As we approach Memorial Day, it is fitting we take a look at some good examples of virtue by looking at the stories of wounded warriors who fought for America. In 7 Warriors with Character you will see how, through their persistence, perseverance and good habits, several warriors were courageous not only in combat, but also, in overcoming the loss of their sight or limbs, in overcoming the effects of traumatic brain injuries. All were able to achieve greatness of character by calling upon the virtues they had practiced and use them to overcome their injuries.
Sam Angert … whose parents came to this country from Russia. Soon after arriving Sam’s father ended up in jail and while adjusting to NYC we find Sam, a Jewish soldier fighting in a Muslim country. Not long in theater, Sam’s vehicle is hit by an explosion Sam’s LT is decapitated while sitting next to him in the HUMVEE. Sam is gravely injured in the same blast… Soon thereafter Sam relates to me… “It was time for a come to God talk with myself. I decided that I would not allow anything or anyone to hold me back from my new mission of getting better. I would not allow people to look at me with pity because I was severely hurt. I would not simply give up on myself because as soon as I did that, settle for failure, others would feel the same way.”
Steve Baskis who was blinded by an IED and after recovering from his injuries climbed the Himalayas. Steve told me … “ I was born to be resilient. Here is what I learned faced from all the adversity that I have faced. No matter what happens, if you think positively, never dwell on the negative, never give up on yourself, and drive as hard and as fast as you can let nothing keep you from building and living a great life.”
Justin and Dahlia’s story… Marine officer, a lawyer with a sense of humor, was shot in the face by a sniper … a Marine Corporal risks both their lives driving Justin to safety… amidst roadside IED’s and other threats from the enemy. Meanwhile, Justin’s girl friend is studying for a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. Dahlia hears of Justin’s injuries and immediately drops her studies. She leaves to be with Justin and she is at his side when he awakens from a coma in the hospital. Dahlia stayed by Justin’s through scores of surgeries and years of rehabilitation and a few years later they walked up the wedding aisle together.
Chase Cooper was blown up by an IED and after his long rehabilitation is starting his own support group for other wounded warriors. Here is what Chase says after his combat injuries… “So many people got me where I am today, and the only thing I can do is to help another wounded warrior get to the same place. I have found through all this that I am not in charge. My platoon Sergeant is not in charge. God is. So I tell them to change their mind set, have faith, have hope. Even when things seem impossible, perseverance and resilience will carry you through, no matter what the struggle.”
During the battle for Fallujah, a wall collapsed on Chad burying him in rubble up to his neck. As he lay there while his fellow Marines tried to save him, he later recalls… “My story is about perseverance, redemption and grace. The good examples my parents and grandparents set for me gave me enough inner strength, discipline and motivation to out last the struggles that I later faced as a Marine. I hope that by reading my story and those of other warriors, readers gain a better understanding of what it takes to recover successfully from traumatic injuries. In my case, recovery required mental toughness but it also required God’s help and the loving commitment of family members.”
Corporal Todd Nicely not only lost his arms but his legs too, becoming only the second American to survive the Afghanistan war after losing all four limbs. Todd stepped on a pressure plate and triggered the blast. Todd screamed once or twice but remembered thinking to himself: “don’t do that again, because this is the last image that these boys are going to have of you in their heads. So stay strong. After that I just shut up.” When Todd woke up in the hospital his wife Crystal (also a Martine) was there. “Do you know what is wrong? She asked. Todd said he did. “Well baby, you know you are missing your legs?” Yeah Todd said, I know. “Do you know you are missing both of your hands?” she asked crying. “No,” Todd. He was quite for a minute and then asked, “Did anybody else get hurt? She said, “No.” “Good” he said and that was the end of it. Todd shared the following with me… “We are Todd and Crystal Nicely. We both handled the rehabilitation like good Marines. We just take one breath at a time. One surgery at a time, one step at a time.”
