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Heading back to Indy

It is incredible to think that it has already been four months since I was honored to go to Indianapolis in July for the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. What an absolutely mind blowing adventure to be treated to VIP treatment at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; to see our organization’s name all over the track and to spend time in the city with the mayor and city officials honoring our wounded warriors and even dying the canal purple.

Even more exciting is the fact I am heading back to this great city for another cause.  On Monday October 24th, I will be speaking to the YMCA and helping with the launch of their new Veteran Center. As many of you know, I am a huge advocate for my fellow veterans and wounded warriors to get out and live greatly and overcome the wounds of war.  The YMCA is looking to help support and connect our veterans and this new initiative hopes to help reach 120,000 Veterans living in the area. The Y would act as a hub for local veterans by launching new programs and services for them. Some of the services include financial literacy, military-style fitness training, adaptive sports, job placement and art therapy.

Many of you have heard me say how critical it is for business, individuals and organizations to work together to make a difference.  This is why we created the Combat Wounded Coalition, because it will take a coalition of individuals, nonprofits and businesses to take care of our local, state, and national Veteran community.  I am excited to be supporting the YMCA to help launch this new initiative to make a difference with my fellow veterans.

This trip has another big significance for me.  As with many of our warriors wounded on the battlefield, I carry some of the invisible wounds of war with me.  Moments of sleeplessness, anxiety and discomfort when I can’t watch what’s behind me.  For the last year I have been working with the Battle Buddy Foundation, and training with an amazing German Shepherd I have named Kharma, after the location in Iraq where I was hit.  Battle Buddy will be traveling to Indianapolis with Kharma for us to do our final training and placement.  Kharma is finally ready and will join me at the Indianapolis YMCA and most importantly, for the trip home. Kenny Bass, the Executive Director of Battle Buddy and Sarah the trainer will be there for the final training and to ensure a successful final placement. I am super excited to have Kharma for upcoming events, travel, and everyday life; to have a Battle Buddy to help in those moments where I feel a little overwhelmed but most importantly to watch my back.  Above all, I’m looking forward to having some Good Kharma.

Click here to learn more about the Indianapolis YMCA https://ylovesvets.org

Click here to learn more about Battle Buddy http://www.tbbf.org




2 Responses

  • Andrea Snyder
    Oct 21, 2016

    I love the use of dogs to assist veterans. I am finishing up a paper on how dogs can assist veterans with PTSD. Would you mind if I use a photo of you and Karma on my presentation board?

    Andrea Snyder Oct 21, 2016
  • Loretta Ekoniak
    Oct 21, 2016

    So glad to see that you will be having your battle buddy, Kharma join you! What a great program!

    Do you know where I can get info about starting Vet programs at a YMCA?

    Loretta Ekoniak Oct 21, 2016

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