Chapter: Team RWB Midwest

Member Since: 2014

Motto: “Embrace the Journey”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“To help connect other veterans to all of the amazing resources in our region that no one knows about; and personally, to be part of a team again with like-minded people who enjoy being physically active, healthy and making the most out of life.”

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

“Oh gosh … so many! Snowshoeing for the first time through a national forest last winter, first time at a treetop/zip line course, beach volleyball, hiking the North Country Trail, the Whitecaps game, game night at the Legion, seeing people volunteer to help others they might not even have met yet – driving someone to an event, helping to move them out of their house, or training for a race together and I wouldn’t miss our monthly Meet n Greets at local businesses for anything!”

How Do You Serve Your Community?

“By working with employers to connect veterans with good jobs, serving on committees to connect veterans with peer support and financial assistance, working with organizations like the YMCA, Chambers of Commerce, City government, Gilda’s Club etc. to connect people with resources to make life a little better, however we can.

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What Inspires You?

“Living in the present moment, the outdoors, bright colors, music, flowers, birds, the carefree spirit of kids, overcoming defeat, seeing the good in people when they selflessly help others and having people come to together over a common cause or purpose and work as a team.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB is my second family! It has given me an outlet to connect with people with similar stories to mine, with accountability partners who motivate me to continue to push myself and with a team that always has my back and that I can always count on.”

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

“Whether you are looking to get back into shape, push yourself to a new goal or just connect with awesome people, Team RWB is absolutely the answer to fill the gap of what you miss in life after you leave the military.”

Blog written by: Amanda Charney 

I have been fortunate in my life to travel the globe and live and work in several countries that others will never get to see. Throughout my travels, I never really considered how grateful I was to always get to come home and live as a free American. What reminded me of this?  Lady Liberty, herself.

To me, that woman holding the flame, coming into America’s favorite city, resembles strength, peace, love, and freedom for all.  She’s holding a book of wisdom and carrying knowledge to help guide her.  She moves without fear because she carries light, she carries the world, and she lights our path when we are in fear and darkness. Most importantly, she represents Hope. She is indestructible. After the tragedy that hit our nation on September 11, America looked up to her for Hope.  For me, as a woman trying to make it in this world, I personally look up to her for guidance and Hope for my own future in America.

As I watched the Carry Light video from ALEX AND ANI for the first time, I saw the faces and reactions of people coming to America, and seeing the light for their future. As the one woman kept saying, “America is Golden…” In the current times of watching news of poverty, disgrace to our flag and our officers, tragedy upon tragedy, Lady Liberty continually delivers Hope. In that video, I loved hearing how when you start from the bottom of Lady Liberty, she is moving forward, she broke through her chains,  she is looking up to the heavens and taking the steps to move forward.

There was a time, I was upset with Old Glory.  I still remember when it was placed in my arms in a way I would have never wanted, nor wished on anyone else. Looking down in their lap so nicely folded, I lost all Hope. I held the flag so tight when it was given to me, and then would just stare at it when I was home alone thinking, “Why?”  “How?”  But then… Hope came back again.

When I bought my house several years ago, Old Glory was the first thing I hung outside of my front door. She continues freely blowing proudly, high in the air. She reminds me that just like Lady Liberty, I had to move forward and change tragedy into Hope for myself, my family, and for children all across our country helping to give them a voice.

 

I love my country, I love my flag, and I love my Lady Liberty!  Getting together with family from Team RWB either in my city or traveling for races out of state, it is an instant bond of community and we just smile. That smile alone, of a stranger wearing the Eagle, is a smile of light and Hope that I am so proud to be apart of.

I love being an American with my whole being, and every summer when I come back to the states it does something to my core just knowing that I am home.

Blog written by: Lisa Gunnoe

Early in 2016, a call went out for applicants for a new leadership development program at Team RWB.  This new fellowship program would offer learning and leading opportunities as well as certificate and guided programs of individual choice for those selected.

At the time, I had attended multiple leadership academy training sessions with Team RWB Southeast Region.  The ideal would be to have another local leader apply.  This year wasn’t a good year for a program like this for those on our Central Arkansas team.  So I filled out the application.

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One of my bad habits is “one downing” myself.  So in my head, it was brave just to hit the submit button.  A week or so later I was notified that I had been accepted into the program.  Full blown panic ensued.  In my ideal world I live in a cabin in the mountains having supplies dropped in by a drone.  After talking with my husband, who urged me to take advantage of this program, I embarked on my “year of living bravely”.

The Southeast Eagle Leader Fellows, (Lani Faulkner, Josh Winters, Dennis Volpe, and myself) planned this triathlon and leadership camp.  My part in the planning was very minimal being in AR with the camp located in Daytona Beach, FL.  Much of my involvement was on the ground, gopher and clean-up crew, I’m okay with that.
Each of the fellows had an opportunity to also participate in the triathlon camp.

