Encouragement & Hope

2018 – Review

Grab some coffee, get comfy and stay for a while… 🙂 it’s long!!!

 

Dear Veterans, First Responders, Board of Directors, Advisors, Volunteers, Friends and Families:

First of all a great big thank you to all our Veterans we have been honored to serve, our volunteers who helped us make all this happen, our board, advisors, friends and families!  We/I am grateful to serve along side such awesome individuals who sacrifice for our freedom fighters.
2018 has been a very challenging, yet rewarding year as our second year as a nonprofit serving our awesome Veterans and First Responders!
We have accomplished much…
PROGRAMS:
  • Continued working with ETAC, Inc and Terry Jenkins on delivering an IT program for Veterans to learn the basics… as well as advanced levels… with CCNA and other courses for very low cost…  Over 300 Veterans took advantage of this program to study IT…
  • Continued working with Western Realty Advisors and David Van Waldick to deliver an exclusive, one-of-its-kind, Zero Down Home Buying Program for Veterans and First Responders…
  • The Good Aviation & Veterans Museum: Providing a look back in history of World War II aviation and more at the Casper, WY facility, hosted by Aaero Aviation and our very own, Sean Hakes and Ed Good…
  • Military Auction partnered with VFV to bring auction services to our communities and contributes 30% of its profits back to VFV.  Big thank you to Mitchell Williams! …
  • We have provided emergency funds for housing and other needs among Veterans…
EVENTS:
  • BIKE22 wrapped up
  • Warriors For Life: came under the arms of VFV and is run by our one and only Chairman, Col Mikel Burroughs (ret) and is about to expand! …
  • Memorial Day Flowers Foundation (Memorial Day Flowers) for our 2nd year, placing over 20,000 flowers on graves in CO, AZ, AL and WY
  • RIDE22 (now VFV RIDE) had our FIRST annual ride in 7 locations raising almost $20k
  • Good Aviation & Veterans Museum: launched the Grand Opening in August after the generous gift from Ed Good of his fathers legacy, the Good Warbird Museum

FUNDING:

  • We raised over $70,000 in this second year!
    • Thank you to our sponsors:
      • Walmart, Sam’s Club, Aaero Aviation, Altitude Agency, ETAC, Inc, Western Realty Advisors, Military Auction, Rocky Mountain Harley, Javelina Harley, American Legion, American Legion Riders, AMVETS, VFW, Chris Souza Foundation, and many, many more.
2019… LOOKING AHEAD:

As we near the end of this year, we must begin to set our sites forward to helping more Veterans as the problems are great and solutions hard to come by.  The vision of reducing and eliminating suicide is very much top priority and our programs have done just that!  Many veterans entering these programs have said this was their last shot.

What will continue and expand into 2019?
We will continue and expand upon the following:
  • IT Apprenticeship – we are looking to continue and expand the products and delivery of such to more Vets.  Stay tuned for announcements on partnerships in the works.  Continued thanks to Terry Jenkins for his leadership in this area!
  • Warriors For Life – by the end of Q1 will grow from 1 night/week to 3 and the goal is to have each day/night of the week covered with a meeting/group.  We have several volunteers willing to host a night of the week to make this happen.  Thanks again to Col Burroughs for his leadership in expanding this service to our Vets.
  • ZERO DOWN Home Buying Program – we are in talks with large national mortgage and real estate companies to bring this program from CA to the entire nation.  Stay keenly tuned for more details on this in Q1.  BIG thanks goes to David Van Waldick for his persistence in this arena.
  • Memorial Day Flowers – in addition to our past sites, we have added a Houston, TX National Cemetery, hosted by Michael Toth and are looking to host another one or two.  If you are interested in helping us place flowers on graves on Memorial Day, please contact us ASAP.
  • VFV RIDE – will ride 29 June 2019 in as many states as we can find volunteers and groups to aid us in making this happen as we raise awareness to those falling among us due to suicide.  Continued thanks goes to ALR, VFW, CMA and other VSO groups and the Rocky Mountain and Javelina Harley dealerships in CO and TX!
  • Good Aviation & Veteran Museum – will continue offering this walk back in time as a free service to any coming to or through Casper WY.  We hope to entice those going to Sturgis to “stop by” for some coffee and a tour!  We are grateful for Ed Good’s and Sean Hakes’ leadership for this museum.
  • Military Auction – continued support for Mitchell Williams’ auction site, getting the word out and providing guidance for this start-up effort to support and serve Veterans and First Responders.

CHALLENGES?

As you can imagine any effort of this scale has its ups, downs, challenges, setbacks, successes and more!
We always need volunteers, sponsors, those willing to give their time, those willing to give of their money and more.
In Closing

I want to share something very, very personal with you all.

