Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“Chase away sorrow by living one moment at a time to the fullest possible extent!”

Over the past year Iris and I have had some very long days and even some long weekends but this trip to Houston pushed the limits of my body. The mind is there saying come on we can keep going yet the body just seems to fall flat. The good news is that I know we have made it through and met some great people in the process. First things first Yes TEXAS IS HOT!!! I will stop complaining about CT's heat (at least until it gets hot again here). 

We had to fly to Florida to catch our connection into Houston making the flight out there about 7 hours of travel time without a break for Iris. All I can say is that Miss Iris is one of the best behaved service dogs ever, she never once complained but boy when she got out of the airport in Houston she was one happy traveler to see real grass. The folks from TX were extremely great from the moment we stepped off the plane until we got back on the plane to come home. There were a number of Legion people there to help make sure that we had help in getting all of our travel to hotels taken care of and made is feel very welcome. All I can say is thank you all for a great time.
While at the convention I was amazed even though we were only dealing with the delegates side of the membership how many people were actually there. The legion along with all the service organizations may be in a waning period but there are still many American's out there proud of their service and their loved ones service also. I talking to the delegates about the experiences I have had with Iris and How America's VetDogs has changed my life I shared a number of tears of hope that others would be able to also find hope. How nice would it be if every veteran that has a medical need for a service dog was able to get one? It is a message that I know I will continue to proclaim on a daily basis.

Iris had fun while we were there playing and hanging out with Lara a Lab/Golden mix from VetDogs who helps her Veteran with her issues. There were a few other training groups that had their service dogs in training there also. All the pup's got along splendidly and I am sure that the quality of dogs being trained for our Veterans impressed all the legionnaires that took time to come and learn about them.

On a different note, for all those that follow the advocacy work I do, there have been a couple high profile issues the past few weeks on the eastern seaboard. One that affected a graduate of America's VetDogs which has been handled very well and is well on the way to become a great training opportunity for the town and community to learn more about Service dogs and Veterans needs. The other one is a retired Air Force Vet & his service dog in Mass that was kicked out of a restaurant. This happened in Oxford right up the road from me. Unfortunately the whole thing has turned into a mess and people are taking sides. When that happens businesses get hurt people never get the full story and future disabled people will still encounter issues because there is no resolution. I have all intentions of going up to this resteraunt later this week or next week in hopes of showing the laws and explaining why they are in place. Hopefully we will be able to come to a resolution and ease tension in the community.

So anyone wanting to join in on this run to Oxford MA please let me know. 

Till then have a great labor day weekend coming up and be safe.

 Here is the first of the Artist renditions of the plans on the camper. There are a few changes but I really like where this is going. Stay tuned to what happens next. 

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 like mine. 

The next three here are Maggie Starr's rendition Same concept except the idea of keeping all the body parts looking correct not stretched out and all the windows & venting on the camper have been kept in place to insure proper placement. I am sure that we will come up with something between the foundation and us.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Never tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!

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 like mine.

3 day's till I leave for Houston. This is going to be the longest of the trips in sometime I leave on Thursday and return on Tuesday and am looking forward to hanging with so many Veteran's of all Era's. We will have a booth at the convention to spread the word about service dogs and how they change lives. I changed my affiliation to legion post 91 instead of being a member at large post 200 member. Up until now I have felt no desire to be locally affiliated especially with the posts centering around a smoke filled bar. (Just not an atmosphere I find myself drawn to). The Legion just like the VFW are great organizations that I am happy to be a part of and support but until recently I have had to focus all my energy with the DAV and AMRA. I am really looking forward to the convention in Houston.
Ok enough about that I am sure that when I return I will have lots to say about the convention. Last week was very interesting for me. My travels were pretty much local with much of the time spent handling local issues and trying to make sure that we put out a welcoming hand to our veterans returning home from active duty. My home town of OldSaybrook Ct held a fundraiser for a Marine Sgt who is still on Active duty undergoing medical treatment for a TBI condition after his 3 trip overseas. He was flown back to OldSaybrook Sat morning to be the guest of honor at Fireman's field. It was a great day of support and he and his family were overwhelmed with the public outreach. 