Brad Synder, a Naval Academy graduate, an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) specialist, after being blinded by an IED states he can now “see” how the core Navy values of Honor, Courage and Commitment have become an integral part of his character development. Brad explained to me his understanding of honor was also built upon the teaching of his father who took an early interest in imbuing me with a comprehensive understanding of that virtue. High-level competition in swimming in high school further taught Brad the virtue of courage. Brad’s family “never missed a beat and never left his side during his rehabilitation.” Brad says, “the amount of love and support I received in the short period following my injury was the most inspiring experience I’ve had in my short life.” Finally, Brad tells me, “that during the rehabilitation process is where I learned the true meaning of brotherhood: the shared willingness to make sacrifice in the name of something greater than the individual or for another brother. Through personal adversity, I learned the true meaning of commitment.”
In researching Courage in America: Warriors with Character, I witnessed two types of wounded warriors: the larger group, slow to leave their hospital bed for the gym, longer on their meds and least likely to turn their traumatic injuries to positive growth; while I noticed members of the smaller group who were anxious to leave the comfort of their hospital bed and get off their meds as soon as possible, were willing to sacrifice by enduring painful rehabilitation regimes in the gym and determined to make a “growth declaration” as to their eventual, amazingly rapid recoveries from their traumatic injuries.
I wondered why those in the smaller group were able to respond to trauma not just as survivors, but those who would add value to their post injury lives by mountain climbing or receiving gold medals in swimming during the London Olympics after being blinded by an IEDs (i.e. Steve Baskis and Brad Snyder) by competing in extreme sports (i.e. Mark Holbert, Justin Andrews, Chase Cooper, Eric Holt, etc.) all the while keeping their families together and ascending new heights in their military and civilian careers (Justin Constantine, Chad Ellinger). The aftermath of these wounded warriors trauma consisted first of coping and later, personal transformations after losing all four of their limbs (Todd Nicely, Travis Mills) as well as double and triple amputees (Bob Dove, Josh Burnette, Ben Harrow, etc.)
No doubt there are subgroups in each category. Some who struggle in the aftermath of their trauma produce a mixture of negative and positive responses. However, my study chose to focus on those who actually experienced positive change by making many sacrifices necessary to achieve post-traumatic growth. I intend to continue my studies as to the various factors that may contribute to post-traumatic growth. Although I am neither a psychologist nor am I a clinician, I have come to know numerous warriors, both physically and mentally wounded in combat, who after their traumatic injuries, have an increased appreciation of life. Sam Angert once told me that the meaning of his combat experience, even after recovering from five open brain surgeries, is “life is precious.”
When I interviewed scores of wounded warriors about their social networks, all were conversant with Twitter, You Tube and had their own Face Book pages. However, they explained to me the most powerful social network leading to their recovery was their immediate network of their fellow warriors, their families and close friends.
Perhaps the greatest lesson my father frequently preached to me was: “Michael, it is not what happens to you but how you handle what happens to you.” My reading of the ancients at university suggested there is an art of living well. Now that I have closed the chapter on my advocacy practice, I intend to dedicate my remaining days to studying those who emerge well from life’s great difficulties.
I believe our culture can learn from individuals, such as my wounded warrior pals, who live life to the fullest as they continue to struggle in the aftermath of tragedy. Suggestions from readers of The Character Building Project of what it means to live life well in the aftermath of tragedy are invited.
Recently we asked six warriors with character whether they feel there is a gap between them and their civilian contemporaries? If they believe there is such a gap, how might their experiences in the military contribute to closing the gap with civilians?
All admitted to perceiving a large gap. Several characterized their civilian contemporaries in a less than flattering light. For example, Sam Angert thinks that many of his contemporaries feel entitled. Chase Cooper observes that many of his contemporaries appear aimless, lack a strong work ethic, and seem unwilling to sacrifice for others.”
Steve Baskis, Justin Constantine and Chad Ellinger acknowledge that while the military is not for all citizens, those in the military can teach civilians much by their example and even by speaking to a classroom of contemporaries about their military experience.
Steve believes the skills and experiences he gained while serving were invaluable to him. Steve volunteered because he believed “by serving he would make a difference in the world.” Steve noted it is “hard for some people to realize and understand certain things if they have not lived or experienced war. War puts things in perspective. Veterans alone can share this knowledge.”
Justin adds that, “There are a number of things civilians can learn from members of the military. They range from how to present oneself (we are all taught to speak respectfully, stand tall, exercise regularly, walk with our shoulders back and to have a command presence), to the importance of teamwork (everything we do is as part of a team, and people from all races and beliefs are made to train and work together), and to understanding that sacrifice is part of service and that our individual needs are not the most important consideration.”
