This summer, Army Special Operations Retiree Josh Collins conducted Operation Phoenix, a 2500 mile standup paddle board journey, to raise funds and awareness for vetran health issues. This is just the first in an effort called VetranVoyage 360 to circumnavigate the globe. Josh is an inspiration to us all.
OPPHX Day 134 – Riding the Waves of Life. 14 Miles yesterday and now 2502.6 complete.
Today we’ll run the remainder of the coast up to Sandy Hook, and where the prize will be within sight.
I saw the Marker in this video (Channel Marker 11), and it made me think back throughout the whole expedition. And, I remembered the USA TODAY Article (about a “Reduction” in Veteran suicides) which still bothers me so much. Frankly, my first thought after reading/listening was, “Is this a VA press release?”
How has this become our new normal, and for so long? Ive said before, if 22, or 20 school teachers or nurses were killing themselves each day, we’d cancel holidays until we got it fixed. Folks, even 20 a day is DOUBLE the National average. That means your son, daughter, brother, or sister may be twice as likely to kill themselves if they are also a great American who selflessly serves their country. (?????) NO! That doesn’t make sense. And it aint just (ONLY and exclusively) the stressors of the battlefield, or trauma from sexual assault, etc….. A hard look must taken at the massive over medication on these problems. Thats been the one reality in the VA’s fix. Not the broken call center, or therapy groups which may sometimes literally sit around chatting about medication and alcohol (personal experience).
RESULTS COUNT! That’s what I grew up hearing from my mom. I think we could question everything we do, or don’t do on that statement. I have to look at the results of Operation Phoenix, and believe it has accomplished a couple important items for me personally, but on the whole has only reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of action for these problems. I wont stop till we get to the whole enchilada!
The proximate causes – PTSD is one of them sure, but TBI, and specifically multiple TBIs (Repetitive Concussive Syndrome) is just as much the culprit. (Please reference the NFL findings and movie “Concussion”) Combine the effects of both of these issues and the problem is like trying to figure out why the music is skipping on a jukebox with a broken needle cycling scratched records.
As for me. Ive discovered thus far a whole new world within myself. i recommend an extreme adventure in any way that can be planned and executed for anyone. THERE IS A WHOLE PATH TO RECOVERY HIDDEN HERE.! Sounds crazy i know, but if Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is increased during aerobic exercise (along with all the BEST endorphins, hormones, and chemicals in the body), then what happens when its this is taken to extreme levels. Well, i think Ive found out, and will tell more.
Like the Scarecrow, I may have found a brain. It may not be my old and complete self, but thats ok. Its a great start. I CANT WAIT TO REUNITE WITH CHARLIE THIS WEEK!
Congrats Josh! It was great seeing you when you made it here to Va Beach! I am still in awe of your feat!