Saturday, October 15, 2016

I'm Back

A New Beginning 

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

For all those that have followed my blog in the past, I am sorry for the elongated period of time away. To say that I have had some personal issues would be the understatement of the century. I am however finally finding my voice again and hopefully, will start to update this blog on a more regular schedule.

I am not going to go into what happened nor will I attempt to make excuses for my actions.
What I will do is say that I have learned an awful lot about who I am and where I am going and am very excited about my future. My camera has been neglected over the past few years and I am finding it finally with a new backdrop of America as it's subject. For now, I have been traveling with my eyes open in hopes to spur on the artistic flow. Feel free to check out the new design at my prices are extremely fair and my hopes for the pictures posted are to please people's senses and maybe help keep my gas tank full at the same time.

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you've made, if they don't realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.” 
― Steve Maraboli

Mike has been an amazing travel partner over the past 7 months and I would be at a loss without him. I thank God for the mission of reaching out to Veterans of all Era's and helping where I can. I can hopefully lower fears of those that have worried about my whereabouts by saying that I have been safe and sound with many new friends as I start this new part of my life. I have been blessed to see all of the Blue Ridge Parkway and other areas along the South East of America. My travels will stretch soon enough but for now, as I settle up my past and handle some new medical issues I will focus on staying warm during this coming winter.

There is so much to look forward to at this point of my life. I can not think of a period of time where my gratitude has ever been stronger for all the experiences and family I have. So often in life, we as people tend to drive on at 65 miles an hour looking forward without slowing down. Focusing on the road in front of us without taking the time to see the images and people that God has placed on the sides of the road for us to stop and speak to. I have learned over the past 6-7 months that I need to pull over and share with all of those people that used to just be flashes in the mirror. I may not be around to come back and experience today again tomorrow so I am not willing to miss it. The gifts I have been given are so much clearer today than ever before. Hopefully, my "Journey" will inspire others to slow down and breathe while they enjoy each other to the fullest.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
― Lao Tzu

Those that know me will be happy to know that not a day goes by where I am not able to share with someone about Service Dogs and the way they change lives. I am also able to reach out into the Veterans communities recently in ways I have never been able to before which has been eye-opening for me. My river has been laid out for me and I am moving forward with many many future experiences to look forward to. Thank you all for staying in contact with me and I look forward to sharing and hearing from everyone. God Bless.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”

Update: Brian went through his surgery and came out doing very well! His recovery is going well and hard to believe but he has opted to slow down a bit and actually listen to the doctors while he waits to make sure everything is in working order. He is still having an issue that Walter Reed is actually looking at so please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers as they look to get answers but thank God that everything came out so well overall. (Don't you love the picture of Mike playing doctor trying to make Brian feel better)

Life throws so many curveballs sometimes it is a full time job just keeping up to the changes brought on because of those. For those that follow the travels of Mike & I our trip to Montana has been postponed for a while due to circumstances beyond our control. I have to admit I am bummed out I was really looking forward to meeting all those friend I haven't had the chance to meet yet. Don't fret though I doubt I will be kept in my stable long especially since I don't have a stable ;)  You may notice that many of the pictures in the blog this time are not mine. I am using some of the pictures that were featured in the Blog about the MCI Framingham Prison Program. I know that I have mentioned this program often because it is where Mike was raised. The fact that Mike & I were invited back to the facility to tour and take part in the interview process was such an honor. We also got to spent a very emotional visit with the women that actually raised Mike. What an honor. Please go read and Support the mission because they support both America's VetDogs and The GuideDog Foundation which without VetDogs would not be.

Over the past few weeks Mike and I have been back down south to see Brian and help out while he had brain surgery. I've also been doing the switch from the Providence primary care to the West Roxbury VA which has required a good amount of travel and thanks to my trusty truck camper overnights in the parking lot to save on gas and miles. Everything has been a great experience and I can vouch for the great service rating that the West Roxbury VA has. My new primary care doctor is great and very on top of things which is a nice change from my last PC in Providence.

