Written by Richie Evans
My name is Richie Evans, and my story starts a little different than most veterans featured on this page. I am young – just nineteen years old – and I have spent just under two years in the military thus far. I was trained as an Aerospace Maintenance mechanic on the KC-135 Stratotanker, and I spent a very short three weeks at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL in the Air Force Reserve. I then transferred back home and into the Air National Guard, reenlisting with the 107th Airlift Wing in Niagara Falls, NY. When my ANG recruiter, TSgt. Krystalore Stegner mentioned Team Red, White and Blue, a support group for veterans, I became intrigued. Upon my arrival home I immediately “Googled” this group. Without hesitation I signed up and the rest became history.
Though it took me a few months after signing up to be able to get out to a Wednesday evening run at Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY, I knew there was something special about Team RWB from the beginning. The group was extremely welcoming, and made me feel like I had been a member for many months. I was very nervous to make it to a run, since I only knew one person; however, that anxiety was unjustified and the decision to go has proven to be one of my best to date.
I have always been the type of person attracted to, and for lack of a better word, “obsessed” with helping others in any way possible. I am a firm believer that I was not put on this Earth to just live my life, like so many others do; rather I was put here to impact others. If I have enabled one man to breathe a little easier because of something I have done, then I have done my job. That is the very reason why I have made the decision to serve my country by joining the military, and serve my community by becoming a volunteer firefighter and first responder. I also volunteer as a track and field coach, and of course have become involved with Team RWB. Knowing that I can reach out to veterans and members who currently serve is one of the biggest reasons why I continually participate with this Team. I feel as if many members seek out Team RWB for help coping with various life challenges and transitions from the military. I have been fortunate enough to be put in the position to potentially help those men and women who may desperately need compassion from someone. Physical activity has been a large part of my life from a very young age, and continues to be to this day, so I love that Team RWB brings together all group members with such an activity. The opportunity to interact with veterans and veteran supporters on a frequent basis has proved to be extremely rewarding and refreshing for me.
Team RWB has changed my life forever. I truly consider Team RWB Buffalo as a home to me, and its members – my family. I have always been very selective in regards to the men and women whom I interact with, and I can honestly say that these people are of a high caliber of character and I truly enjoy being around them. Not only can I bond with fellow patriots of this great nation, but I can also play a vital role in honoring veterans and running for a true cause. I run each race with the Eagle on my back, and when I cross that finish line it is always with the American Flag held high, mostly for those who cannot run, or those who have passed away defending what that flag represents. Many people do not know this, but I do not run my races for myself anymore. Every event I run, I make it a point to honor a specific man, or woman that I admire who has passed away fighting for this great nation. There is no quit in my soul when I am honoring a fellow brother or sister.
In July of 2014, I will transition from part-time in the ANG to full-time. I have accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, CO. I will spend 10 months preparing to compete for an appointment to the Class of 2019 at the USAFA. While it is not guaranteed to receive an appointment after the Prep School, I do not plan on spending ten months in Colorado just to come home for good. Though it may sound cliché to many, in every endeavor I engage in, I not only incorporate, but fulfill the Air Force’s Core Values of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All I Do.”
I have one final remark: Whenever you’re thinking about skipping a run or workout, “Eagle Up” for those who do not have the opportunity to do so anymore.