According to the Department of Veterans Affairs 2012 report, 22 veterans commit suicide each day. In addition to suicide, veterans all over the country are struggling with reintegration, PTSD, physical pain from service, Gulf War syndrome, the aftermath of Agent Orange and the pain of the loss of brothers-in-arms. We are losing veterans, so it is time to rally.
A Rally Point is the place that a unit meets to regroup and reorient to face the enemy. Rally Point Radio is the place where veterans can regroup and reorient to face these issues and find hope that leads to healing.
I believe that veterans succumb to their demons when they have no hope. I believe that hope comes from knowing that you are not alone. This connection will come from sharing stories and reminding each other that we don't operate as lone wolves; the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf.
So, we will tell stories, share pain, laugh together, cry together and invite more to the Rally Point to share and reconnect.
Adam Greenwell is the Associate Pastor of the Billings Vineyard Church in Billings, Montana. Adam entered The Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in June of 2001 and was commissioned as an Officer of Marines on May 19, 2002. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2007. In 2004, Adam participated in Operation Phantom Fury, the battle for the city of Fallujah. Adam left active service in 2008 to answer a call to ministry.
Adam holds a Masters of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and a BA in History Education from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He is an Ordained Pastor in the Vineyard USA Association of Churches. Adam and his wife Jenna are both originally from Berthoud, CO. Along with their three daughters Emma, Ava and Leah, they call Billings, Montana home.
Nicki Johnson and Jerry Ensminger show us that we are better together. Nicki is Director of Development at FOB Johnson, a retreat center for veterans that was borne from the example set by her husband, Marine Sargent Trevor Johnson. FOB Johnson has creates a community of healing for veterans in Bozeman, Montana. Retired Master Sargent Jerry Ensminger leads the fight to bring accountability to those responsible for the water contamination at Camp Lejune from 1953-1987. Through his organization; The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, Jerry creates a community of purpose that assists veterans in attaining benefits and provides overwatch as the VA and Department of Defense shirk responsibility.
This time on Rally Point we redefine the mission for veterans in support of each other. We talk with two veterans that are active in this mission; Jim Wertman leads the Veteran Christmas Charity Ride and John Aaron who is leading the fight to address homelessness by stopping the VA from illegally leasing lands that are set apart for veteran's homes.
Bull Service Manager Shannon Schaefer and Owner Duane Haugen share the motivation for their support of the veteran community in Billings Montana. Commanding Officer of the Mark Curtiss Post 6774 of the VFW Chuck Carroll shares stories about his service and the importance for Veterans to find the brotherhood after their service is complete. Also, Bull Mountain Grille's Veteran of the Month Jon McFerran talks about the community built on nuclear submarines and the difficulty of reentering community after we serve.
Neil Cadwell reminisces on his time is service, spanning the close of the Cold War through the Global War on Terror. From flying OH-58 Kiowas in support of combat operation to counting Grizzlies in the Montana Wilderness, Neil's passion for flying has eased his reintegration into civilian life.
Dick Fox is a Marine Corps Veteran and author of the book The Domestic Vietnam: America’s War of Confusion and hosts the Domestic Vietnam Radio show. While sharing stories of a tour in Vietnam that began with the onset of the Tet Offensive and the battles of Hue City and Khe Sanh, Dick provides perspectives of reintegration into a society that lacked the present day gratitude.
Boone Cutler, a Veteran of the US Army, author,Warfighter Rights leader and host of the radio show "Tipping Point with Boone Cutler" re-frames reintegration into society for veterans as infiltration as we retain our warrior identity.
David Walker, The President and CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes reminds us that the Warrior Class is made up of veterans and those that serve by fighting for veterans. Providing Emergency Help to Veterans...Click to learn more
The first meeting at the Rally Point. Our guests are John McClure and Dr. Larry Severa. Larry is a Physician with Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana and a former Airman in the U.S. Air Force. Larry serves veterans as the Physician for the Big Sky Honor Flight, taking our World War Two Veterans to see their memorial in Washington, D.C. and leads the missions ministry at Billings Vineyard Church.
LLOYD BLUNK/BillingsGazette Staff
John is a U.S. Marine from the Gulf War era living in Cody Wyoming. He is a general contractor and owner of McClure Custom Builders. John leads efforts to build homes for disabled veterans in the Cody area with Operation Finally Home.