Enough about me lets talk about the stuff that is important. Helping others! Because Mike and I have been spending so much time up at West Roxbury and we are not as well know there as we have been in other places we have had the opportunity to talk to many new veterans and caretakers about service dogs. Mike is such a great catalyst to starting those conversations. Hopefully over time there will be a number of new service dogs walking the halls along with us.

Even with the Montana trip being postponed Mike & I have been very busy and will be very busy. Of course we have Legion and VFW stuff we're doing along with a good amount of VetDogs events also. Coming up this week we have a Lions & Leo's Night of Giving were we will represent for VetDogs and then deliver their generous donation to VetDogs at the annual 5/10k run in Annapolis, MD. Right before the trip to Annapolis our own church family at Trinity Episcopal Church here in Brooklyn CT is holding a Family dinner fundraiser for America's VetDogs. I point this out because some people seem to think that a fund raiser has to be huge or done by a large group well I can tell you all that Brooklyn CT itself is a tiny town and the church is a small community but they feel the need to step up and support this wonderful mission. I can tell you all that the only thing it takes to run a fundraiser is a willingness to put yourself out there and make it happen. The amount of money raised is secondary to the feeling and knowledge that bringing a community together to help save our nations veterans brings. Mike & I travel for any and all organizations that want to get involved in any way. It's about giving back every penny helps the foundation without a doubt but the word spread through the community is where the real win happens.

After the Annapolis run is done Mike & I will head to Philadelphia to meet with the folks at Boeing to speak to them about America's VetDogs and the CFC campaign. What an honor to be allowed to go in and visit a facility like that and show them how their dollars are spent to help other veterans recover from all sorts of medical issues. Once we are done there we will pack the camper up and head over to the American headquarters for PetValue another proud sponsor of VetDogs who happens to have Mike & I as their team for the year. Once we finish there we will rush bak toward CT where PetValue will be meeting us at their Colchester Store to present VetDogs with a generous check of a secret dollar amount from this years March giving campaign they ran. You all may recall my mentioning that in past announcements where they did the handsantizer sales. That will be an exciting day for sure.

Well I hope I haven't bored you all and I look forward to see you all on the road or in our travels somewhere. God Bless.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

“Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose!”

As always I have been less than stellar in keeping up with posting blog entries. I have not however been resting on my laurels that is for sure. It seems that over the past few months I have been on fire with a renewed fever in my heart to carry a message to anyone that will listen and share it with others. The fact that so many people have come out and helped support me in my travels and then in the project to get the trailer going was absolutely breathtaking.

“Grateful souls focus on the happiness and abundance present in their lives and this in turn attracts more abundance and joy towards them.” 
― Stephen Richards

When I blogged last I thanked everyone that took part in the fundraising project to secure the trailer. That trailer is going to allow me to carry more info and stay on the road for longer periods of time and longer trips across the country. Since the last entry I have been a very busy person traveling around New England getting my medical moved out of Providence and up to the West Roxbury VA system where now all of my specialist and primary care will be able to communicate much better. This has already started to pay off better for me in allowing me to concentrate all my appointments around one timeframe and place.

Not only does this improve my care but it streamlines the time spent hanging out at doctors offices allowing me to better serve other veterans and people in need. I am so grateful that I am given an opportunity to share my life with so many others and hopefully make a difference in their lives. Mike and I have been able to go back to MCI Framingham where he was raised as a puppy and visit with the staff and inmates along with Planet Dog who will be doing a piece on the amazing work the prisons are doing with Americas VetDogs changing lives. Mike was able to meet up with his weekend puppy raiser and show off how he has grownup but still remembers how important they were in his life. 

To be able to share these time with these families has been such a great feeling for all of us. It is not a common experience to be able to have times like this and for us to have both the prison and then the weekend raiser time all in one day was mind boggling. I can not say thank you enough to all those people for their generosity in helping give me my life back through Mike.

