In preparation for our first ever Team RWB national Yoga event, Eagle Namasday on December 3, we’ve got a great show this week with 2 unique individuals – Barry Peterson, and Ed Stancombe.  

Yoga, plays a huge part in both of their lives, and we’re excited to share it with you.  We cover some great topics, to include:

• What is Yoga?

• Why Yoga has been embraced by the military, after being shunned for years.

• The physical and mental benefits of Yoga.

Eagle Namasday, and what you can expect.  

No matter if you’ve ever been in a Yoga studio or not, there’s a ton to gleam from this podcast.  We hope you enjoy it!

  

Blog written by: Stephanie “Momma” Stump and Joe Stump

Words in bolded italics were written by Stephanie “Momma” Stump in October of 2015, after the first ever Team RWB GORUCK Camp before she passed. Joe Stump, her son, wrote the non-bolded regular text after the 2016 Team RWB GORUCK Camp. He did not know his mother had written anything before he wrote his.

I am Stephanie Stump a/k/a Momma Stump, I live and work as a Head Start Family Service Worker in Waskom, Texas. I have one son who is 34 years old and he has served in the USMC and one grandson who is 12 years old. I was never athlete in my younger years in fact, I ran my first 5K at the age of 56, did my first of many 12 hour GORUCK Challenges at age 57 and did my first ½ marathon at age 58. I don’t consider myself fast or strong but I am at least being active and I love it. I learned about Team RWB from a GORUCK friend and heard about the flag runs, which I thought was pretty awesome.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the national Team RWB/Goruck Camp in Jacksonville Florida. I was contacted by the local Chapter Captain and he informed me that my mother Stephanie Stump aka “Momma Stump” was to be honored at the event, as she was a very active Eagle and had recently passed away in June. The camp was phenomenal but before I get into my experience there I’d like to give a short background on Momma Stump.

I didn’t realize how vets (and their families) are impacted by service and conflict until my only child was in Iraq with his USMC unit back in 2004. I cried a lot from the unknown and because I hardly ever heard from him, he was always on the move due to being 0331 (machine gunner). I would hear from him every 4-6 weeks if I was lucky in the middle of the night. I remember it was the end of October, first of November of 2004 and he called me – of course I fussed at him for not calling me more often and he kept telling me that he couldn’t due to never bring in one place. I asked where he was and what he was doing and he replied, “I can’t tell you any of that so don’t ask.” I remember him saying “just watch the news mom.” I didn’t know what that meant and it worried me. I did what he said daily and around the 8th of November it was big new, Marines invade Fallujah a/k/a Operation Phantom Fury. The U.S. Military called it “some of the heaviest urban combat Marines and Army infantry soldiers have been involved in since Vietnam.” He does not talk about it, but I will always remember that time in my life and am so blessed he returned from that chapter in his life.

As long as I can remember she was extremely physically active walking, running, bicycling, rucking and would faithfully do one or the other every single morning regardless of the weather, she seemed to have the energy of 3 men. In 2014 she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and as one may imagine she took it rather hard. All the uncomfortable feelings that are associated with that news flooded our lives, but we talked about it,we attended doctor visits,  and we met with outside sources gaining all the insight we could to what would be the best plan. She decided to have surgery, do chemotherapy, radiation and fight like hell. And that is what she did-knowing that none of those tasks would be easy. Several months after her diagnosis she was receiving her second chemo treatment and her house burned to the ground. Now she is dealing with all the uncomfortable emotions that come with the reality of instantly becoming homeless as well. She immediately moved in with me and the outpouring of support she received was unbelievable, within hours she had necessities to get by. While staying with me she began to get adjusted and continued her treatment plan. As the treatments became less harsh she became as active as she was before her diagnosis, she was running every morning at 6am, running 5k’s every weekend, traveling to do half marathons. It was during this time she joined Team RWB. She became consumed with the group they were her family and it was really wonderful to see her get enjoyment out of participating in all the various activities the team offered or helped with.

I joined Team RWB the first part 2014 and was starting to get more involved than just flag runs through volunteering for water stops, holiday activities and was asked if I would be willing to start taking photos of our Chapter events when I could.  I was excited to be a part of this new organization since I have always been involved in volunteering all my life.

I received a call on July 1, 2014 that changed my life, I had breast cancer.  It was devastating, not me I was the one who fought for a cure for family and took care of myself.  So in August I had breast surgery, September 9, 2014 I started chemotherapy and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse it did. October 22, 2014 as I was at the cancer center receiving chemo I learned my house had burned to the ground and nothing was left. I was taken from the cancer center to see my home smoldering, nothing was saved, I only had the clothes on my back and my house was not insured.  I wanted to give up since I had cancer, I was bald, I was sick and now I was homeless.  I moved in with my son who lives in Louisiana which was still in driving distance to work. 

