By: Jesse Carr
It is a grueling 10+ mile loop. For 24 straight hours teams of up to eight cyclists compete to see which team can complete the most amount of laps with only one team member riding at a time. This year, Heroes in Action is supporting a four man team from Pedal Against PTSD (PAPTSD), a local non-profit that rides to raise awareness for veterans and PTSD, as they compete in the 24 hours of Rocky Hill Race Mountain Bike Race.
The four man team consists of Marine Corps veterans Kevin (founder), Sean (secretary), and local business men Jake, and Glen.
Despite coming from different walks of life they are all riding for one purpose - to honor and support our veterans.
Glen, a father of two, was eager at the opportunity to bring awareness to the struggles of veterans as well as doing something that he loves.
"I am an avid mountain biker and personally know the benefits both emotionally and physically of saddle time, and so it is easy for me to see the direct benefits of providing bicycles and related support to those suffering with PTSD." Glen said.
For Sean, it is an opportunity that hits much closer to home.
"After leaving the Marine Corps in 2011, I found myself drawn back into endurance sports and looking for a way to continue to serve others. Wearing the team kit and spreading the organization's message gives some meaning to my pedaling, and hopefully it encourages other veterans to enjoy the sport, too." Sean said.
To show our support for local non-profits and our veterans, HIA has decided to donate 12 cases of water for the team from PAPTSD this weekend.
Donations can be made to support the team and PAPTSD here.
We take pride in the mission of PAPTSD, as well as the sacrifices Kevin, Sean, Jake, and Glen will be making this weekend. Good luck, and ride strong!
By Jesse Carr
None of this would have been possible without you. Your participation, your dedication, and your hard work made our first climb a success, and for that, we are grateful.
There are two things that are paramount in charity work: Sponsorship's and participation. Without one or the other your results will be minimized. This year, the climb was a success with minimum sponsorship's and maximum participation. We had a total number of 191 registered climbers.
When we initially budgeted the climb we knew our expenses would be in the $8,000-$12,000 range. In fact, our first budget for the climb marked total expenses at $11,942.97. Through sponsorship's, price breaks, and allocation of resources we were able to bring our actual operating cost down to
This included things like paying expenses to meet city permit requirements (having porta potty's, hiring Dallas Police and Dallas Fire), hiring a professional timing company, marketing for the event, awards, and T-shirt costs.
Because we do not have any other sources of revenue we had to offset the total cost of the event with the cost of registration. We asked climbers to pay a registration fee to climb, which went to paying the cost to operate the climb, and then raise at least $100 for the charity of their choice through pledges. Pledges raised can been seen at goheroes.org/choose. Remember, you still have two days to pledge!
Our total profit for the climb, not including the pledges, was $11,899.66. Using that money to pay the bills leaves us with a net profit of $3,096. Those funds will be divided by three and given to Peace Officer Angels Foundation, The Andy Allison Firefighter Fund, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
From the beginning it was our goal to raise as much money as we could for the beneficiaries that were selected. However, the Heroes Memorial Climb was never intended to be just a fundraiser. We host the climb in order to honor and pay tribute to those who have gone before us as first responders and military personnel.
In keeping true to our mission it is our goal to Remember, Respect, and Recognize our heroes, and we believe that through your participation and support we accomplished just that.
By Jesse Carr
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous - anxious really.
As we prepared to launch our inaugural stair climb with all an all-volunteer staff, everything that could possibly go wrong crossed my mind.
I worried that we wouldn't have enough climbers. I worried that we wouldn't find enough sponsors to cover costs. I was worried that we wouldn't have enough volunteers to run the event. You get the point, I was worried.
The closer and closer we got to the event I began to question myself. I began wondering if the time I was spending away from my family was worth it. I wondered if I was spending my own money on a good cause or just a program that would be mediocre until it died.
But as the climb neared and registration numbers started increasing, we began to see the fruits of our labor, and I was reminded of why we do what we do.
It didn't really hit me at 0500 when we showed up to the tower. I was focused on setting up, killing mosquito's, and trying to make sure I was prepared to answer all the questions I knew would be asked. However, as time passed and men and women in uniforms and gear began to arrive, I was reminded why it is we do this.
It reminded me not only who I was carrying, but like Clint Bruce said, who was carrying me.
The bagpipes with their sweet sound of Amazing Grace truly emphasized the mood and the moment as I watched my brothers and sisters in uniform make their way to the tower. Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, military veterans, and thankful men and women walked side by side.
In that moment no one was worried about what time they would get. In that moment we walked in silence, as the notes of that 236 year old hymn echoed off the pavement we were remembering and paying respect to those who have gone before us - we were recognizing the sacrifices made by our heroes.
Over the next week we will be crunching numbers and sorting through after action reports. Since our inception it has been our goal to be 100 percent transparent, and we aren't about to change that.
