Contact Front: Vets Helping Vets
A few months ago, I had been scrolling through Instagram, which is honestly something I never do, and I see a post on a page that I followed that said simply " This is the end of my story. Sorry I couldn't do better."
As chills ran down my spine, I wondered if I was too late. Immediately, I sent a message to the guy just saying "It sounds like you're in a bad spot...call me if you want to talk." And no joke, less than 5 minutes later, I'm getting a call from Georgia...a man crying on the other end of the phone. Andy was combat vet who had done more than his fair share in our recent wars. The problem for him was less about what he'd done and seen, and more about how once he was washed up, the army was done with this Ranger. 5 deployments, documentaries done on battles he'd fought in...and now coming home and fitting in with a bunch of khaki wearing sally's who only saw Andy for what he was now... Lost in a world of hello's and goodbyes. His jobs meant nothing to him. He wasn't able to find joy or purpose in anything outside of the military and his brothers.
I didn't know what to say to Andy other than "this side of the story needs to be told." and I knew that I needed to fly him up here, let him tell the story on camera and then spread the word. Not war stories so much as documenting the struggle to transition from what feels like the pinnacle of your life, to coaching middle school football, or something equally mundane and kinda feels pointless. Anyway, we hashed out a plan for me to fly him up the next day. He was stoked. Andy called the next day and said he couldn't make it. He'd fly out on Wednesday of that week. We shuffled flights around and then Wednesday came and went and Andy never got on that flight. He just couldn't take that step to let his guard down long enough to talk to guys who have been through similar valleys. Andy ended up taking his own life a few months later.
Where do we go from Andy?
I knew at that moment that I needed to do more. But my family couldn't pay for another emergency flight for a brother in need. I needed to start something that helps guys transition....without being a government program that sucks. So this isn't a program at all. It's a bro-gram! No certified therapists, no government documentation trying to say you're crazy. Just come out and work a honest day's work at our beautiful facility, with a bunch of guys who are vets also...shooting guns, teaching people firearm safety and tactics, chopping wood, organizing stuff, taking long rucks, fishing, mowing, whatever needs to be done. We can get you here and put you up for free. Heck if you're a good fit, we will even pay you a weekly salary to help out around here! Dirty hands, clean money!
Come be part of a group of dudes who just want to help other dudes work through feeling screwed over by the military in one way or another. Or if you know someone who battles these demons... please help support our cause...by donating and sharing this.
Quick List Of Goals:
Put a small cabin by our pond for vets to stay in while they are here.
Raise enough funds to pay the guys who are working a weekly salary.
(Not enough that this is a career, but enough that they can still survive while they are here.)
Raise funds for flights, gas money, travel expenses, and food for guys coming in from all parts of the US.
Reach out to existing organizations for other resources for assistance in all aspects of recovery.
Create a YOUTUBE channel and website that shares these stories for motivation to our combat vets that are struggling...letting them know that it's ok to lean on your brothers.
Anyway, after I posted that video talking about Andy, I met Nick and Ian. Both combat vets who have similar stories and are at different stages of the struggle. Nick came out for the last few weeks now to help out around here and his wife has said that he now has purpose. He's a better husband and father. He's also signed up for college. Oh and he's continuing to lose a ton of weight, and he's actually taking over as Range Operations Manager for Rev-Tac until he goes to school in the fall!
Ian works out here too as one of our best instructors, and is one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. Both of these guys are looking to help me and other combat vets who struggle finding their purpose to find it before it's too late.
Thank you for reading all this, spreading the word and donating to a great cause!