In October 2015 she was given the opportunity to attend the national Team RWB/Goruck Camp, it was the highlight of her recent years she came home and talked about how great of a time it was and that she was even more motivated to be active and help others be active. She started doing even more races and events and she must have had 25 Team RWB shirts because that’s all she wore.

I was very fortunate to be invited to attend the first GORUCK/Team RWB Ruck Camp in Jacksonville, FL at GORUCK headquarters. I will admit I did not feel worthy of attending since I know there are so many other Team RWB volunteers who deserved this opportunity more than I, but I have a passion for both Team RWB and GORUCK which I was more active in both prior to my diagnosis. Spending the weekend with the best of the best in both Team RWB & GORUCK and learning so much, I feel rejuvenated.  I also feel I can make an impact on helping veterans get involved in some physical type activities, since I know first-hand how it has helped me get through my journey of hell. I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones and feel it was an honor to be involved in this event. Lastly, I was given a Team RWB Challenge Coin during our closing which meant the world to me and had me pretty choked up. Special thanks to those that made it happen for me and those that made it special for me.

Around February 2016 she started to have abdominal pains and she thought it was something that she could just take over the counter medicine for, but it persisted. She eventually went to see the doctors in March and they informed her she now had gastric cancer as well as breast cancer and it had spread throughout her entire body. She wanted to fight like hell, so she did. She stayed well over two month in the hospital taking some of the most aggressive treatment they could give her and she continued to fight. The doctors told her she should try to walk around the hospital so we did, she shuffled up and down every floor dragging her IV pole, the doctors told her to try to eat, she would try everyday knowing it wouldn’t stay down, but she tried. Eventually scans showed that there was nothing more to be done and she came home to be at peace. She was home for 8 days and when doctors had given up and honestly I had too, she continued to fight like hell. I was by her side to the very end and I can honestly say she fought until there was no more fight in her being.

On September 8, 2015 I completed my last chemo treatment (365 days of treatments) and am currently in remission.  What Team RWB and my GORUCK community did for me was more than any medication or treatment did for me.  Their support gave me strength and they were not giving up on me so I better not give up myself.  I am back to running 5 miles every day before work and am proud to say I will be turning 60 in mid-November.

Besides the fact that my mother just would not give up one of the things I took away from this whole experience was that her Chapter Captain James came to visit her every day. I was there every day but this is my mother. This man came everyday to see someone he had no connection with aside from Team RWB. People have busy lives and plenty of things to do; visiting someone in the hospital for well over two months is not a real attractive thing to do. But he did and that speaks volumes about the man and the organization. I would come to find out, there are so many more Eagles just like him. And that is absolutely wonderful to know.

Shortly after her services I planned out her headstone, she wasn’t extravagant so I didn’t feel her memorial should be, the front has her information and a set of running shoes engraved and a small vase with a photo of her before her treatments with her long hair and it says “MOMMA STUMP”. The back is simply an etched picture of her in a Team RWB shirt and a headband smiling from ear to ear, that picture was taken at the 2015 Team RWB/Goruck Camp as she was participating in a team event. I chose that picture because she was so happy, so thrilled to be part of that group and that organization I wanted to immortalize that moment and her spirit forever.

momma-stump-headstone

I would come to find out one year after that picture was taken why she was smiling ear to ear and talked about the camp constantly. When I arrived at the camp I didn’t know anyone but I thought if these Eagles are anything like the James this would be a good time. Well I was wrong, it was a great time. The very first exercise was to go around the room and share “Why Do You Wear the Eagle?” My honest initial thoughts were an internal eye roll and oh boy here we go. But as Eagles started to speak I was enthralled. I didn’t even want to speak just listen; some of the group’s stories were just incredible and so impactful. That was just a precursor to an unbelievable weekend of leadership training, more laughs that you can imagine and hearing from some true warriors, both war fighters and civilians. I have done several Goruck events but none of them come close to the experience I was given the opportunity to share with awesome people. When I received my schedule of events for the camp I noticed one of the last things was the presentation of the Momma Stump award. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but I was extremely honored that there would be a tribute to my mom in the way of an award. So as the ending came near I was excited for the presentation, maybe more so than anything for my mother’s story to be told. As the speaker began, he explained that the award wasn’t necessarily given to the person that was the most athletic or anything of that nature but as the award reads “To the person to exemplifies Momma Stump’s indomitable spirit and drive.” Someone who lives the never give up life and lives it for others. As he is presenting it I’m so very appreciative that this is even happening and I’m very excited for whoever will receive it; and then he calls my name It was simply an honor for the award to exist but to be the recipient of it is something I can’t express, I will forever be thankful for the Team RWB for all they have done to help my mother and I in hard dark times. My mother’s story is not unique, I’m sure everyone knows somebody going through terribly hard times regardless of the details. I hope someone can take something away from our story and make their life better or help make someone else’s life better.

