2016 is a year of endeavor. This year I’ll be daring to live again, and in a way that’s bigger than me. I want to say thanks to all my friends and family.
In speaking with the CEO of a great company and now one of our sponsors this past week, she commented on how ambitious the goal of Veteran Voyage 360 was. “$22,000,000 is a lot of money”, she said. I agreed, but added further, that there is no choice. That it is something that must be done for our Special Operations soldiers and veterans. That the job wasn’t being done, and that if it was then there wouldn’t be 22 plus great Americans a day committing suicide, and that the billions of dollars spent on prescription meds is not the answer, and that there is a better way, there are breakthrough technologies healing the brain, and there are state of the art materials that increase protection from blast and shock, there is a way, or we will create one. And I am doing something as a demonstration of the resolve to overcome the diagnosis, the injury, the wounds, and without the antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antianxiety agents. That the brain can be healed and if not healed then stabilized, and dysfunction can be made orderly again. There can be no failure because Im giving my life for this cause, and even if I were to perish between this little Stand up Paddleboard excursion of 3500 miles to the Statue of Liberty, or during the around the world row across 3 oceans and 27,000 miles to come next, that I will have accomplished my purpose. That life does not stop with brain injury or PTSD, that our family and friends are the reasons we are living and they are WHO we fought for to begin with! LIFE is bigger than me, and God grant me the courage to see that.
My Veteran Voyage 360 is to find that new place, and maybe not where I once was, but who it is I am now after the fighting is over. My Veteran Voyage 360 is to give back to those who are struggling now like I was, and before my wife Tonia, and my kids, and my friends, and the SOCOM Care Coalition and the Task Force Dagger Foundation pulled me out of the quicksand I was in and set me on solid ground, and to live again. I am thankful to be alive today for all that there is to live for, and all I can do is to share that with others by giving back in some way.
So thank you friends and family for sharing in this with me. Thank you BOTE Boards for making this Guinness World Record by Stand Up Paddleboard attempt possible, and to my other sponsors like Ron Jon Surf Shop, Texas Superfoods, LALO, and SPOT for being the needed support to accomplish this mission. Giving way together we can whittle that huge amount of money into something manageable, and that makes sense for everyone. In this case, $1 per Veteran in America and we’d be through, and have enough change to do it again for all in need.
Join me on my quest. I even promise to make it entertaining by riding storms, evading sharks, and pushing the human limits of endurance. It will be worth watching just to see if I am eaten by a Crocodile in the Everglades, washed out to Sea along the East Coast, or abducted by Sea Pirates for ransom. This will be an epic adventure. I am 60 days away from launching off a quiet beach on South Padre Island, Texas on March 1st with a supply of water, food, and shelter for 5 days at a time. I hope to see many of you at each of the dozen Rally Points along the way, and to keep you updated here, and with the SPOT that will track my progress.
Life doesn’t stop with brain injury at any age, and life doesn’t end with PTSD.