Chad was struck by the high expectations he perceived from civilians after his military career ended and he rejoined them in the private sector: “Within a professional setting, I’ve worked with several people who were not part of the military, and they all seemed to have unspoken expectations of a former military member. They had a common belief that the military conducts itself in the most professional way possible.” Yet Chad still acknowledges a wide gap… “To a large extent, the civilian population remains disconnected from understanding everything the military does on their behalf.”
Although Todd Nicely admits the “civilian culture might be more self-centered, than the spirit he witnessed in the Marine Corps.” Todd qualifies that “There are those in both civilian and military life who want to do good.” Todd believes, “It is the level of training received by those in the military receive that upgrades the values that recruits bring into and out of the military.”
Overall, the warriors are grateful to have left a culture of self-gratification and be trained in a culture of accountability, self-discipline and sacrifice. If civilians–including our politicians–could have the opportunity to learn from our returning military men and women, maybe our country could experience a revival of an ethic of selfless teamwork. Then perhaps the gap between our military and civilian cultures could shrink .
I am continuing my conversation with warriors of character, and the question of the day is whether or not a warrior’s actions can be both courageous and selfish at the same time.
Most would agree with the view of Steve Baskis when he clarifies, “ It truly depends on the situation and experience of the individual involved.”
Sam Angert, Chase Cooper and Steve allow for instances when a selfish person can rise to the challenge and act courageously based on the immediate circumstances, for example, when his unit is under siege. They admit that exceptional circumstances can trigger a survival instinct even in a selfish person, which moves him or her to act courageously.
The three Marines interviewed¬–Chad Ellinger, Todd Nicely and Justin Constantine–seem to doubt that a selfish person can ever be truly courageous. “At the ripe old age of 33, I’ve yet to see it,” states Chad. Todd describes the selfish nature of the enemy’s tactics when they place roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices where children and other civilians are endangered. For Todd, this conduct is selfish and never courageous. Justin, the practicing lawyer among the warriors, naturally examines motive when he distinguishes between the two ways to act. “Acting courageously includes within it a mindset of sacrifice for the greater good, while being selfish is more about personal survival” Says Todd.
All interviewed speak to the inspiring example of courage that was exhibited on 9/11 when New York firefighters raced unselfishly and courageously into the flaming Twin Towers to rescue those trying to escape the crumbling debris. All also believe, whether it is by learning the “Soldiers Creed” or by studying the history of the Marine Corps, that courage can be taught. The group claims that warriors learn courage by modeling their conduct on the great warriors who have courageously gone into combat before them. It is their legacy of honor, courage and commitment–the core values of a hero–that teach today’s generation of warriors to be selfless. And all the warriors also agree on one final point: that courage is the most beneficial character trait a warrior can possess.
My conversation with America’s Warriors with Character continues. The complete interviews can be found at http://thecharacterbuildingproject.com/warriors/. Just click the Meet the Warriors tab on the right. In this post, I listen and learn about how these warriors understand the virtue of courage.
The best kind of courage for Steve Baskis is when an individual risks one’s own life to save another. Steve does not believe courageous people confront more or less fear than people who lack courage. The difference is in how two persons manage a similar amount of fear. Steve believes people who are courageous push past the fear to accomplish something greater than them. For Steve, the courageous person could be acting without completely understanding the situation.
Justin Constantine echoes Steve’s view by relating the courage of Major Doug Zembiec, who, in his fourth tour in Iraq, was killed when leading a raid. Major Zembiec’s quick thinking to re-orient his team’s machine gun enabled the remaining members of his unit to accurately engage the primary source of the enemy’s fire saving the lives of his comrades. Justin also sees opportunities to exhibit everyday courage outside the combat context. For example, he asks, “How many times do we hear a boss announce a concept that we think is wrong, or hear other people in our office make derogatory comments about someone else’s belief system or ethnic/racial background? In each of these instances, it can take a lot of courage to voice your opinion and to correct these people.”
Justin further explains where fear intersects with courage. “Courage relates to a person standing up to danger, fear, or intimidation in spite of his or her fear, and without any guarantee of success or survival. The fact that they are confronting whatever it is in front of them–whether it is an enemy in combat or a discriminatory company policy–shows their courage.”
