Fellow Friday – John Bond
John Bond gives back through the Eagle Leader Fellowship
John A. Bond first learned about Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army. Just a few years later, Team RWB would become a big part of his life.
Bond first joined Team RWB in Philadelphia just six months before leaving the service. Without many friends and family members nearby, Team RWB served as a welcoming community and supported him in his transition to civilian life. Shortly after joining Team RWB, Bond stepped up to become the volunteer Social Director of the Philadelphia chapter.
“Too many times, I hear stories where separated and active veterans feel like they are isolated or alone. I felt that way at times after I left the Army,” said Bond. “I found Team RWB, and it was then that I realized that Team RWB’s motto, ‘We get vets’ is not just a motto. It’s the truth.”
Throughout his time in service, he learned that authenticity was incredibly important to leadership. Today, as a Team Red, White & Blue Eagle Fellow, Bond is working on his own authenticity and ability to be a strong leader, building stronger communities for veterans.
As a Fellow, Bond has the opportunity to visit different chapters across the region. He’s enjoyed mentoring, building genuine connections, working out, and visiting with Eagles from different backgrounds. The Eagle Leader Fellowship includes a $5,000 scholarship component for additional external leader development. Bond used the funding to attend leadership seminars and become Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) certified.
“Team RWB affords me an opportunity to share my story and listen to others’ stories with like-minded and like-valued team members while focusing on healthy ways to remain active in the veteran service organization space,” said Bond. “I still feel like I have ways to offer my services and time to my country. It allows me the opportunity to be a part of something larger than myself.”
Taking on new challenges
Bond isn’t only challenging himself in leadership, but also in physical fitness. Every time Bond attends a Team RWB event, he takes another step toward overcoming health challenges and living a healthier lifestyle.
The beginning of Bond’s journey to better health is a moment of triumph. On three separate occasions, Bond attempted to hike up to a lookout point 0.75 miles up the side of a mountain at Lake George in upstate New York with other Team RWB Eagles. The first time, inclement weather stood in his way. The second time, Bond turned back halfway. On the third attempt, Bond pushed through both physical and mental hurdles to make it to the top. His team mates had been with him every step of the way.
“I had been measuring my success against others, completing marathons, ultras, and triathlons. While those accomplishments are incredible and should be celebrated, I had to remember that my own accomplishments are just as important. My 5ks will lead to marathons. Every small gain is important and deserves to be celebrated,” said Bond.
This year, his goal is to lose 25 pounds by participating in virtual rucking challenges and running his first 5k races in more than a year, with encouragement and camaraderie offered by Team RWB.
“I am on track to meet my weight loss goal and by the time this post is shared, I will have completed my first of three 5k races for the year,” said Bond. “The best part of all of this is, I will be with Team RWB Eagles at each phase of this journey, and this journey of self-discovery and personal growth doesn’t have to stop.”
Applications for the 2020 Eagle Leader Fellowship open later this month. To learn more about the Eagle Leader Fellowship and Eagle Leader Development Program, click here.