Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I am blessed with purpose,

I am now the Quartermaster at my VFW post. I am trying to learning my duties but it is not easy as many of my fellows (other members of my VFW) don't know, or understand, the function and duties of the Quartermaster. Doesn't slow down commentary on my performance though.

One of the things I'm realizing is that, essentially, I've once again become an enlisted man serving an organization. My Commander, outstanding gent btw, is the officer who helps set and define our goals. Essentially it is my job to be his NCO and see that that the goals are met. How that is accomplished is, like military history, upon my shoulders.

Guided by examples that led the charge before my time, guided by traditions laid out by generations before me, confined by laws and common sense practices, I will meet the standards of that mission.

So before me is the task of finding guidance. Focusing my energies towards that goal, gathering the willpower to maintain determination and discipline to be another worthwhile example to the coming generation of VFW members, and following Quartermasters, I will strive to be more than who I used to be even before brain injury.

It is in these moments of clarity that I realize, in many ways, how blessed my life is. Let me count the ways:

Dad - I love you. A Vietnam Era Marine who took me under his wings and raised me though he did not have the bearing of me. The bumper sticker I got from my church says it all, "DNA does not prove family. Love Does!"

Yvonne - The love of a good woman is more powerful than many will ever realize this side of life. Without her in my life, even before my accident, I would be a poor excuse of a human being. Through her efforts and guidance I have, in many ways, become a better man than Special Forces made of me.

The VFW - Many people don't realize the good works of this organization. I can't speak of other programs from the VFW. But I can say this: During my recovery I have been involved with many "support" groups for brain injury survivors. Some were good, some were quite the opposite (no names will be mentioned), but none have helped me re-grow into a worthy person like the people at my Post of the VFW.

At no point did they ever dissuade me from trying. Even if it looked beyond my reach, mentally or physically, did they stop me. Caution me from concern for me, like siblings do, but slow me down - Never did they try that. They understood the passionate heart that throbs in my chest. They understood that as long as I breathe I will strive to be more today than I was yesterday.

They understand the Marine I was raised to be, they understand the Airborne trooper that I was and still am, they understand that I am damaged and my striving is not to fix the damage but to do more even with the damage. At no point do I feel diminished in their presence though secretly I think I always will feel that way about myself after my brain injury.

So, gladly I say I have a purpose. Handle my duties as Quartermaster, share with the younger generation of possible members the joy that comes from continuing to serve, and identify a powerfully good brain injury survivor outlet for the returning soldiers with similar disabilities.

Yes, you are damaged and not who you used to be.
Yes, it is not an easy road to travel with many pitfalls and hazzards to navigate.
Yes, you are still needed and wanted while breath still inhabits your body.

If you want it, there is a place built for us - at the VFW.

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