We (Mike & I ) went to WestPort CT where we had a great meet and greet with the Choice Pet and Star 99.9 Radio Station guys. There are so many great organizations out there helping to raise awareness and money for nonprofits like VetDogs. I am honored everyday to be asked to help out by telling my story of how these dogs helped save my life. How Iris my first Service Dog helped steer the doctors to the right diagnose allowing them to change my meds and get my drivers license back. So many ways my life has been changed I could go on for pages and pages. Oh wait I have over time feel free to go back in time and read past blog entries to see some of how things have changed. 

As I sign off tonight please keep my brother in arms in your prayers. I got a call yesterday while I was in Boston telling me that Brian was going to have to have brain surgery. Brian has been featured in my blog also. Due to circumstances beyond his control there were issues that were going to be major obstacles. One of the greatest gifts of my disability is the ability to help others sometimes. I was able to jump in the truck and come to Virginia and help for a bit. Brian will have his surgery in a couple days and everything looks like it will be fine. Please keep him and his family in your prayers during this time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hold the presses!

After that East Coast run a lot was learned about camping in my camper and how to make things work. I love the camper don't get me wrong, just due to it's compact size I learned that having some storage for supplies and other things would be a nice addition.

So in light of the new enlightened ways of extended periods on the road, I have been in discussions with other seasoned truck campers and the answer appears to be in a small cargo trailer. This will give us room to pack up the needed supplies along with the added flyers and other information about VetDogs and other Veteran issues I am constantly speaking about.

My biggest problem of course is the fact that I am on a fixed income so making a leap of faith to get this trailer is a tad nerve racking. I was speaking to friends and they mentioned going up to and starting a gofundme page to help defer the cost.

I did that today. Deep down I feel like I am begging and I should not be doing this because it is not a job just a personal mission to help others however everyone I speak to has encouraged me to give it a try. So please do not feel obligated in any way but if you feel moved to donate a few bucks toward a trailer I am working to raise up to 3k. With taxes and registration that will get it covered.

The link to the go fund me page is

Thank you all and I am sorry I am even putting it out there to be honest.


God Bless

Monday, February 22, 2016

East Coast Traveler a little over 4,000 miles driven by the end!

Mike & I had our first long range adventure!

We took off just in time to miss out on the first major snow fall of the year 2016! We left in a cold rain but that was nothing compared to what would follow the next day. As we followed all our friends (and of course prodded them about their misfortune) and the heavy wet snow fall we ventured into a much warmer clear sunny skyline. Annapolis, MD accepted us with open arms allowing Mike & I to come in and tell all about how America's VetDogs changes lives. We opened some doors to potential sponsorships for the upcoming 5/10k road race which was our goal.

I know the opening picture of the eagles from Conowingo Dam may not match up with our timeline but I did not have an opportunity to shoot any pictures while working with the Chair for the upcoming race. Please do take a moment to go and check out the race and help our friends like Lisa soar to new heights with their personal fundraising (or any of the other runners if you know them). You will of course notice the first picture Lisa uses is a picture of Mike sitting in her car between my legs. She says that she's holding more hostage in hopes of getting donations for the run. So please hurry and make your donation so we can free Mikes pictures for the world to see!

I made a personal stop next down in the Richmond area to visit another Veteran who is awaiting a Service/Guide Dog. While at that stop Mike had the opportunity to hang and play with one of the future puppies in the Puppy programs. You can check out those pictures here

Our next stop on the whirlwind tour was a quick run down to the beach in South Caroline where Mike & I watched the Super Bowl with a dear friend who has transplanted down there. We hung out for a bit but do to my mission and desire to be on the road we moved on mid day Monday.I made a quick stop in GA at Hunter Army Airfield to see the huge changes there. (I went through the Ranger Indoctrination Program there before before going to Ranger School. Wow, what memories.  After a short stop we jumped back into the truck and moved on down the road to Florida. Our first night in Florida was spend in a rest stop instead of trying to find a campground. We love being in a Truck Camper where the side of the road is just as good if not better then any campground out there.

