Foreword by Blayne Smith
Written by Christine Fennessy
We encourage, even implore our members to make personal connections within their communities. We ask that they share their stories. We understand that this requires a certain degree of courage and willingness to be vulnerable. Veterans do well with courage…often not so much with vulnerability. Though it is sometimes hard, this is perhaps the most critical step in improving veteran reintegration, and ultimately building stronger American communities. We must know each other to trust each other and, as my dad always told me, “trust is a must.”
As my good friend, JJ Pinter, and I embarked on our month-long challenge to work out with at least one new veteran each day, it occurred to me that many of you don’t really know me. Sure, I’ve shared some pictures of my boys on Facebook. You might have met me at an event, talked with me on the phone, or read something that I wrote, but you still don’t know me. My story is one that needs to be shared. It is important not because it is extraordinary, but because it is all too ordinary.
Since I’m not good at talking about myself, I’ve decided to share this great piece by Christine Fennessy. She contacted me a while ago regarding a story she was writing about running, soldiers, and Post Traumatic Stress. She spent some time with me (and my family and friends) in 2012. The following comes from those conversations, and does a far better job than I possibly could of telling my story. Frankly, this forced me to be far more vulnerable than I would have liked. However, I know too many veterans that look great on the outside and feel like hell on the inside, and if this gets even one of them back on track, it is well worth it to me. Want to know why I care so much about the work we do? Here you go:
A Soldier, in Parts (more…)