Chad Ellinger thinks of courage in terms of a victorious underdog. For Chad these kinds of stories seem to always exhibit how courage and timing can go hand in hand. Chad’s favorite examples of courage involve restraint. Some of the most influential people in Chad’s life demonstrated patience and were slow to make foolish decisions. The courage to “hold your fire” when things appear in disarray is something many people lack. In Chad’s opinion, the unspoken creed of courageous people is best captured by a quote of Ambrose Redmoon: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” A person with courage understands that overcoming fear associated with a courageous act is only a means to the end.
Sam Angert views courage as being instilled in military basic training and constantly was being reinforced by “following the reflection of the higher ranks.” Perhaps the most basic expression of military-trained courage Sam believes is the determination to “leave no man behind.” This theme of instinctively aiding a fallen comrade repeats itself in almost all the other interviews I conducted.
Chase Cooper agrees that the military slowly builds a warrior’s confidence and courage through training. However, Chase goes to great length to show respect for the courage of the enemy. Chase notes that there are differing perspectives of courage, from our point of view as well as from the enemy’s point of view. Although Chase disagrees with the extreme tactics of the enemy, he does grant it takes a certain type of courage to strap a bomb on yourself and detonate it. Chase is grateful for every courageous soldier from previous wars that have paved the way for today’s soldiers to be safer and more effective.
Similar to a view expressed by Justin, Todd Nicely acknowledges courage outside the context of combat. Within the context of the Marines, Todd acknowledges being trained to perform as a unit, always remembering, “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” Todd also speaks of the universal military understanding to never leave a man behind on the battlefield or in the rear. Todd admits of having run across few “ribbon chasers,” but he warns that no one will succeed as a Marine if he or she is in it for individual glory.
Whether or not the development of courage started in these warriors in early family life, it is clear to me that their military training further developed their courage. It prepared each to persevere and withstand danger they would face in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing about courageous young Americans such as Sam, Chad, Chase, Justin, Steve and Todd, and learning about how they handled their ordeals can help us all better understand the virtue of courage.
“The following article was written by military spouse Jenny Williams, and forwarded to us by The Character Building Project team mate Justin Constantine.”
By JENNY WILLIAMS
Published: April 08, 2012
“IT’S O.K.,” I said to my husband, not knowing if I was being brave or stupid. “Go.”
So he did. The commanding general of a new task force in Afghanistan was looking for someone with Dave’s background. Dave volunteered, and on Jan. 14 off he went.
Fifteen years earlier, when we were 19, in college, not dating, and standing in the grocery store, Dave told me he had joined the Army. I don’t remember what I said to him, but I later told my roommate how he had changed for me in that moment.
“I didn’t know he was that kind of person,” I said. I didn’t mean it in a good way.
Yet I still fell in love with him, and four years later I packed my Subaru and moved, jobless, to Tennessee, where Dave would be stationed for the next two and a half years with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell. Dave lived in a house in Clarksville, Tenn., with three other infantry lieutenants. The plan was for him to spend four years on active duty and then go to law school. Four years, and we would move on with our lives.
I resisted the Army by moving to Nashville, about 45 miles south of Clarksville, where I hoped to find a teaching job. A message board for roommates led me to a Vanderbilt student named Charlie, who had a plush apartment near campus. Dave called him “Chuck” and installed a lock on my bedroom door. But the drive between our two cities was long, and Chuck and I didn’t get along that well, so by summer I had moved to Clarksville.
My friends were 24, single and living in San Francisco, Washington and New York. But as the saying goes, sometimes you don’t get what you want but what you need. I had spent my high school years’ naïvely bashing the military, so now I would live with a soldier in a military town. I wouldn’t spend my Friday nights hanging out with my old friends in the Marina District or Georgetown or Union Square, but sipping margaritas at the Chili’s on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville.
Dave and I were engaged in the summer of 2001 for a wedding in June 2002, when he would be out of the Army. When the Twin Towers fell, our wedding was just beginning to take shape. That evening Dave called to say he wouldn’t be coming home. His battalion was on “Division Ready Force-One” status, meaning they would most likely be among the first to deploy. He suspected they might ship out within days.
