Jim Tough has been doing pushups for 600 Days to raise awareness about Veterans Suicide and the harm PTSD does to people. It is more than just pushups though, Jim relays an inspirational message to people who need to hear it. Sometimes these messages are a NCOs proverbial boot in the south end but they are from the heart. I have learned a lot from listening to the messages of the day.
Jim doesn’t do these for the attention. The goal is to get to a point where he doesn’t have to do them at all. The need is real. Please do not use a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Thanks to my sponsors Joyce Asack and Mark Holmes for supporting Veterans!
The article was about Scott Lobaido. He is an artist, and his mission to raise awareness and advocacy for PTSD. I liked that an artist wanted to do this. Since it was in Weymouth, MA there was no reason not to go.
I went the first night and talked briefly with Scott and Secretary of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Francisco Urena. Scott asked me to come back the following night to talk with him more.
Talk with people and Scott
The next night was windy in a way that made recording any audio a real test. There was a guy on a Harley – Davidson Sportster named Anthony. He told me that the VA could have done more for his brother.
I never realized what it does to mother to have her child serve. Conversations like I had with Jacquelyn make me stop and consider the cost of PTSD. It is not the soldier who bears this alone. Family can be asked to pay a heavy price as well.
Scott was gracious to give me some time, and we talked about his work. His art is about conveying a feeling of pride in being an American and loving our great nation. You need to go to his website (http://scottlobaido.com/gallery/) and check out his work. Which piece is your favorite?
The last person I spoke with was Conor Sullivan. Conor is an Air Force Veteran. 19 months ago he got a heart transplant. Two weeks ago, he ran the Boston Marathon. Aim High indeed, well done Brother. Conor is a member of the Veterans Brotherhood Motorcycle Club. It was good seeing these guys at the exhibit.
Scott proves that anyone can do any thing to make change where they are. I won’t look at artists the same way ever again. Thanks Scott.
I had another podcast lined up for this week. However, I saw this story on the Washington Post website (He went AWOL after being sexually assaulted….) and felt this was more important in an age of #metoo and increased awareness around sexual assault. I decided to talk about Heath and his story and what I felt was a failure of leadership.
In 1988 Heath was 17 years old and serving on the USS Butte. It was on this ship that he started being sexually assaulted by 6 other male crew members. After filing a complaint 49 days in a row, Heath went AWOL. I couldn’t believe it either, he filed a complaint 49 straight times and nothing was done. Upon review of his case, he received a Other than Honorable Discharge, and was kicked out of the Navy.
Heath faced challenges from PTSD as a result of what happened to him, go into alcoholism and kept fighting to clear his name. Three times the Navy review board looked at his plea to upgrade his discharge to honorable, and three times he was denied.
30 years later, after the fourth time presenting his case to the Navy review board, Heath got the news last week that his discharge was upgraded to Honorable.
I still can’t get over how this happened. I don’t understand what the mind set was of the Captain of the USS Butte and other Petty Officers that allowed this to happen and did nothing to defend this Sailor. They aren’t fit to wear the uniform, much less call themselves Naval Officers.
Heath does talks across military installations advocating for those who have been a victim of sexual harassment and assault in the military. I am glad he kept fighting and did not give up or go into the abyss. There are some links below about Heath’s story and the Military’s SAPR Office.