For the most part of our time in Florida we centered out of Ft Lauderdale and jumped around to places like the Everglades for a few days. We went as far as Ft Meyers and checked out some Manatees warming themselves in the heat of the local power plant at Manatee State Park. The Everglades were warm and refreshing our campsite was well off the beaten path (Mitchell's Landing) one of our National Park Service sites where they do take good care of us Disabled Vet's. For those that have yet to grab your NPS Access Pass do it, you get half price for camping and free access into all parks.
I wish I had a chance to shoot more pictures while I was out in the glades but other things came up and I will leave it at that. in the meantime I have posted a few more interesting pictures here.  Feel free to check them out there are some good bird shots and some great gator shots. Mike had no interest at all in any of them all he was doing the whole time was keeping his eyes on me. 

After three nights in the glades we went back to Ft Lauderdale to meet up with the Classic Car Cruise peeps. What can I say about a great group of people, these guys and gals of all ages get together every year and take a cruise to a sunny destination.  While they cruise not only do they have a digital car show but they have a fund raiser and for the past 3 years they have supported America's VetDogs as their Charity of Choice! The first year they took up the banner for AVD Iris and I cruised with them and they raised enough money to name a puppy. Last year we were unable to go along but they actually raised enough to name two puppies that are currently in the Florida Penitentiary

This year the main purpose of our trip was to go see this amazing group off and let them know how much America's VetDogs and us Veterans that receive these dogs appreciate what they are doing. It is one thing to go to an auction or a fundraiser but to live a fundraiser for a week or this years trip is 9 days in the Caribbean. For the first time ever they had their first event onshore so that Mike & I could be there and speak to them. At that event the Corporate CEO and CFO of Cruise Planners, came down to present a check to Vetdogs and also partake in the first of the auction evenings. They raised over 3k that night alone so I am looking forward to hearing all about the amazing trip and how they will change lives with their donations.
Once the commitments were done we scooted over to downtown Ft Lauderdale and took a water taxi around the intercostal. What a great way to see the sights.  We saw ships that cost more then my dreams and houses that I would be afraid to walk through let alone live in. Give me a minute with their owners and I could explain how VetDogs changes lives though and maybe even get some donations to help other veterans out.

Once we finished up with the water taxi we headed north hoping to get to the northern tip of FL. There is a great little State Park there that has some wonderful history. Fort Clinch State Park was a great stop after a night in another rest area, yes I am getting older and just not up to doing those 600+ mile drives in one day.  A day on the water taxi took a bunch of steam out of me too.  I do have some pictures posted here also from the real camera

Our Next stop was a planned visit at the Inlays right outside of Ft Bragg in Fayetteville, NC we spent a couple days there then ventured north to the Aberdeen MD area where we ran into a family that raises puppies for the Foundation and also took our chances trying to sight and capture some of those amazing Bald Eagles. With an early trip out to Conowingo Dam we were able to snap some pictures albeit not great action or quality due to the weather. The shear number of eagles present made the stop worthwhile in my book.

And to finish off the longest journey in the camper we have the longest Blog entry. I hope I have given a slice of the adventure to you and please remember to check out the VetDogs pages either Lisa's race page where you can sponsor her or my travel page where you can make a donation directly to Vetdogs. Now for the shameless plug to insure other Veterans have the same opportunities I have had Here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog.

God Bless and have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

OK Here we are in 2016 hard to believe that I have not written in the blog since November of 2015 but alas we are talking about me. No excuses just been busy and well life happens.  As you can tell from the Pictures posted at the top of the blog My Son Daniel married the love of his life in November. What a time was had by all. The wedding was beautiful and Mike and I even got dressed up for the glorious event. Yes we are very proud of both of them and wish them the best as they move on as a pair.  They are amazing together.