As soon as we have an exact lock on number of participants, amount of funds raised, and the amount spent on the event we will be publishing an article that will break down our operating costs for the event, as well as the money that was brought in for each charity.
Don't forget that if you still wish to donate money to either POAF, IAVA, or the Andy Allison Fund, you can still do that at http://www.goheroes.org/choose.html.
It is our intent to host this event again next year and to do that we would like your help. If you have positive or negative feedback to give us please use https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TBRMVMS.
If you have immediate concerns or requests please contact Jason@goheroes.org and Jesse@goheroes.org.
Thank you so much to our volunteers, the vendors who came out, and our sponsors who made this all possible.
And above all - thank you for joining us as we remember - respect - and recognize the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our community, state, and nation.
What having a combat action ribbon really means - the debate on experience and leadership.
As the military continues to descend from a wartime time culture to a peacetime culture the attitude and experience level of the military has begun to change. Two years ago when I went through the Marine Corps revered school of infantry-west at Camp Pendleton, all of my combat instructors had combat experience. For most of them it was one deployment to Iraq and one deployment to Afghanistan. In fact, a few of them had served together in the same unit and the same area of operations. When I checked into my unit in July of 2013, my platoon was made up of about 40-50 percent combat veterans. Now, less then 10 percent of the Marines in my platoon have been deployed, much less seen combat.
Within the world of combat MOS's this reduction in military size and combat activity means only one thing - "boot" status. Throughout all MOS's in the Marine Corps you are considered a "boot" if you have never deployed, however within the infantry you're most likely considered a "boot" if you don't have a combat action ribbon (CAR). And so it begins...
I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to be the best of the best. I wanted to be one of the few and one of the proud. At the time I figured I might as well go all out and I enlisted as a contract 0311 infantry rifleman, the epitome of the Marine Corps. Anyone who understands how the Marine Corps operates knows that the Corps revolves around the infantry - the rifleman. The needs of the Corps come only second to the needs of the mission, and the sole MOS responsible for accomplishing that mission is the grunt. And while we as 0300's like to claim sole responsibility for that, the function of the Corps theoretically allows for any MOS to serve in that role as grunt and riflemen. It is because of this that any MOS can be awarded a CAR.
When I see a Marine with a CAR my heart burns with respect and borderline envy. Envy because they have been able to do what every Marine dreams of doing, sending rounds downrange. The divide between "boots" and CAR recipients is nothing more then experience, and while I yearn for the opportunity to serve my country in that capacity, I don't get offended when a Marine with combat experience calls me a "boot".
Marines with combat experience are like older brothers. We don't always like what they say or how they say it, but we listen because we know that they have more experience then us. We listen because we understand that their perspective has been shaped and molded through their experiences in combat. We listen because we are mature enough to see through the madness to the method and the reason.
There are some Marines that claim that no CAR means no experience, and honestly, it is hard not to agree with that. You can't possibly know what it's like to be in combat if you've never been in combat. But combat experience is not a key requirement to effective leadership, while experience plays a large role in understanding your followers, history has proven that military leaders can be successful without ever taking or returning fire.
In the perfect world, as infantrymen, we want to know that the stars representing us in Washington understand what we go through - we take comfort in knowing that our leadership has been where we are and has faced the hardships that they are asking us to face. But if the world was perfect our jobs would be obsolete. Judging someone based on their stack of ribbons or the grade on their collar is ignorant and stupid. As men of action we judge our leaders based on what they say and what they do, not by what they wear.
Dallas, TX – It started as a small idea in a big city and has quickly grown into a big idea across the country. Heroes in Action Co-Founder and Managing Director, Jason McClaren, recently moved to Lake Jackson, TX. With that relocation, Mr. McClaren is expanding Heroes in Action’s reach by deploying a new, all-volunteer team to help aid police officers, firefighters, and Veterans in need.
Heroes in Action is supported by staff in Wisconsin, Alaska, Arizona, and Michigan. This all-volunteer team is happy that our mission to build a diverse network to aid organizations that support public servants and Veterans is expanding to Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States. Over 12,000 police officers and firefighters serve the area’s citizens. Tens of thousands of veterans live in the city and neighboring counties, providing many opportunities to serve those in need.
As an all-volunteer team, we need your help in accomplishing Heroes in Action’s mission. We have numerous opportunities to serve on the team to facilitate events and get our message out. For more information, visit our website at www.goheroes.org.
'American Sniper' killer found guilty.
For the families of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield it has been a long two years of waiting, watching, and praying. Deliberations in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh ended Tuesday evening, and shortly after the jury found Routh guilty of two capital murder charges. It was only fitting that just two years after their killings justice was served.
