Reaching OutOver a decade ago, my husband and I both served our first combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom after 9-11. We had both recently graduated from the United States Military Academy and were new Lieutenants eager and ready to fight for our country. We have many friends and classmates that also joined us in the many combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan following 9-11. As everyone can imagine, with war and combat come many harsh realities to include the death of close friends, life-changing injuries, as well as the overall challenge of coming back home from a deployment and joining regular life. In 2010 some close friends of ours started a national non-profit program to help veterans with this struggle, and it was then that Team Red, White and Blue took off.
Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) is transforming the way that America supports its veterans as they transition from service member to civilian. Their mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. They accomplish this by creating communities of veterans, their families, and American citizens that enjoy authentic interaction through physical and social activities. Physical fitness and sports are proven ways to bring people together and set the conditions to build meaningful relationships. Team RWB provides veterans with renewed camaraderie, a sense of purpose, and a shared accomplishment. In addition to being an excellent way to connect on a social level, physical activity is proven to be therapeutic and healthy for both the body and mind. Their chapters and communities deliver consistent, local opportunities for veterans and the community to connect through fun and engaging events. They also host weekly fitness activities, monthly social events, and participate in local races and events together. These programs are the core of Team RWB’s mission.
Team RWB has a powerful and motivational mission that truly touches me and many other veterans throughout the world. Their marketing strategy and approach to becoming an effective and well-known entity in the world of non-profits was using social media. Veterans are scattered throughout the US as well as other parts of the world (my husband and I are perfect examples all the way out here in Dubai). Team RWB continues to use every possible aspect of social media to connect veterans as well as gain support from the communities. If you look at the bottom of their website you will see all the different ways to “stay connected”. They are connecting veterans with their communities and by providing ways to increase the interaction between veterans and society, Team RWB helps bridge the gap in understanding how the public can give back and support their veterans.
Being overseas for the last few years, I have tried to stay connected with Team RWB and their progress. Some amazing examples of how far this organization has come is seen in Former President George W. Bush’s appearance on Fox and Friends when he offered amazing validation to the program effectiveness of Team Red, White and Blue, “We at the George W. Bush Military Service Initiative are interested in the results that these programs promise to deliver. We honor these groups THAT ARE DELIVERING THE RESULTS.”
I am proud to wear the Team RWB eagle on my chest as I compete in triathlons and races each year. The individuals who started this organization are selfless servants and visionaries whose dedication reaches out to millions. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about what much their effort is helping others.
I would like to end this blog today with one of my favorite quotes from George Washington that I read on Team RWB’s website (www.teamrwb.org):
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve…shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”