The holidays were a tad stressful for Mike and I and had us slowing down a bit compared to our normal full speed ahead attitude that we try to keep up.  I honestly do not recall what we did in the month of December other then ending up over Christmas in the hospital with a small medical problem. After a few days of hanging out spreading holiday cheer they finally decided they had enough of us and released us back to terrorize the rest of the community. 

Mike did wonderful in the Hospital setting and actually was a great test model for the ADA seminar we were asked to help out with in Jan at the same hospital.  We had a great turnout to this event and it was a great way to give back to the community and share with them how great they were when Mike and I were hanging out with them.

So now that we are starting to feel back to that 100% mark that we enjoy we are looking forward to getting busy and hopefully warmer. We have been invited to do some events in Florida and along the way in getting down and back. To say that Mike and I are looking forward to getting away from the snow would be putting it mildly. After being stuck in the snow last year with the camper stuck behind a snow bank till mid April we do not want that to happen again. 

Just recently the State of New York honored all Service Dogs by naming the service dog the official dog of New York. Mike and Myself were there at the state capital for the opening day of the legislature to accept a proclamation on behalf of all service dog teams.  This was such an honor, Time Warner Cable was there along with the History Channel to document this day's event. Not only did Time warner do a very nice news story for their News Channel 1 station in the Albany area they employees banded together and raised $6,000 dollars to donate to America's Vetdogs to name a Service Dog after one of the past leaders at Time Warner. Support from organizations like this is great and always great to help get the word out about how Service Dogs help Veterans. One of the Highlights of the day for me was to meet another veteran who had been trying to get a dog but her disability had caused here to give up the process and lose hope. When she left she had a renewed hope and was moving forward to get her application going.

It is always an honor to be able to help others and I am forever grateful that I have been allowed to get out there in the public and share how much both my service dogs have changed my life. It is not my story that counts but the story of how others are able to move forward and start to get their life on track that keeps me going. Now that my computer is back online and the snow is pushing me south hopefully I will meet new people on my adventures. God bless all.  The camper is on the truck so it will not get stuck behind any snowbanks this year hopefully. This is yesterday before the snow this morning we have about 8" out there and I am not looking forward to cleaning it off but hey that is all part of living in this part of the world right??

Thursday, November 5, 2015



Sorry to report that my computer has officially crashed with no life support able to bring it back to life. Because of that my blog has taken a hit for updates. Mike and I have been very busy with both personal and veteran issues. As I look for ways to get the word out about helping our nations veterans I can not help but be grateful for all of you that continue to help in so many ways.

This month Mike & I have traveled all over New England and New York. Many American Legion activities along with VetDogs speaking has kept me sane while on a personal note we prepare for my sons upcoming wedding. It is so hard to believe that my baby boy who I held in the palm of my hand what seems like yesterday is now an adult and getting married on Saturday. So many feelings rush through my mind as I write here but most importantly satisfaction knowing that he is a bright young man taking on a new role in life. Who knows I may be a grandfather in a couple years, God knows both Dan And Laura will make wonderful parents.

On the veteran front things have been ultra busy. Here in Northeastern CT we have a new coffee house setup to help veterans come to grips with being a civilian along with bonding together to help each other. Mike and I were even able to present to the group about life with a service dog and some of the other projects I have been blessed to help with.  I need to take a moment to mention the CT American Legion has been so helpful in getting the word out and financially supporting VetDogs. I've even had a chance to speak to state and national level legionaries over the past month.

America's VetDogs has published their monthly news letter and in that they have put together a video that was shot when I received Mike. Personally I don't ever think I can do this organization credit but to be able to part of spreading the word that veterans have a place to go for help is humbling. Check it out:

Well since this iPad doesn't allow me to edit and write as well as I would like I'm going to call it a wrap for this version. Remember that if anyone wants to get active please reach out to me and I will do my darnedest to help you find your niche. There is nothing more satisfying then helping another person without expecting anything in return. God bless.