Recently a good friend asked me to join him on, well let’s just say an adventure for a lack of better words. This would be a weekend getaway for veterans and first responders. The idea was to have a short weekend with like-minded individuals who have shared experiences. We would get together and do some man-type stuff and see what happens. The idea was in its infancy when he originally asked but he felt like he was on to something. So I agreed, I said let me know what it is going to cost and I am in.
So let’s back up a bit on why I even agreed to this in the first place. Over the last year, I have been trying to change my own circumstances by agreeing to things that maybe I would normally pass on. I have been in a negative rut for some time and felt like I can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again thinking things are going to change. So I changed or at least changed the way I am going to approach things. I have been getting more demanding of what I believe I deserve, agreeing to events I wouldn’t normally agree to, and expressing myself in a manner that gets me moving in the direction I want to move in. There have been setbacks, mainly me placing old hurdles back in my path, or falling for old traps. The key is to keep trying to move forward.
So at the time my buddy presented the idea I was like hell yeah I’m in. Fuck it what could be the worst that could happen, I am going to be out a couple of hundred bucks, shoot some guns, and get away for a couple of days with some dudes I like. Shit sounds alright to me. Plus I heard there might be bourbon. Well, don’t threaten me with a good time.
As time got closer my buddy was able to get some kind folks to donate to the event and the cost kept dropping, well shit this is getting even better now. He got a mansion locked in, a range set up, and a gym to go workout in. Damn this is turning into something. I offered help where I could be he had it under control. The date was set for December 10-12 and we were locked in.
The number of guys that originally said they would join began to drop, we went from I believe nearly 20 to the teens to final single digits. Look, this was new, unexpected, and let’s be honest guys that are willing to do shit on a whim are the guys that ended up showing up. We took a shot at the event because we had a gut feeling that this could be something good. I am glad I was on the inside and not the outside of this one.
On day one we arrive had dinner and began getting to know each other. It was like old friends had just sat down to dinner, outside of the fact that I barely knew these guys. After dinner, we enjoyed jokes, shuffleboard, and well that bourbon I was talking about. Damn good night.
On day two we were up early, I made breakfast, and then it was off to the gym. Fuck my life, the fact that my fitness was severally lacking and I drank far too much, made the experience a bit unbearable. We muscled through it even though I nearly shit myself halfway through a workout. The best part was that we did it together, we all suffered. Plus I was working out with a pro, like a real deal pro who was a part of the weekend. It was great, by the end I felt like a new man. Following the workout it was back to the house, change and head to the range. Guns up bitches.
My contribution to the range was two deep-fried chickens. Some free-range chicken if you will (I can’t take all the credit for that dad joke.) We had two subject matter experts show us some stuff on the range to better adjust our own skill sets. It was a great range that was run smoothly, with great results. Everyone got to throw some lead downrange and eat some damn good chicken.
Following the range, it was back to the house, shower up and watch the Army-Navy game. There was a navy man amongst us, and well he had the last laugh. Either way, it was great to see a game in which America was celebrated the right way. The game is much bigger than football itself.
Finally, we ended the night with dinner at Bluebird Inn. Awesome joint, we had more food than we could handle but it was a great way to end the day. We talked, go excited about the future of this event, and just again enjoyed the great company.
Sunday We packed up and headed out.
You ever do something and find out after the fact that it was exactly what you needed. I want to say that this was the common theme we all had when leaving the short getaway. Each warrior left with a different impression and takeaway but each one knew that it was the event they needed. Whether it was the vet who has been out for many years just getting back on the range and shooting, or the guy who has been down and just needed to feel the brotherhood again, or just to have a conversation with people that know exactly what you are saying even if your words are mixed.
My personal takeaways were that I got to be around several entrepreneurs, professionals, and guys that were passionate about what they were doing. The idea of working in non-profits, helping others, helping each other, was motivating. I can’t lie, I am an overtly patient person to a sloth-like degree, but hearing these guys makes you want to do more, help more. I left excited and energized about what this event could become.
The founders had a simple concept that become the name for the event, ” Shoot, Move, Communicate.” The basic fundamental principle keeps warriors alive in bad situations. For this group, the shot was just taking that first step in believing we needed the weekend. Moving was just the physical act of doing something different and familiar like shooting or a group workout, or just opening up. Finally Communicating, there is something about holding court with fellow vets and 1st responders, there is a passion in their speech, a fire that still burns, and they want to still do something or be a part of something. This could be starting a business, a non-profit, changing jobs, or just finding a little bit of happiness.
I am sold, and I want more. I hope that each year the group of participants grows, and the activities grow, and the brotherhood gets bigger, and Shoot, Move, Communicate, helps someone make a change in their life. I know it helped me when I didn’t even know I needed it.