Re Boot

It has been a long time, folks. After my four hikes back in 2011, my tendons had about had it. What I thought had been just a painful reminder of my time in the service had become so bad I could barely walk.

On April 12th, 2012, I had surgery at the VA Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, repairing my two peroneal tendons. They had transformed from smooth tubes of muscle that helped drive my foot to raggedy ass tendrils of pain.

After the surgery, I thought I would never walk again. After three months, I could sort of walk again, but I thought hiking would never be a part of my life. And it wasn’t, and didn’t seem like it ever would.

I felt like I had abandoned my post, with my goal unfinished and unattainable. My walking got better, the braces got smaller, but anything longer than a mile or so would leave my foot aching too bad to even consider hiking. I had a pair of Vasque Breeze boots my sister got me for my birthday last year, and they helped, a lot.

The Trail House, a great shop in Frederick, MD, helped me find them. I have oddly sized feet, very wide, and the folks there stock Vasque (premier bootmakers) and in my Fred Flintstone size.

They helped me get through that year, but the boots took a beating. This spring, Mary took me back to the Trail House and I got another pair. BTW, we had our dogs with us, but they’re dog friendly, so Karlos and Peterman got to help me try them on. Can you tell I’m a fan of the Trail House. I keep mentioning their name. Trail House. 😉

So now I have brand new Vasque hikers, and we hit the trail again. Elizabeth and I did the AT from the I-70 bridge to the Washington Monument and back in 2 1/2 hours (that girl is hardcore) and at the end of it I had blisters, but none of the usual foot aches.

Two or three more hikes, and all seems to be working. My foot still hurts, but it’s not debilitating, and it keeps getting better.

So I’m back, my feet are re-booted, and my goals for supporting the Sentinels of Freedom are rebooted. Karlos and I will be back on the road, so if you see me and him out at midnight on a ten miler, or up at 5 AM doing the Wakefield Valley loop, be sure to say hi.

Thanks to Mary and the kids for helping me get here, and thanks to the largest and most compassionate medical system in the United States: The VA. The work they do is amazing, I can tell you from first hand experience.

Thanks to Diane DeMarco and her people at Marketing @ Work for getting me as far as I did before my injury sidelined me. None of what I did would have been possible without her.

Finally I want to thank the folks at the DAV, the Disabled American Veterans. They help more Veterans get the benefits they deserve than any other organization extant. Every single one of their employees is a disabled Veteran, and they, by law, have organic access to the VA system.

If you want to support Veterans, the quickest and most efficient way to do so is probably through financial support of the DAV.

And more specifically thanks Bill, you’re doing amazing work. For me, you ARE the DAV. Semper Fi, brother.Image

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From my wife, who just did a piece to support Amir Hekmati’s freedom effort.

StitchinGirlMary's Blog

My husband is a political news junkie.  I think he enjoys keeping himself informed, but it is more than that.  While I am very opinionated about politics, I don’t often share those opinions outside of my own home or family.  Terry, on the other hand, enjoys entering into conversations with people of all political beliefs.  It is not the debate that he desires, but rather the social discourse.  He truly enjoys the sharing of ideas and ideals.  This has lead to a surprising turn in his life.  As many of you may already know, Terry was so moved by the plight of the wounded warriors who returned home that he started his own charity, Walking For Those Who Can’t.  

More recently he became aware of the plight of another former Marine, Amir Hekmati, and strove to make others aware through social media.  For those of you who are not familiar…

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Now is the Time

I should be writing my NaNoWriMo project, and I will be, but something else is more important right now.

I want you to think about your day…

Do you commute to work? Cross a bridge? Pay a toll? 

Do you use your cell phone? Enjoy the internet?

Do you like fresh food in your store? A wide selection from which to choose?

Do you like to travel?

Those are pretty basic things, we take for granted. How about some things that aren’t in your face every day, probably.

Do you know that a huge number of children only get nutritious meals at school? Did you know Corporals and Sergeants who are married with children likely qualify for foodstamps? 

Did you know the VA, already overloaded, considers it a win when it only takes 120 days for a vet to get an answer on their claim? Did you know that a vet with 100% disability makes 36K a year give or take? 

Hell, what’s important to you? Think really hard. Even if it’s American Idol, or some other TV show, that reaches you courtesy of an infrastructure that is in part a function of our government.

Now my good friend James from Austin might argue that the government needs to get out of most of the things I mentioned, and probably the other stuff you thought of too, but that’s not likely to happen, so I want you to think REALLY hard, what you value, and how our public institutions enable it’s existence or success. 

On January 1st, not only will our taxes be reset to pre-2001 levels, but every single one of those things I mentioned and you thought about will be negatively impacted by the sequester. EVEN local, county, and state funded programs will be hurt, because when the feds cut funding from one place that’s necessary, governments downstream need to pull resources from other places to make up the gap.