I called to see if the deposit for our wedding venue was refundable and began to consider the possibility of a postponement. The next night, though, Dave was home again. They weren’t going anywhere. The leaden disappointment in his face dampened my own elation. Our country had been attacked, and he wanted to go; he had trained, and he wanted to lead.
During the final nine months of Dave’s active duty, I tried to ignore the disappointment in his face as each possibility of deployment evaporated. By the summer of 2002, the war in Afghanistan appeared to be winding down. When Dave left the Army and our wedding took place at the end of June as scheduled, I felt lucky. He felt guilty.
In the months and years that followed, I helped Dave choose not to return to the Army. He would bring it up every year or so: maybe he could join the National Guard or the Reserves? But it was always easy for me to explain why the timing was wrong. Couldn’t he finish law school first? And what about the debt we faced and the promise of being grown-ups with children and money to spend?
Meanwhile, Dave’s Army friends did their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. We bought a house and moved to the suburbs.
Eight months after our move, Dave’s former Army roommate, Jay, was killed by a suicide bomber at a checkpoint in Iraq a week before he was scheduled to leave his command. He left a wife, nine months pregnant, and two young children.
We went to West Point for the funeral. A lot of guys Dave knew from Fort Campbell and Fort Benning showed up. They were 29 years old. Those still in had all done at least one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. After the service, Jay’s widow held their newborn baby as people paid their respects. Seeing her made me feel sick and sad and lucky all at the same time.
Afterward, Dave told me he wanted to return to active duty and deploy. But we had jobs and our house, and I could see the first glimmer of our “real” lives. So when he deferred the decision to me, I explained again why the timing was wrong.
Six more years passed. We still have the house, and now children, too, ages 2 and 4. A year ago, Dave found himself a “non-deployable” job in the Army Reserves, which seemed like a fair compromise. But even then I think I knew “non-deployable” would not be enough.
The final straw came last September when we attended a Navy League dinner in a ballroom at the Hyatt near Old City, Philadelphia. At a table behind us, a woman and her daughter stood when the M.C. said her husband’s name; he had been killed in Afghanistan. The banquet also honored the family of a Marine named Travis Manion for their service after his death.
A slide show flashed pictures of Travis looking young, handsome and alive. Even with the pictures and speeches, the war and deaths were hard to fathom from where I sat in a cushioned banquet-hall chair with my napkin in my lap. People shook hands and laughed and made small talk. I kept looking behind me at the wife and daughter of the fallen Marine. I wondered how this ballroom and social occasion felt to them.
All of the soldiers we met that night had deployed, the older ones to Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War, and the younger ones to Iraq and Afghanistan. They asked Dave where he had done his tour and how many tours he’d done.
“I didn’t deploy,” he had to say again and again. “I was out by then.”
I felt their questions in my stomach because I knew he did. I knew it was only a matter of time before he would bring up deployment again.
A FEW weeks later, in bed, Dave told me of a new chance. “The opportunity is perfect,” he said, “and I want to go. I won’t if you don’t want me to.”
He thought he was leaving it up to me, but I knew what my answer needed to be. I had played the conversation in my head too many times. I held that answer on my tongue until he finished, then the words tumbled out.
“It’s O.K.,” I said, using the same trick I did to conquer the high dive. Jump first, then look. “Go.”
Women do this every day, I thought, and men, too. Small children endure months, a year, without their father or mother. I cannot be different, and six months is not that long. I have practiced my lines, and they’re true: I didn’t marry him to stand in his way. One percent of the country is making the sacrifice for all of us, and he needs to be part of it. He has spent nine years regretting not being there. It won’t go away.
Today, Major Justin Constantine, a key member of The Character Building Project, a warrior with great character will be honored by the Virginia General Assembly and Senate. The Joint Resolution expresses the legislators respect for Justin’s sacrifices and their immense gratitude for Justin’s distinguished service to our nation.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 211
Offered January 18, 2012
Commending Major Justin Constantine, United States Marine Corps Reserve.