Chapter: Team RWB Honolulu

Member Since: July 2016

Motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil 4:13. Sometimes that strength is manifested through encouragement and tough love.”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“We moved to Hawaii recently and I didn’t know a soul, as a result, for several weeks (which felt like an eternity) the only person I spoke to was my husband. In an effort to get out of the house, on a random Wednesday, I went for a run around the neighborhood. I had been procrastinating that morning and thought it might be too hot but decided to go anyways. Well, sometimes things happen for a reason! I kept seeing these women with red shirts running in small groups; I was very curious. After my run I drove to the community center to explore my neighborhood and to my surprise, those women were there. I asked if they were a running club; they told me about Team RWB and invited me to participate in the weekly event. I was moved by their willingness to include me in the group; when I learned about Team RWB and saw them reflecting the Eagle’s Ethos, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of. The people I have met along the way are passionate, positive, committed, and promote community & camaraderie!!”

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

“This is a tough one since so many great things are happening with Team RWB but I would have to say my favorite experience was being encouraged to do more and try new things. Things that I was too intimidated in the past to participate in. I have been a runner most of my life, I am very comfortable with 5ks and have always kicked around the idea of running a marathon but chickened out every time because the training seemed too intense. Because of the support from our eagles, I signed up for a series of long run readiness races. Between those and the weekly running events hosted by RWB, I have been able to up my miles. I recently ran a half and am scheduled to run the Honolulu Marathon on December 11th. I could not have done this without the encouragement and tough love of these amazing people around me. “

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I have participated in several community service events including preparing and serving meals at the Fisher House, street clean ups, cleaning aircrafts at the Pacific Aviation Museum, Girls on the Run, and coordinating after school events for 4th and 5th graders. Currently, I am Team RWB’s Adopt-A-Highway coordinator for Community Outreach.

What Inspires You?

“I am inspired when I see someone accomplish a goal they have been working towards. It’s great when things come easily but in my experience, when you pour blood, sweat, and tears into overcoming obstacles and smashing goals, it tends to be a sweet, sweet victory. How can you not get hyped after seeing that?”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has made me a more well rounded person, it has added a depth to my life in the form of friendships and a sense of accomplishment through physical activity and community service. When you move so often, it can be difficult to establish roots, it can take forever to form meaningful friendships– living the military life style, you don’t have that kind of time. Team RWB has put people in my life with similar interests and experiences. Shortly after moving to Hawaii, my husband went TDY back to the mainland for a month. I was nervous about being alone and so far away from my family turns out, I was able to keep busy with Team RWB and many eagles reached out to make sure I was ok during this time. Maya Angelou said, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Because of this amazing group of people, I feel like I’m part of a community.”

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

“Do it!!! There are so many events to participate in– volunteer events, socials, and physical fitness events– there’s bound to be something you enjoy and are interested in.”

Babe Kwasniak is not only a Army veteran, but he’s a nationally recognized basketball coach who has moved back to his hometown to coach and lead in his community.  He’s been incredibly successful, both on the court and in developing his players into productive members of society.  In this episode, we have an engaging conversation about a wide range to topics to include:

• Military lessons in leadership that he uses on the basketball court

• Parenting young athletes

• The challenges and opportunities of leading teenagers

• Using social media as a leadership tool

Babe is a thrilling guy, so don’t miss this episode!

  

Chapter: Team RWB Midwest/Team RWB St. Louis

Member Since: August 2012

Motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“I joined Team RWB because as a wife of a retired veteran, I wanted to be able to give back to veterans past and present, I also needed to be reconnected with my military family that I dearly missed. The mission of Team RWB was exactly everything that I believed, and I knew it was a perfect fit for me and my family.”

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

“While every event is my favorite, I have 3 moments that really impacted me. The first was WOD for Warriors held at UnCharted Crossfit, it was the first time that I experienced an entire community coming together to support our veterans. The second was the Old Glory Relay 2015 where I got to witness lives being changed as Eagles ran with the flag. The most recent was a GORUCK event where the St. Louis, Marion, Fort Leonard Wood, and Wichita chapters came together. I witnessed Eagles going beyond their comfort zone to be great leaders and motivators. They pushed themselves past the limits they thought they had, and they did it with a smile on their face.”

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“As the Chapter Captain, I have the privilege to build and create relationships within our local veteran community and team. To see fellow Eagles come together at events and form a natural relationship that I know will last a lifetime is something that I am honored to be a part of.

What Inspires You?

“My family and being the change I want to see in the world.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has allowed me and my family to reconnect with veterans and the community in ways that would not have been possible if we were not involved in the organization. Not only have I been able to teach my children how to give back, I have gained family and I have grown as a person and leader. I am grateful to be a part of a team that encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and that helps me reach new heights every day.”

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

“Don’t think, do! Team RWB definitely lives up to the Moto of Enriching lives of Veterans and their families. When you join, you become a part of a family that will inspire you, hold you up, and make you laugh. You don’t have to be an athlete as there is something for everyone, all you have to do is show up and when you do, you will know you found exactly what you had been looking for.”