Now, I want to lay out some quotes:

“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”

“I so wish — I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”

“In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.”

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.”

“You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together”

The first two are from Mitt Romney’s concession speech. The last are from Barack Obama’s victory speech. 

Now, I want you to follow this link.

This is a list of people who, until Tuesday night, said Mitt Romney was the best man to lead us along the edge of the fiscal cliff to prosperity.

A lot of my liberal friends developed ill-will for Romney during this campaign, but in truth, he really seems to be a moderate most concerned with fiscal responsibility. He never signed Grover Norquist’s pledge, to my knowledge, but even if he did, it’s about as meaningful to him now as a big bale of Romney/Ryan yard signs. 

I don’t presume to call this an open letter (who am I that people should care) but if now isn’t the time for the president to ask Mitt Romney to help bridge the gap before the things we all love, value, and care for are damaged or destroyed, when would be? Make this picture a reality. 

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I’ll close with this; one of my Facebook friends, after they called Ohio for Obama and it was effectively over, asked me if I was through the roof. My reply was “meh”. She said, “Can’t you just celebrate tonight?” 

I have nothing to celebrate until I know that my Marine brothers who have traumatic brain injury, double amputations, paralysis, or even the old dogs with Agent Orange issues will still have the care we owe them on January 1st. For @R%#’s sake, I believe in an absolute separation of church and state but that is a holy obligation. These men and women stepped forward and were blown up, shot, and otherwise wounded halfway around the world for us so now is NOT the damned time to be celebrating, pointing fingers, strategizing for 2016 or doing anything else until we act on the coming sequester. 

Semper Fi,

Terry 

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One Year Anniversary

Many of you have written letters to former Marine Sergeant Amir Hekmati’s family via http://www.freeamir.org and I appreciate that. 

I bring it up again because today is the one year anniversary of Amir’s incarceration by the Iranian government. In that time he has been convicted, sentenced to death, and granted a new trial.

Please keep him and his family in mind today, as this milestone is sure to be painful for them.

I refer you to this article at Kotaku highlighting the latest US entreaty for his release. Kotaku, a game development blog, is to be commended for being one of the leading voices on the web, maintaining coverage of this when other, more traditional, news sources have seemed to lose interest.

Thanks Kotaku, and thanks to all of you keeping Amir in mind.

Semper Fi,

Terry

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The Hekmati Family Speaks out, and the national news catches up

How hard is it to pay attention to a Marine being held hostage in Iran? Google Alerts, set daily.

Not that I reached more than a few hundred people, but it took the national news a few days to keep up.

Here’s the first story I saw. I know there were others, and I’m glad they’re jumping on board. Today it’s 6, maybe tomorrow 60.

I know you guys haven’t forgot him, but please tell a friend.

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Hostage Marine’s family speaks out for the first time

Amir Hekmati, former Marine Sergeant and hostage of the Iranian government for the last 9 months, has largely languished without coverage.

This was probably intentional, as the family has good advisors and obviously controlled media access.

Now they have spoken out.

Go to www.FreeAmir.org to find watch the video the family has put out. Learn more about this Marine who is being held unlawfully by the Iranian government. I challenge you to listen to the story of his childhood and find something wildly different than yours or mine.

I just watched it, and as a parent and a Marine, I am simultaneously heartbroken and enraged. I am finding it difficult to remain civil and logical in my thoughts about this. Please tell your friends about him, because this release by the family means they want publicity now.

You can also write a letter to Amir. If you’ve already written one, write another.

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Marines, leading the way

I taught a history class last week to our local chapter of the Young Marines, and it was a blast. I spoke largely about the battle of Wake Island, America’s first victory in World War II. It came about 4 days into the war, on December 11th. It is an impressive story, and I recommend it to you.

But that is not the point of this post. What I want to talk about is a smile.

You see, there was one girl in the group, sitting in the front row. As I crutched out, I stopped and told her something.

“Hey. You know the Commandant just approved a new policy? Women are going to start going to Infantry Officers Course; real Oh-Three combat officers.”

The smile on that girl’s face was incandescent. She may have been 4′ 10″ and all of 80 pounds, but the look of unrefined pleasure, of joy in acceptance, gave me a lift that has lasted to today.

I have always been a proponent of battlefield equality; I would only hope that the Corps would make the physical qualifications for infantry service uniform and rigorous. Essentially, if you can carry the pack (mentally and physically) go get ’em.

Here is a quote from the Marine Corps Times article by James K Sanborn:

Additionally, new functional fitness tests are being developed to help Marine Corps leaders determine how women and men perform in, and cope with, various combat tasks. The goal is to establish “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards.

Here’s a link to the complete story.

Bravo Zulu to General Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, for leading the way.

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