Blog written by: Erin Buckley
I have always cherished and valued family, so having it fall apart almost a year ago nearly ruined me. July of 2015, my father went to prison for sexual and physical crimes he committed against me and two others. Our family was fractured and I was completely devastated. I was diagnosed with PTSD and for the first time, I got an inside look on why my veteran husband (who also has PTSD) struggles the way he does. I wanted nothing more than to sit inside my house, in my room, with the lights off in the fetal position wishing that it would all end. I was withdrawn from society, withdrawn from my family, and was constantly untrusting and afraid.
A few months later my mother encouraged me to come cheer my step dad on while he participated in the Twin Cities Marathon
. It was so inspiring; being in the outdoors again, feeling the sun on my face, admiring strangers cheering on strangers, smiling at other supporters as they passed, and playing with my daughter in the grass while we looked for “grandpa.” I left knowing I needed a change.
I joined a local gym and began running. One night I decided to join the 7pm Wednesday session at my gym, when in walked three guys. Three LOUD but exciting guys. Guys whose fun loving and excited personality reminded me of who I used to be. Before the trauma. Noticing the word veteran on the back of their bright red shirts, I asked who they were and what their shirts meant. This is the moment that changed my life. I joined Team RWB that same evening after joining these Eagles for dinner.
Through the amazing energetic Eagles, who were always there to encourage and have fun, I found myself wanting to go out more and more. To be around these people and their positive energy. I found myself trusting complete strangers again, knowing we were all coming together with a common purpose, to enrich each other’s lives through social and physical activity.
Team RWB saved my life and allowed me to help and love others again. It has brought us together with a common bond. Breaking the antisocial barriers that technology is creating to cure our ails with the most powerful force: human connection!
I now feel back to my happy, energetic, and outgoing self. Team RWB came into my life when I needed it most. While I joined initially to help others, I feel My life has been changed by them! I now have a new family in Team RWB. My Eagle family loves me unconditionally as I am, they encourage me to be my best self, and they enrich my life in the best of ways.
With the loss of family members, and finding new family in my RWB Team, I decided to give back to complete the circle. I stepped up as Volunteer Family Events Coordinator, organizing and creating family friendly events for Team RWB Twin Cities. I have finally found purpose and joy in my life again, and to Team RWB, I am eternally grateful.