The case was a slam dunk for the prosecution, however, surprisingly they did not seek the death penalty. After the verdict was released, Judy Littlefield the mother of chad Littlefield said, "It was an answered prayer. We waited a long time to hear that, and we feel justice was served."
Nearly two months since the release of the box office hit 'American Sniper' many Americans waited in anticipation for the fate of Routh to be determined.
During the closing arguments prosecutor Alan Nash passionately asked jurors not to let Routh "off the hook," Nash went on to say “This defendant gunned down two men in cold blood … in our county. Find him guilty."
For the legend, justice was served. But for the family and friends of Kyle and Littlefield there remains a gaping hole that will never be filled. The murder of Chris Kyle brings to light the horrible nature of life in that Kyle survived four combat deployments only to be killed just minutes from his house. For many of us in the military this is a terrible irony that we have faced before, a close friend and fellow service member who survives combat only to die at home, the epitome of safety and comfort.
Routh is a reminder of the evil that can confront us on a daily basis, however, Littlefields father, Don Littlefield approached his son’s killer with the right mindset. “The state of Texas has decided to spare your life, which is more than you were willing to give Chad,” He said. “We will not become angry, bitter or resentful. That would keep us bound to you, and you do not deserve that honor.”
Chris Kyle’s legend will live on as the most deadly and effective sniper in American history, and we should honor him by focusing on that, instead of his killer. At Heroes in Action these horrible and unexpected situations are why we do what we do. We believe it is our duty to Remember, Respect, and Recognize the sacrifices made by individuals and their families, be it military, police, or fire.
At Heroes in Action we believe in paying tribute to our fallen or injured heroes by providing for them and their families in whatever capacity we are able. Their sacrifices are our motivation for why we do what we do.
By Jesse Carr
Limits are meant to be challenging, the higher the limit, the stronger we become. Limits teach us about our capabilities. During these tests, our mental resolve teaches us that we can do more! Are you willing to test your limits? Are you willing to push those limits and find out just how strong you are?
Climbers, we need you. On May 9th, we will push those limits. It isn’t about us or what we can do, but the people that we are representing. At Heroes in Action, we believe in honoring heroes through our actions. Please join us this May, at our inaugural Heroes Memorial Climb as we set out to honor firefighters, police officers, and military veterans who have served and sacrificed for our community, state, and nation.
We encourage you to come out and support local charities in the Firefighter Andy Allison Fund, Peace Officers Angels Foundation, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, as we climb for their benefit and climb to honor our heroes nationwide.
As we prepare for the climb, physically, administratively, and logistically, it is important that we remember why we do this - to remember, respect, and recognize our heroes who have sacrificed so much. As legacies and memories begin to fade, it is our duty and responsibility to preserve the individuals who so valiantly sacrificed for us. The purpose of the climb is not only to benefit local charities, but it is intended for us to memorialize someone we know, and to climb in honor of them.
Register to climb at http://www.goheroes.org/heroesclimb.html.
By Jesse Carr
At one point Camp Leatherneck was home to some 40,000 coalition military personnel. Now it is nothing more than a ghost town. Littered with concrete barriers, razor wire, abandoned barracks, and empty offices, the 6,500 acres that Camp Leatherneck boasts resemble little of its previous glory. On October 26, 2014, U.S. Marines and British combat troops lowered the flags and prepared to return home, handing over control of the base to the Afghan National Army's 215th Corps. The return of our Marines marks the end of a 13 year war, the longest in American history.
Fox News reported that there have been at least 2,207 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. For many Americans, Operation Enduring Freedom has had little effect on them. With the current state of Iraq and the threat of ISIS, should we be confident that the 2,207 deaths, and approximately 3,400 casualties were worth it?
The withdrawal of military personnel from Iraq, and the rise of ISIS has proven that there isn't just a lack of motivation of the Iraqis to defend themselves, it has shown that it is nearly nonexistent. And while we have been battling the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for 13 years, we have seen a similar approach from the Afghans.
As a Marine, I am proud of the sacrifices that my brothers and sisters have made in defense of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, but as a Marine I must ask the question: Why would we fight for someone who won't fight for himself? I joined the Marine Corps to serve my country and to do that through protecting the weak and defending the innocent. What is the point in defending someone who doesn't even believe in the cause we are fighting for? My heart is at peace knowing that my fellow Marines are returning home. Yet in the wake of their return looms a dark and ominous cloud with the threat of ISIS. While many are predicting that the only long term solution to ISIS is boots on the ground, I struggle with knowing what the right answer is. Are we responsible for the rise of ISIS? I don't believe so. Do we have a moral obligation to defend those who can't defend themselves? I think we do. However, I enlisted to serve my country, and protect and defend the citizens of these United States, which leads me to my next question. Are Iraq and Afghanistan that much of a threat to the American people?
