Written by Sean MacMillen

Between 2004 and 2008, I spent a majority of my time in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as an infantry officer.  In July of 2008, I left the Army; however, not on my own accord.  It is rather embarrassing to say this, but I had gone from being a respected leader and battalion executive officer to an Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) rehab failure.  I did not realize the toll that multiple deployments took on my mental health, and I self-medicated with alcohol.  I did not want to admit that I had any chinks in my armor like a drinking problem.  The next several years were a blur, and I lost myself along the way because I would not reach out to others.  My thought was that I was physically and mentally tough; I could not have any problems.  Hell, I was an Airborne Ranger!

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Written by Sue Ellen Landwehr, Team RWB – Danbury

As the season of official gift giving winds down, I feel compelled to tell you (or anyone that might listen-lol) about one of the greatest gifts I have received this year: Team Red, White and Blue.

Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. I wish I could tell you that I became involved with Team RWB so I could support veterans, but for me it was the other way around – a veteran reached out and supported ME.

My fitness journey, like so many others I know, has had its ups and downs. A year ago I was considering weight loss surgery because I had become so discouraged with my efforts. Then I got a dreaded call; my husband, a career firefighter, had been injured at work. He received a concussion and an injury that required surgery. While I was grateful his recovery was assured, I had a mortal moment while taking care of him…I HAD to start taking better care of myself. I confided in a dear friend (coincidentally – a veteran) and joined a gym. We met three times a week. I went no matter how I felt, and many times thought it was pointless! Through the snow, slush and rain, I showed up. He had me start a food journal and text him whenever I went to the gym. (more…)