Thursday, May 30, 2013


Earned VA benefits are just that... earned.

They are not something to be taken lightly or simply brushed aside and not utilized because certain Veterans are personally financially successful.

When you sign up for the U.S. military, you are signing a contract that binds you to serving the federal government and with that agreement, you say you are willing to die for the cause.

You are saying that you are willing to be sent to the ends of the planet, and engage in life altering combat, in the best interest of the people of the United States.

In response, your government is agreeing to take care of you, in the event that you suffer from life altering conditions, in the performance of your duties to the nation.

But in addition to that, there are certain benefits that are made available to you, specifically because you agree to serve.

I know due to the nature of my job and speaking with Veterans everyday, that many of my brothers and sisters are not well educated on the process to file for and receive any of these benefits.

Most of us know about the medical benefits, but many also do not know about certain others, such as the VA loan, the Vocational Rehab program, or even unemployment compensation post service to carry you into the next job.

Below, I pulled the VA benefits table from their website just in case any of you have not seen it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Warrior Athletes.

Throughout the process of training for competition, athletes have been photographed and interviewed by various news agencies.

Here are some of their images.

Getting the message out.

I had the pleasure of speaking with a couple of members of the media today about adaptive sports as tools to aid in recovery.

Since meeting fellow veterans who also participate in adaptive sports, I have gained a new perspective on life.

Overcoming mental and physical obstacles through healthy competition is a spiritual and physical life extending practice.

Below is one of the spots produced by the U.S. Air Force Academy's Den Mar Services Team.

Thanks so much to those guys for helping me get this message out to my fellow veterans.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prince Harry and the 2013 Warrior Games

Prince Harry was a gracious and inquisitive guest during his time at the 2013 Warrior Games here in Colorado Springs.

He spoke of possibly hosting an international set of games in the United Kingdom in the future.

I hope you pursue that dream Captain Wales. Thank you for being a devoted leader and soldier.

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Sarah Evans carries the torch.

Air Force Captain Sarah Evans was the torchbearer for the U.S. Air Force Team at the Opening Ceremony of the Warrior Games presented by Deloitte on May 11, one day before Mother's Day.

Sarah spoke with me last training camp about her story and the challenges she faced with her recovery and the obstacles she has already overcome.

She was selected to be the official U.S. Air Force Torchbearer during the Warrior Games Opening Ceremony.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Let the games begin.

Prior to the start of the 2013 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte, which run May 11-16, athletes and supporters gathered at the Athlete Welcome Reception, May 10, at Penrose House in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Guests included Admiral James Winnefeld, ninth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Misty May-Treanor, three-time Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball.

Being a part of the U.S. Air Force Team is an honor and a privilege that only a few have known. The evening was dedicated to meeting and greeting fellow athletes, distinguished visitors and key sponsors of the games.

The following day, we gathered to make our entrance to the games. Each team made their official entrance and greeted invite only spectators.

The energy in the waiting area flourished, and stories of triumph during medical treatment dominated the topics of conversation.

Each team made our way to "the tunnel" and walked to our seats.

Prince Harry of Wales was a special guest and has remained an active participant in the games for the United Kingdom team. Even participating in a seated volleyball game, where his youthful, fighting spirit showed through.

I am off to capture a bit of the seated volleyball game tonight, so I will have more to share later.

Go Air Force!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Finally here.

We made it. 50 athletes, Airmen from various walks of life and each with stories of triumph and recovery.

I am so proud to call myself an Airman again.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The rush.

The past 24 hours have been filled with check-in's, paperwork, team meetings, and clothing issue.

Situations military veterans are all too familiar with.

But, there is some icing on the cake.

When we learned of our lunch yesterday at the U.S. Air Force Academy, we were all pretty curious about what was going to go on there and how we were going to get some chow in between training sessions.

I was stuck at the hotel without a ride when my trusty old pal (and former supervisor), Mike, came by to assist me in getting to the lunch.

Bonus about having Mike pick me up ... we went straight to the top level of the chow hall and I had the privilege of being right next to the action as my fellow teammates entered the facility.

It is a pretty amazing rush of energy when a crowd of more than four thousand cadets and Airmen cheer for you and your team. The thoughts of gold medals and winning events rush through my head like something from a movie montage.

The thirst for winning is accompanied by a deeper sense of accomplishment for many of us involved in these games. You see, everyone involved in the Warrior Games is a part of their respective branches wounded warrior program.

In recent days, in response to the ongoing need for continuing care, each branch of the military established their own individual wounded warrior outreach program.

Some are older than others, but all are in existence to provide care to any seriously wounded, ill or injured veteran identified on a casualty report, or recommended by the medical community, as having highly complex medical conditions identified by the medical community.

Also included are veterans who have been referred to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and/or other mental health conditions, or who have been retained for more than six months on medical Title 10 orders, or returned to Title 10 orders, for medical conditions related to deployment.

Many support organizations exist on the outside of the Dept. of Defense, but most are non-profit organizations that focus on the overall broad spectrum of military veterans.

This is a wonderful thing in my opinion, and partnered with government sponsored warrior outreach offices, the network of support services available to today's separating veteran far outweighs any in history.

Veterans support networks play an integral part in disseminating VA benefits information, and by combining forces with government outreach offices, medical, educational, and VA home loan information can reach a wider audience.

This should only be viewed as a positive thing.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Last night was our first night reuniting as a team after a two and a half week break.

The Air Force Warrior Staff organized a visit from the USAF Academy cheerleaders and Gen. William Shelton, Commander of the US Air Force Space Command.

Feelings of excitement and joy were shared by all in attendance, and the team kept arriving even throughout the night last night due to some weather delays in other parts of the country.

This experience, for most of us, will be the ultimate sporting experience we may have in our lifetime.

We are competing at an Olympic level, in the Olympic Training Center, here in Colorado Springs.

All of the nutrition, exercise, and evening strategy sessions, are leading up to this coming week.

This time of challenge and endurance may be the defining moment in recovery for some of my teammates and I.

With my personal struggle to transition into the civilian world, this sporting event, reenforces teamwork in the truest sense. The sweat, the screaming, the injuries ... all of it now must be put on the back burner because the time to train is over.

The time to compete is here. It's time to win.