To see the community come together and raise money for this young family was wonderful. I was able to spend some time with both Dan and his wife to share my experience overcoming my TBI issues and getting back into living a normal life. Of course I gave him and his wife information on America's VetDogs and told them both all about Iris with all that she does for me. They seemed very excited and said they will call once they get back to Virginia. They headed back for the Hospital on Sat Evening so I may hear from them soon I hope. I explained how it is not uncommon to start the process of applying to get a service dog before getting off active duty to limit the timeframe. 

Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to meet with the CEO of a startup company called Grillie.com. This is a neat company that makes really nice auto grille pieces that are made in Rhode Island and are die cast so they will last and look great for years to come. The CEO is a super nice man who is very excited to help veterans and others and when I spoke to him about doing something with VetDogs he was very excited. Needless to say I went and looked at some of the product and feel in love with the Lab Grillie which is now proudly shown on my truck for all to see. 

While the legal side of things is worked out with America's VetDogs I have worked out a way to save a few dollars and let him make a donation in kind to VetDogs for every sale that is made. So if you go to http://www.grillie.com and pick out whatever product you want (he has a good number already for you) then go to the shopping cart page where there is an option for the promo code. You have to enter the promo code in here to get the discount and donation to take place. This is the only place that it happens. The Code itself is case sensitive so please cut and paste from here. vetdogskp is the code all lower case no breaks. What does it get you and VetDogs you ask? Here is the breakdown 20% of you order amount is going to be turned into a donation to America's VetDogs and you will receive a 10% discount for placing this order and using the code. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where does time go?

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 like mine.

I know I lost last weeks blog entry somewhere between my brain and the keyboard. I did do some traveling to the coast for a couple nights on the beach with Iris and my wife. I even brought the camera out and snapped some pictures which is something I have not been doing all that much of lately. Unfortunately my getting things done button does not appear to be working for me.

Many people would say I am to hard on myself, that I accomplish a lot but when I look at what I do it never seems enough. I can tell everyone that the article that Truck Camper Magazine  published has kept me going in front of the computer screen and phone like I have not been in a very long time. I have had comments and request from all over. Soon one of the Military organizations I belong to will be publishing their own interview also both in the print and online versions. I will of course let everyone know when I know. All I can say about any and all of the media that does come out is thank you from the bottom of my heart, it is not about me but getting the message out to help our Veterans who need help in transitioning back into civilian life. I have my Service Dog already and am on the way back now it is all about helping others to find their way.

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 like mine.

So that pretty much covers last weeks entry or what should have been so on to this weeks update. I mentioned that I have started growing my twitter presence which is a learning experience for sure. I used to think that just having people follow you was the key to "winning with twitter". Now I have been building relationships with followers and actually interacting with those I follow. It has been interesting and much more time consuming then I had originally planned for. I am still learning and playing but as I seem to grow by 30-50 new followers daily and expand my reach from just the service dogs for Veterans to truly pushing for Veteran Advocacy which is something that I find to be very important for me and others to have a layman to help them through the many land mines that wait for them once out of the military. The abbreviated format seems to really work well for this work so I am enjoying it and hope that others will help guide me to be more effective also.

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 like mine.

Saturday I took off for Long Island via the Bridgeport Port Jefferson Ferry to head out to the Cousin's Paint Ball for Patriots Fundraiser. This was the second year that I was involved in this event. This is a perfect example of a 3rd party fundraiser that I am more than happy to support. The group of people that put this together do it for a love of their country and our veterans knowing that they want to give back in a fun way. They had people from all over there participating and the day was a great success. I wish that I was still able to get out there and rough it up with them but well there is a reason I have the service dog and the doctors would not be at all happy with me nor my family. See guys I am getting better at being more adult. So many thanks go to all those involved with the event and who knows maybe they will invite me again next year.

This week is filled with family obligations so I am not sure what my travels will be but I can assure you that I hope to get out to somewhere. I would love to hear from your organization or group and come for a visit all you have to do is ask. Two weeks from now I will be in Houston for the National American Legion Convention (not driving to that one). The new meds are working great but I am still not comfortable enough to make that long a drive on my own so I have been warming my arms up and SW Air has already saved space in case I can not get enough lift with my paddles.

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 like mine.
Till Next time, Happy Trials!

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 like mine.