Thus, I found myself facing the ocean with 25 Eagles at my back, and I have never felt safer doing something that scared me so badly.  I had spent most of my life avoiding water deeper than hip deep.   As I child reoccurring dreams of death by drowning interrupted my sleep.
As an adult, after graduating high school, I taught myself to swim in the shallow end of a pool. So fast forward to Team RWB Southeast Regional Triathlon and Leadership Camp in Daytona Beach,  FL. I stood on the beach listening to our coach, Rob Wallace teaching us how to enter open water, specifically ocean.  A storm a few days out was creating larger than normal waves, wind, surf. Coach Wallace told us that had this been an actual triathlon most race directors would call off the swim portion because of the waves.
To get under the waves instead of fighting them, we were instructed to “porpoise dive” under the wave right before it hit.  So this porpoise diving was the only thing I planned on practicing.  Hence, I would have this brave new experience without getting too far out into the deep, strong waves. Teams of five would enter the ocean, high step until the water was thigh-deep, then start diving under the waves.  Coach would advise us on shore using the group ahead as an example on how to manage the challenges.
My turn?  The waves insistently pushed toward shore as the sand underneath our feet slid away urging us out to sea.  3, 2, 1 and go! High stepping and diving under waves is hard work for body and mental will. As I practiced these new skills, I knew I could do it.  Well, I knew I was safe.  All I had to do was look behind me at who had my back.
It is an odd feeling being so scared and feeling so safe at the same time.  The mood allowed for a whole hearted effort. I hope others can experience this secure foundation in which to launch themselves into something way outside their comfort zones.
The atmosphere of Team RWB is one that has to be experienced.  Any lack of knowledge or skill is a non-issue, because all Team RWB leaders teach, lead, love.

Carl Forsling is a senior columnist for Task & Purpose. He is a Marine MV-22B pilot and former CH-46E pilot who is retired from the military after 20 years of service. He is the father of two children and a graduate of Boston University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Carl is a prolific writer on Veteran’s issues, and has tackled some thorny topics in his work, to include writing about entitlement in the veteran community.  We don’t shy away from this in the podcast, and have a very raw conversation about this topic.

 

  

Chapter: Team RWB Midwest Cleveland/Akron

Member Since: 2013

Motto: “It’s not what you gather, it’s what you scatter”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“Initially I got in for myself. I wanted to get back into running and the idea that I could raise awareness for veterans issues motivated me to get in shape and move. But as time progressed, rapidly, I lost the idea of doing any of it for me and wanted to get more involved and be of greater service by expanding into a leadership role within my chapter and do “it” for others. I also served for a short time in the US Army as a Field Artillery Officer and it reminded me that I made an obligation to serve soldiers as an officer. I left active duty service in 1999 and changed uniforms into civil service. When 9/11 occurred, I was already in a different uniform and had other service obligations to my community. I struggled daily with feelings of shame or regret for not being able to be with so many of my friends who were sacrificing so much more than me oversees. Team RWB has allowed me to let go of those negative feelings, by proxy, through servant leadership to veterans. I feel that I am able to quiet those demons by fulfilling an obligation to lead soldiers in a way I never would have imagined. I’ve never actually discussed that publicly until now and as I am writing this I am proud of where I am today and could not say any of that without Team RWB.”

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

“Easy…Old Glory Relay! Our chapter has participated every year. The first two years we traveled as a team by van for 5 hours to reach our start point and we stepped foot in three states in the inaugural event. What struck us all however was the expanse of Appalachia and the people who inhabit it. We did the same in the second year, and this year we did a connected event through downtown Cleveland.”

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“I work with a great team in our chapter as the chapter Captain. I enjoy facilitating the programs and events our leadership team and members put together. In my personal career, I work as a firefighter and paramedic and enjoy the idea of living a life of service to others. The idea that you can change a life or even save a life and make the world a better place each day when wearing the uniform is something that emotionally drives me. I feel a parallel with that when I put on my Team RWB “uniform” and can be an ambassador to the organization and make a difference each time I do.

What Inspires You?

“Anyone who has faced insurmountable odds or situations and overcome them through relentless fighting. The idea that anyone can do the same with the right mindset is powerful to me personally. With that said, many of our own team mates in RWB inspire me for that very reason.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“I was going through some personal issues and I had two choices, I could dive into bad habits like drinking and be selfish like that and feel sorry for myself or I could turn those energies and make them into positives by applying myself even more into Team RWB. Around that time, it was suggested that I take the steering wheel for the chapter leadership as the Chapter Captain and that afforded the opportunity to serve others even more and forget about my own struggles. Which in a way, is part of the winning formula of this enterprise! Service to others is a life worth living to the fullest and you get so much out of it emotionally that it can save you. I feel that in this regard, Team RWB saved me.”

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

“What do you have to lose?! It’s free to join and it only takes one event, one, to get started. There is no obligation but once you are in, you will get hooked. It’s just taking that first step and actually signing up!”