and when to meet new people you will search forever with no luck to meet new people or make new friends. Team RWB provides an opportunity for us to get out of the house and get together and that is super hard to find on Fort Irwin.”

18301907_682504811951367_1131911234125217288_n

How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I serve in my local Church community and Family Readiness Group and do my very best to smile at everyone I see. My motto is talking about the influence of one on the many because it is amazing to me how I have seen in my life how much one person smiling at you at the right moment can make a huge difference. It cannot only help you make it through your day, but even though your trials, which we all have. You may even find yourself smiling at someone else and spreading the joy with out even knowing it. I also keep my eyes peeled and my prayers lifted in search of anyone who may need a service that perhaps I can help with. I do wish I could do more and help more but sometimes opening our eyes and our hearts to others in a time when no one else is or can is all that we can do. So until there is more I can do I will keep this up and encourage others to do the same, and hope that that it is enough.

What Inspires You?

“What inspires me are the people and the hand of God in my life. My family and my friends make a huge impact on my day to day life. Watching them and listening to them and how they deal with life inspires me to not only be a better person but also teaches me about my weaknesses and how I can make them stronger. My husband is a huge inspiration to me! He not only teaches me everyday how I can be happier and count my blessings but he inspires me to raise my expectations of myself but at the same time not too much so my goals are always achievable.  My parents are the ones I call everyday, they continue to inspire me to do my best and help me to understand that things are not always as bleak as they may seem. My Heavenly Father inspires me to always be uncomfortable. I have learned in my life that if I am comfortable I am not growing and becoming all that my Heavenly Father wants and knows and hopes I will become in this life. He will guide me and walk beside me and carry me when I can no longer carry myself, until that time when I can walk again.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has made me a better runner and more active in my life. It has brought new friends in my life that will be forever friends. I have had the privilege of participating in events and sitting at tables where I was able to look into other peoples eyes and give them a message of hope a friendship here in Fort Irwin. When I first moved here, it was my first duty station and I found it near impossible to meet anyone new. It was so sad and lonely and I missed my family and my home town so much. This chapter of Team RWB came into my life and made it possible to have a family wherever I go in the military or out. It has also brought my family closer together as well as we set fitness goals and gain success in our achievements together.

IMG_20170520_091358

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

“I would say to anyone thinking of joining Team RWB, to do it!! So what if you’re not athletic and so what if you love your couch and tv more than the track! The amount of enrichment you receive from this organization will not only make it worth missing that one episode that you can watch later or that one chapter in your favorite book that will still be there when you get back home, but it will make it so worth your while that I would go as far to say you may learn to actually like doing a jog every so often. I would go as far to say that the friendships gained in this organization run deep and stick for a long time and take it from someone who knows these kinds of bonds you don’t find just anywhere. So if you don’t do it for the burning athlete inside you, do it for the enriched life that the friends bring you. I know you will not regret it. I promise!!

 

Bergan Flannigan has one of the most compelling stories that we’ve ever brought to the Eagle Nation Podcast.  Her military career began brilliantly as the top military graduate in her class from Norwich University.  Upon completion of her Military Police training, she reported to Ft. Stewart, Georgia and was almost immediately deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Almost 9 months into the mission, Bergan was struck by an anti-personnel IED and lost her right leg above the knee…and that is just where her story begins.

During this episode, we have a great conversation about combat, relationships, recovery, mindset, and so much more. 

Just as a note, this episode has a little bit of an NPR interview feel to it.  Bergan and I had not previously met and we recorded outside a neighborhood Starbucks.  You’ll notice me saying “Wow!” about 50 times.  There’s a bit of background noise, but just imagine that you’re there, hanging out with us, on a warm Florida afternoon.