Chapter: Team RWB McAllen-Edinburg Texas

Member Since: 2011

Motto: “The mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it faith. Feed it truth. Feed it with love.”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“When I lived in CA, I would see Team RWB at all the running event that I would participate in. Team RWB was always the loud friendly group that stood out and exuded positivity. It was always a good time when I engaged with the team so I became a member, but was not active in many events because I still had many military friends to look to for support. It wasn’t till I moved back home to South Texas, Rio Grande Valley (RGV) area that I started to feel the struggles of transitioning from military to civilian life. Most of my military friends were living in states and cities too are to travel, and there weren’t many military support groups in my hometown. I remembered that sense of belonging and camaraderie that Team RWB displayed and wanted to bring that to the RGV. I rejoined Team RWB to give me a sense of purpose and a way to connect to other like minded individuals on a social/physical level.”

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

“Its really hard to choose just one favorite event or experience, but if I had to it would be the Healthy Hearts 5k. This was the first event we ever participated in that was Team RWB. We had a Navy veteran with limited mobility complete the 5k w his walker! The dedication and perseverance that this veteran displayed is something embedded deep within veterans. He never gave up or took a short cut. He pushed through the pain and accomplished what he set out to do that day. He may have been the last to finish but he was definitely not alone. The entire Team RWB gathered around and cheered him on all together as one big supportive family. The love, passion and camaraderie that Team RWB gives to each other is unmatched by anything I’ve ever seen! That day we also had about 10 eagles run their first ever 5k, and a few veterans overcome their anxiety of being in large crowds. I’m so blessed to have been able to witness the eagle fire in action.”

How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I am currently the Chapter Captain for Team RWB McAllen-Edinburg Area. Through this amazing opportunity I have been able to witness genuine friendship develop and grow stronger with each succeeding event. I also serve as the Veterans mental health counselor at the University of Rio Grande Valley and the the lead member for the Veterans and Family Advisory Council (VFAC) for the VA Coastal Bend.

What Inspires You?

“I am inspired by individuals who can overcome adversity, who embrace the struggle and allow it to make them a stronger person. Its even more inspiring when Team RWB facilitates that process. Something very beautiful happens when an Eagle is struggling, whether it be physically in a run or mental in life, Team RWB has proven time after time to be there for their Eagles. Team RWB in the epitome of IGY6!”

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How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has made a huge impact on my life. Team RWB gives my life meaning. I live with a stronger sense of purpose. It has truly enriched my life and allowed me to share this experience with my children. They are learning first hand what it means to serve others and give selflessly. It has also motivated me to get my butt up and moving again :)~

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

“Just do it!!! We are all-inclusive, you don’t have to be a veteran, the fittest athlete, or the social butterfly. Just come as you are, join the team and wear that Eagle proudly!

 

Team,

My heart is full, but heavy, as I embark upon my last six weeks as Team RWB’s Executive Director.  For the past five years, it has been my absolute privilege to work for the best Board, staff, volunteer leaders, and members on the planet. Collectively, we have built more than an organization. Team RWB has become a movement that inspires people to strengthen communities, live richer lives, and support others in doing the same. I’ve been on some pretty great teams, but this one is by far the best. And though I am transitioning out of the ED role, I am proud to remain an active volunteer leader and member.

The great news is, on June 15th, JJ Pinter will take the reins and the team will thrive as we continue to enrich the lives of veterans and their families. We have an amazing team in place and they won’t miss a beat.

As for me, my first order of business is to facilitate a smooth and successful transition between now and my last official day on the job. Then, my family and I are going to take some time to re-charge over the summer. After that, we are headed up to Jacksonville Beach to join my close friend Jason and the good livin’ folks at GORUCK.  They are a fantastic company that is committed to making the best gear in the world while building better Americans and giving back along the way. I’m stoked about the opportunity and think I’ll fit right in.

I cannot possibly sum up my thoughts and emotions in this note, but I hope to connect with all of you more over the next month or so. There are a million people to thank, but I would like to specifically express my gratitude to my friend Mike Erwin for giving this opportunity and trusting me to grow and safeguard his vision.

In addition to my transition with JJ, I’m excited to announce that Paul Bell has been elected Chairman of the Board for Team RWB. Paul has served on the Board for the past two years and prior to that he was a member of our Advisory Board since 2012. Paul was previously the President of the Public Sector and Large Enterprise at Dell and is currently an Operating Partner at Lead Edge Capital. Mike Erwin will remain on the Board of Directors and actively involved with Eagle Nation.

If you have any questions or need anything from me, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Again, it has been an honor to serve this community in my current capacity, and I look forward to staying involved.
Best,
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Blayne Smith, Executive Director | Team RWB
Tim Bomke had an appointment with his Army recruiter on the morning of 9/11/2001.  The events of that morning only strengthened his resolve to serve.  A few years later, Tim and his platoon were patrolling in Iraq, when a massive IED hit his vehicle.  Badly wounded, he started on a new journey of recovery, resilience, and continued service.
Over the past several years, Tim has advocated for veterans and military families in both education and employment.  He is a co-founder of Microsoft’s Military Systems and Software Academy, spent three years working in veteran/spouse programs at Starbucks, and currently leads the effort at Amazon.
We have a great discussion that covers:
• Tim’s mindset during his recovery and rehabilitation
• The power of finding a purpose
• Why veterans and military spouses are great assets
• And so much more

  

Blog written by: Blayne Smith
Volunteering is nothing new for America’s veterans.  Each of them voluntarily stood, raised their right hand, and took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Many of them did this during a time of war, fully knowing that they were signing up to deploy and faced our nation’s enemies in close combat.  These amazing men and women comprise the largest and most capable all-volunteer military that the world has ever known.  They, and their families, have shouldered a mighty burden not because they have to, but because they choose to.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised to see veterans, along with their families and friends, volunteering in our communities when they take off the military uniform.  Service is in their DNA.  It is an I tch that must be scratched.  A call that must be answered.  Veterans are assets to the country and to the communities in which they live, and they possess the ability to inspire others to serve as well.
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Team RWB is fueled by, and completely dependent on, this spirit of volunteerism.  More than 2000 volunteer Eagle Leaders are running chapters in over 200 cities are taking action and making a difference, not just for veterans, but for the communities where they live.  Collectively, they contribute more than 250,000 hours of community service every year!
This National Volunteer Week, please let me be the first to say THANK YOU!  You embody the spirit of volunteerism and your service continues to inspire a nation.

Blog written by: Jim Krug, Team RWB Raleigh/Durham Chapter Captain

Towards the end of March, our chapter participated in a short race out in the Raleigh/Durham area.  Shawn Conaway is an adaptive athlete from the Ft. Bragg Chapter who was using a hand cycle for the race.  I was making some adjustments and repairs to the bike before the start of the race with one of the other Eagles, but for the most part, none of the other Eagles knew Shawn or that he was racing that day.

When Shawn arrived at the very first hill of the race, two Eagles joined in and assisted Shawn up the hill when they saw him begin to struggle.  Another Eagle, Michael, assisted him up the second hill, and then Janeth, Heather, and Seann joined in to help as well.  Bernadine, Sharon, and Catherine caught most of this on camera, taking pictures and cheering out Eagles along the way.

Towards the end of the race, Shawn’s brakes weren’t functioning properly on a downhill, causing him to overshoot his last turn. I sprinted down the hill and George and I were able to push him back up to get him on the course once again for a strong finish.

Group photo

“We’ve had several epic events/activities since the re-launch of Team RWB Raleigh/Durham and every time I’m amazed at the great turnout, but this one is the one that made me the most proud of our members.” – Jim Krug