Patrons–Surovell and Lopez; Senators: Favola, Petersen and Puller
WHEREAS, Major Justin Constantine, United States Marine Corps Reserve, has demonstrated extraordinary courage, resolve, and resourcefulness in helping wounded veterans adjust to civilian life while also recovering from injuries he sustained in Iraq; and
WHEREAS, a graduate of Fairfax High School (’88), James Madison University (’92), and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (’98), Justin Constantine desired to serve his country and joined the United States Marine Corps during his second year of law school; and
WHEREAS, in 2004 Major Constantine left active duty but continued to serve as a Marine Reservist until he volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006; and
WHEREAS, on October 18, 2006, Major Constantine was deployed to Al-Anbar Province, Iraq, as a Team Leader of a group of Marines performing civil affairs work attached to an infantry battalion when he was shot in the back of his head by a sniper while on a routine combat patrol just six weeks into his deployment; and
WHEREAS, a United States Navy Corpsman leapt into action, providing rescue breathing and performing an emergency tracheotomy under enemy fire to help save Major Constantine’s life while his fellow Marines provided cover; and
WHEREAS, after being airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and then on to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Major Constantine underwent many surgeries and a long recuperation period; and
WHEREAS, Major Constantine received significant injuries to his head, jaw, and face necessitating over 20 surgeries over five years and was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal; and
WHEREAS, upon his return, Major Constantine served in the Department of Justice; on Capitol Hill, as Counsel to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on various pieces of legislation; and now for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its National Security Law Branch; and also continues to serve as the Reserve Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Forces South in Miami, Florida; and
WHEREAS Major Constantine has also focused his volunteer energies on helping wounded warriors as they adapt to life back in the United States while dealing with mental, emotional, and physical changes as a result of their military service; and
WHEREAS, Major Constantine has willingly given of his time to assist organizations and events that serve and recognize veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, the Entrepreneurship Boot camp for Veterans with Disabilities, Tri-State Troopers, Semper Max, Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services (CAUSE), the
Red Cross, the USO, The Mission Continues, and Final Salute, and to efforts to help create training videos for social workers to better understand Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and
WHEREAS, as a member of the Congressionally mandated Department of Defense Task Force on the Care, Management and Transition of Recovering Wounded, Ill, and Injured Members of the Armed Forces, Major Constantine provides valuable firsthand knowledge and experience with injured veterans’ needs and challenges; and
WHEREAS, in 2008 Major Justin Constantine married his wife Dahlia, a schoolteacher, and together they work to help reduce the stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and
WHEREAS, a Virginian of remarkable resolve and character, Major Constantine exemplifies the ideals of the United States Marines; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend Major Justin Constantine, United States Marine Corps Reserve, for his devoted service to his country and fellow veterans; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Major Justin Constantine, United States Marine Corps Reserve, as an expression of the General Assembly’s profound respect for his sacrifices, immense gratitude for his distinguished service to the nation, and deep admiration for his hard work to help other veterans return to a fulfilling civilian life.
Mike Erwin, an active duty army major and West Point professor has started a new community within the military called Team RWB to help wounded warriors reintegrate into civilian life. Being matched by RWB to a friend who shared the war experience is helping new arrivals get back on their prosthetic feet.
The help offered by RWB is covered in a recent article in The Financial Times Limited that features Our Warrior With Courage Justin Constantine. The story points out the issues that will become increasingly evident as ninety thousand more warriors will arrive home from Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to unemployment, troops face isolation and indifference from society in general, and specifically from their contemporaries aged 18 through 29. To read the article, please click on
My good friend, lawyer and Marine Major Justin Constantine recently, brought to my attention a speech by Jeff Johnson, a retired Marine Master Sergeant about Lieutenant Colonel Tim Maxwell. Justin thought the Character Building Project site is an appropriate platform to share Lt Col Maxwell’s story. We agree and encourage others to share stories that awaken awareness of the struggles the members of wounded warrior community endure and overcome. Next week we will post Jeff Johnson’s speech. Today, we offer background on Lt Col Maxwell. Continue reading
I originally set out to thank our wounded warriors by showcasing the bravery of a rising generation of military heroes who are now home rebuilding their families and adjusting to their wounds. I have come to realize that my project should be more than a well-deserved tribute. I say this because these leader-warriors have more work cut out for them. They now play a key role in our war at home—a battle to turn around an American culture that is hell-bent on being cynical and selfish. Continue reading