I still have four years left on my reserve contract, and as an infantry rifleman I know if we deploy back to Iraq there is a chance that I will be there, right in the middle of it. Keeping that in mind, my approach to how we should handle ISIS is not eager, nor is it hesitant. I believe we will be called back to Iraq, and I feel that 'boots on the ground' is the only way that we will eradicate the threat of ISIS. I don't know if it makes sense sacrificing American lives in defense of the Iraqi people. However, I do feel that as a Marine I took an oath, and have a responsibility to do what others can't, even if that means making sacrifices for someone that I don't know.
DALLAS – On October 8, 2014 the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States ended in heartbreak with the death of Thomas Duncan. Less than 24 hours later reports were flying that a second possible patient had walked into a CareNow clinic in Frisco, Texas with Ebola like symptoms. As information came in it revealed that the second possible case was a Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy, who had been in and around the first victim’s home. Although it was a false alarm, it caused a state of heightened awareness throughout Dallas County. In wake of the second confirmed case, a nurse of Duncan, emergency services officials are now faced with a stark reality. How do we care for the patients while trying to prevent the spread of a virus that has no known cure?
Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and other emergency services personnel are all committed to serve. Even though we serve the community in different roles, we all have similar missions. So within emergency services, how do we protect ourselves while at the same time trying to administer aid and serve our community? What steps is our local, state, and federal government taking to protect us?
As the son of a fireman I have spent a lot of time in and around the firefighting community. I’ve been inside ambulances and on fire engines. I’ve watched my dad as he cooked for the guys on his shift, and I’ve witnessed them drop their food and run to save someone’s life. But I never really allowed myself to think that in order to save someone’s life; my dad was putting his in harm’s way. With the outbreak of Ebola we are fighting an invisible enemy that we have never encountered before. Now, anyone with a fever is a possible case. Despite the heightened state of awareness and increased possibility of infection, the mindset and attitude of our emergency services personnel hasn't changed. Procedures and precautions have been put in place, but we are still just as ready as ever to serve.
So how do we fight a virus that can’t be seen? The Center for Disease control has provided us with multiple resources on preventative measures, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html; as well as steps to take in a healthcare setting, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/abroad/pdf/african-healthcare-setting-vhf.pdf. As emergency services personnel, during this time it is important that we put an emphasis on the small things. We want to gather as much information as possible before going into a potential infectious situation, and if we find ourselves in one of those situations we must refer back to the basics: Practice careful hygiene, and avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids, or any item that might have been contaminated by blood or bodily fluids.
During this time it is easy to think we know the answer. For instance, suspend all air travel from infected countries, or isolate the patients even more than we already have. However, without having all the facts it is easy to think we have all the answers. The best thing for us to do now is trust. We need to trust the CDC and our government to handle this situation in the most efficient way possible, while at the same time being over cautious in our daily routine. Without that trust we feed the panic and encourage the mayhem. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although Ebola is something to fear, now is the time when the public looks to us for help. And just like we have in the past, we will stand ready to answer the call.
By: Jesse Carr
The winds were blistery. Cloudy skies and temperatures were in the 60's--ideal running conditions. The course led runners through elegant homes of University Park offering incredible views of Southern Methodist University's most historic sights. On this cool September morning, runners gathered to not only test themselves, they gathered to support Heroes in Action.
As I ran the course I looked longingly at the back of my 17 year old brother some 30 seconds ahead of me. I tried not to feel defeated, but I knew that this was something that I would hear about for days to come. It wasn't the thought of getting first place that drove me, it was just the sheer annoyance of knowing that I was about to lose to my younger brother. But at that moment, as I watched him disappear ahead of me and I listened to the rattle of my dog tags around my neck my focus was elsewhere. My focus was on our mission, the entire reason why we were running in the first place, to Remember the fallen, Respect the honor of those affected by loss, and Recognize the endurance of those who served and continue to serve their community and nation.
A longtime friend, Jason McClaren, recruited me to join Heroes in Action six months ago. While I have not been able to devote as much time as Jason, Heroes in Action Founder and Managing Director, my time in the Marine Corps Reserve and as a 911 dispatcher has shown me just how important and effective organizations like Heroes in Action are. We celebrated Heroes in Action’s one year anniversary on September 11th.
Throughout the past year, we have succeeded in finding sponsors and volunteers that form the core group that will ensure Heroes in Action will operate for years to come. Our team has grown closer through all of the challenges we have endured together. We look forward to the work ahead. We know Heroes in Action will help those in need.
Eventually I would finish second, 39 seconds behind my brother, much to my dismay. Even though he beat me the day was a success. We had officially pulled off our first event. As we look to the future and find ways to bring in more sponsors, participants, and volunteers we are keeping our focus on what is important. Remembering, respecting, and recognizing. Special thanks to Jason and Sheri for their dedication and perseverance to ensure the events' success.