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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


20DEC- So this morning I met with Edie Rosenthal who is the Public Relations Director for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in Tampa. I have to say that I was a little nervous as to the outcome of the meeting. I wasn't really sure the extent of why they wanted to meet with me, maybe to be sure I wasn't a total nut-job ha ha, but as the meeting progressed I felt better about the outcome and as we ended it was definite they were excited about the Trek. After the initial introductions to the staff Edie gave me a tour of the facility and explained some of the inner workings of the foundation. In the foyer of the building were pictures of injured Special Ops Warriors, as well as children both young and old of fallen Warriors. Some of the young boys were holding pictures of their father and wearing his uniform. It was sad because they were young enough not to fully understand that dad wont be coming back. There was a picture of a young Marine in a hospital bed wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts. He had several areas of his left leg wrapped in bandages. Edie told me that he was attacked by an RPG and he is currently in a fight to save his leg. The doctors say they may end up having to amputate all the way up to his hip. Even though he is faced with this adversity the young Marine had the biggest smile on his face in the picture. There were so many others with so many stories, there isn't enough time to write about them all. After Edie and I sat down and spoke for a while about my plans and purpose for this Trek she generously gave me several T-shirts and hats along with other goodies from the foundations goodie closet. We then set a date of Jan19, 2011 for me to depart Tampa on my Trek. The foundation is willing to help with press releases and media coverage of the event both locally and abroad. It was also said that they will be working on a send off brunch for the 19th that will involve the media. Anyone in the area is personally invited to come to this event. The more the merrier!

I am going to take a few lines here and try to explain a little better about what exactly I am going to do.
It is my plan to set out from Tampa Florida carrying only my Army rucksack(backpack), a cellphone, bare necessities, and a flag that will denote the purpose of the walk. I will carry large amounts of water and as much food as I can on my person but I will really be relying on the compassion of strangers that I meet on my Trek to keep me going with food, water and the occasional shower/laundry use. I am fortunate to know a few people along my route that have agreed to put me up for a night but these friends are few and far between at the moment. The foundation said they will keep track of me and my route and notify ahead of me the cities I will be in along with the VFW so people that may wish to help by supplying food, water and other necessities can do so. The only real financial help I will need is with my monthly cell phone bill. You may not want to donate to the foundation directly but you can still help with the cause by keeping my ability to communicate alive. I'll be using my phone to update this blog, communicate with the foundation,  and for GPS. If this interest you then email me at and I'll give you the info. Again, this foundation is doing a great thing. Essentially they are helping the orphaned and the widowed. My mom pointed out that in the book of James in the Bible, it talks about helping the widows and the orphaned and how this is a high calling. Whether or not you read/ believe in God or the Bible you at least have to agree that coming to the aid of those left behind in this manner is a worthy cause. That is why I believe in this foundation and its purpose.

21DEC- Since I got in at like 1AM and didn't fall asleep till around 3, I slept late. Once I woke up fully I hit the gym at Moody Air Force Base. I spoke to a female Airmen who was working the front desk in the gym about my Trek and the foundation. She was very interested in the walk and said she had not heard of the foundation and wanted to know more. I ended up giving her some of the brochures about the foundation and I wrote the blog address and the donations page address down for her. She said she would pass the info up to her leadership. I think its great that already my purpose is being served by bringing awareness to the SOWF. Several others overheard our conversation and became interested as well so I am hoping that I can garner support here at Moody. Besides the gym there isnt much else to tell about today. Just emailing and texting and more emailing and texting.......trying to get the word out and keep everyone updated.

I will call it a night and let this be all for now........I'll keep updating as I get more news and as I get closer to my leave date. This will probably be my last entry until after Christmas so Merry Christmas everyone. Until next time........

Sunday, December 19, 2010


So yesterday on the 18th I drove down to Tampa to see my son Ben and have an early christmas with him and so I can meet with the two event managers at the Spec Ops Warrior Foundation on Monday morning. When I arrived in Tampa his mom and Ben were eating at an IHOP so I met them there. As I was walking up to the door Ben spotted me and from outside the store I could hear him scream "DADDY!!" and all I saw was the top of his head through the glass windows as he tore across the store for the front door. HAHAHA...... At that point the whole store became interested in finding out who Ben's dad was so, as I walked in it was all eyes on me. That was definitely an awesome way to be welcomed.  Later that evening his mom Raquel and I took him to see the Christmas lights in St Pete. There is a man that lives in St. Pete that turns his house into a winter wonderland of sorts. He has created a walk through tour of his creation which exhibits everything from a video of christian preacher Charles Stanley giving the way of salvation to singing snowmen and even a sort of river in the middle of it all. The owner said it takes approximately 3 months to fully set it up and it costs around 4,500 a month to run the electricity. WOW!

Today on the 19th Ben and I walked around the mall for about 2 hours or should I say that Ben led me around the mall as I chased him HAHA. At one point Ben and I went outside the mall and stopped in a frozen yogurt shop. Ben wanted chocolate yogurt with sprinkles and m&m's so we bought that and sat outside to eat it. As we were eating our frozen goodness I looked over to see a young man between 18-24 in a wheelchair. I noticed that he was drooling onto a towel that was laying across his left chest and shoulder. I also noticed that he was wearing a hat and on the hat it said "Purple Heart." I realized he was a veteran and had suffered severe injuries from the war. I sat there for a moment and watched him. He had a femle attendant with him that was caring for him and holding his hand. About this time Ben's mom walked up and I pointed out the injured Warrior. She mentioned that I should go talk to his attendant instead of staring, which i finally did. I walked up to his attendant and introduced my self as a veteran combat medic and I also gave her my name. I asked for their names and she introduced them as Josh and Julie. I then asked if she would tell me what happened and who he was.....she said......
Josh was her brother and he was on a foot patrol in an undisclosed part of Afghanistan. While on this foot patrol an insurgent fired an RPG at him which blew up near him. He was struck by shrapnel which imbedded itself in his brain and spine. He was flown to Germany after the attack where they ended up taking part of his skull. He also suffered thru 3 strokes as well. I squatted down to look him in the eyes and noticed there was a look of distance. He didn't seem to be there. I was immediately saddened by this. I felt for his family and for him. This Warrior came so very close to giving his life for his Country, for people he does not know both here in the US and in another country that is so far from the friends and family that love him. Julie said that it will be at least 2 years before they can really know what his future will be. According to the doctors it will take that long to bring him to a physically stable place. As I walked back to my son I stored his face to memory. His face will push me on this walk that is before me. He will be a constant reminder of why I am doing what I do and who I am doing it for. This walk is for all the Josh's.

Friday, December 17, 2010

17DEC2010-Starbucks-Valdosta Ga

Well I am sitting at Starbucks in Valdosta Ga editing my blog and emailing people about this Trek. I am amazed at all the support I have garnered from friends and family thus far. I think it is a shock to them that I have chosen such a long journey.......I dont even really notice the length. For me, it has become a must-do, as if a match has been struck and a trail of gunpowder lit. The fuse is burning and I don't see it getting extinguished for any reason. I'll let this first entry stand as is. It will soon be the beginning of a new year and I believe for me in many ways the beginning of a new me. Until next time......