Short story..we are in SF for NCIRE’s Brain at War conference. Tonight, we listened to Congressman Patrick Kennedy speak about the PTSD crisis. It was incredibly insightful, motivating, and awe-inspiring. I have four pages of scribbly notes that I will expand into a blog once we are home. Tomorrow’s program will be full of presentations of new information about the link between PTSD and Alzheimer’s, among other things. If you google Brain At War 2011, you can find some of the press conference interviews from earlier today–sorry I can’t link from my phone. And in addition, I’m about 45 minutes away from being awake 24 hours and I’m running on about 2 hours of sleep..so, more tomorrow!
Congratulations to Heather (@Mommypod22) for being the first winner of one of four John Mayer signed love (v.) wristbands!!!!
Check out Sue drawing our first winner!
Those of you who didnt win, dont worry, we have 3 more signed wristbands to give away! Once we hit the 200 wristbands sold mark, we will draw another name! Remember each time you dont win your name carries over to the next drawing! And the more you buy, the better your odds (and the more we raise for NCIRE. WIN WIN!)
Hey guys! Drew here, and I wanted to tell you a story about a Veteran who’s made an impact on my life. He’s a good friend of mine and my family’s, and his name’s Carter.
Growing up, Carter was my neighbor. I met him around 1990, when I was five. We had just moved into the house I grew up in, and at that time, I was a kid who collected Army men figurines and looked up to soldiers like super heroes, and I always thought Carter was pretty cool. He was in the Reserves, and at one point he actually gave me an old service jacket of his, and I thought it was AWESOME. When I wore it, it would come down to my feet because it was so big, but it was such a cool thing for a little kid.
Over the years, I always looked up to him. He ended up becoming a campus police officer at UNC Greensboro for a while, and later a Guilford County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Fast-forward to November 2005, and Carter and his wife live next door to my parents, and they had their first son together, Brice. Less than six months later, around May 2006, Carter, who thought he was done with active duty, was shipped to Iraq.
This was big, because he was going to be gone for a YEAR, having to leave his wife and newborn behind. It hit me because he was just getting to know his son, and would have to miss most of the first year of his life. His job would be to train Iraqi soldiers, which was intense, because it would be hard to know who to trust.
I had just heard John Mayer’s song, “Waiting on the World to Change” for the first time when I found out about Carter having to go overseas. My mom called me to tell me, and the line that really stood out was “If we had the power to bring our neighbors home from war, they would have never missed a Christmas, no more ribbons on their doors.”
I remember that line really hitting home because Carter was MY neighbor, and he had this newborn, and he’d have to leave his baby and his wife behind and miss Christmas because he was going to be gone for a year. I was frustrated with the fact that he would have to do this, but it was all about the bigger picture. Like so many others, Carter sacrificed being with his loved ones in order to serve the entire country.
Thankfully, Carter served his year and made it through it. He got to come home for Thanksgiving 2006, and I saw him shortly after he got home. He told stories about the heat, and the people, and how all anyone ate was lamb, haha. He did a great service for our country and eased back into his job as a father and Sheriff’s Deputy.
Then, in January 2010, he again thought he was done with active duty, but he had to make a choice. He could be shipped to Afghanistan or he could live in Columbia, SC for a year to train new soldiers. Since his trip to Iraq, he and his wife have had another son, so not wanting to leave them too far behind, he chose the SC position. It’s about a four-hour drive from his family, and they get to see each other on the weekends, which is much better than once or twice a year. What he’s doing now is also a great service to our country, and they’re lucky he is able to help out in this way.
Carter is one story out of so many people out there who sign up and leave their loved ones behind for who knows how long (if ever) to see them again for a bigger cause: to serve and protect our country. He’s a guy I’ll always look up to, and I hope one day I can be a dad and husband like him.
And to all of the Veterans out there, active, retired, and those who are no longer with us: THANK YOU. You guys don’t get enough credit. No matter how one feels about war, the soldiers who stand up for their loved ones are the ones who truly need to be thanked.