This year has been a person hell for me as I placed myself, and consequently my family, in a very precarious place financially which in turn put me in a very difficult place emotionally.  For those who don’t know, in May of 2017, my wife and I sold everything we had (literally – house, furniture, etc.) to initiate a USA tour on behalf of and for Veterans; raising awareness to Veterans issues and in particular, suicide.  I am not out of the woods, so to speak, and am clambering to regain what semblance of life and controls I had before this began.   I almost hit bottom, although saying that I realize there might still be a lot more to learn about that… 🙂
BUT, this year has been a blessing at the same time… I have been blessed by such comrades, friends, fellow supporters of our great and wonderful Veterans and First Responders.  I have a wonderful wife who has seen my good and very bad moments throughout this year and she is still supporting me!  yeah!   I have also been blessed by recapturing some of my faith in God.   This faith or belief is tuned to see a God who cares for me, and yes even loves me, not for what I accomplish and not that he is interested in my “wealth” or “health”, rather in my journey.  My journey is about Giving Thanks!  Regardless of where I find myself, I AM THANKFUL.   In this place of thankfulness – I find peace.  And in this place i receive the Blessing of God.  I now see the blessing of God and it has nothing to do with money, health, things, etc…  What is this Blessing?  It is the Fruits of the Spirit:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control…  THESE are the blessings of God.  These and these alone can calm our PTSD, our fears of the unknown and much more.
Not always easy, but still a good place to be.  From this place of thankfulness I choose to give:  Give of my time, energy, thoughts, money, and most of my self – to serve others.
Each day I wake and say this simple prayer:  “God, Thank You for today and for the talents, skills and abilities YOU have given… that I may serve others today!” 
Folks, our future and the future of this country and this organization are all possible by each person choosing to give something of themselves – to others and very specifically to our Veterans and First Responders and I pray you all do it from a place of thankfulness.
I pray the same for each of you, that in the midst of your challenges in life and for sure we all have them, that you be in a place of thankfulness.

Hang with me ok?

I have shared about a book I am finding fascinating, The Slight Edge, and it has a very direct connection to what VFV is about, its goals, its successes or not… and more.
The Slight Edge talks about doing things that often go unseen and have NO results to validate whether they are successful or not.  In our fast food, fast life, instant life of technology, we think if something doesn’t produce immediate results then it must be failing.  Jeff Olson would differ with you greatly.  I too, almost got caught up in the facts that VFV has accomplished so little…  after all, $70,000 is just a little bit shy of our goal of $1B don’t you think?
Mr. Olson tells the story of the old man who was dying and offered to his two sons a choice: $1M NOW or a penny a day, doubled for 31 days.  [don’t do the math… i’ll tell you the answer below]
One son took the $1M and the other the penny.  After one week the penny was now worth $.64 and we are 1/4 of the way through the month!  NO RESULTS to speak of = quite the failure right!  Well, hold your horses… Week two, the penny is now worth $81.92.  Still you can not even go to a hockey game with your wife on that!  Looks like failure again and we 1/2 of the way through the month!  OMG, I made the wrong decision.
You see, without results it is hard to persevere… hard to continue… the neigh-sayers are all over you saying this is crap and not worth it and you will NEVER amount to anything and this VFV is such a bunk!  What a scam!
But hold on… Week three the penny is now worth $10,485.76.  I can at least pay a mortgage, car payment, feed a family, and stuff… but far from a good deal compared to the son who took the million right?
This is where it gets tough folks!  Continuing to pursue the goal in the midst of NO RESULTS – OR POOR RESULTS AT BEST!
But hold on… Week four, day 28, the penny is now worth $1,342,177.25.  Well waiting four weeks for this to take place i just lost those 4 weeks waiting… thanks anyway…
But hold on… there are still 3 more days.  What can 3 days do anyway!?!    not much right… let’s see..
Day 29 – $ 2,684,354.56
Day 30 – $ 5,368,709.12
Day 31 – $ 10,737,418.24
This is about patience (a fruit of the spirit – right?)… and believing in what you’re doing and pursuing excellence each step of the way and staying firm in your commitment.
What does this story of the penny have to do with VFV?
My goal and the goal of VFV from the beginning has been to raise a Billion Dollars (#CrazyBillionDollarGuy is back!)  This is a daunting number to even conceptualize, but it is very, very doable.
Back to the penny… how many more days do you think it would take to get to a Billion?
Well, maybe you math folks can do the math quickly, but like the rest of us, I need a calculator.. It took only 7 more days to hit a Billion!  Isn’t that incredible!
Folks, the little efforts and the continuous work – even when it looks like NOTHING is happening – IS making it happen.  It is this discipline of continuing to share our vision, our mission, to ask another time for help, for money, for support… and like the penny, one day the multiplication affect of one, then two, then fifty people, then 1,000 people, then 500,000 people in VFV RIDE, or Mem Day Flowers, etc. will have a VERY LARGE impact on VFV’s services to our Veterans.
This 2018 we may have touched a couple hundred lives of Vets and First Responders.  Imagine this ripple affect and in 10 years this number is now 10,000 and in another 10 years it is 10,000,000!  Possible? – damn straight!
Have courage friends!
Have faith!
Have the perspicacity to go the distance… put one foot in front of the other… ask another person if they could spare $3.33 for a veteran!  Keep going.  Even though you and we don’t see the immediate results.  Keep going my friend.
Why $3.33…?  Cuz 300 Million of us in the USA each giving $3.33 brings a Billion Dollars!  Not Impossible!
My father, an Airforce Vet, taught me through sports that it “only takes one” to win.  When I was young I would laugh at that since i would be ahead by like 10 points playing ping pong into the wee hours of the morning with him.  Great memories… BUT, the truth?  He’d come back and win (ok, just sometimes! 🙂  )  Because he was right.  You win by winning this ONE battle.  Today’s battle, not tomorrow’s battles – just today’s! Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do!
You know how easy it is to get $1B?
I’ll tell you.  It takes ONE person.  Haha, ya right!
Oh yeah?
How much did Warren Buffett donate to the Gates Foundation on July 10, 2017?
You guessed it… more than a billion!  Actually, $3+ Billion!
What makes it hard is to do enough work so that Warren Buffett, or someone like him, sees the value and decides to give that kind of money to an organization like VFV.
Keep going friends!  Keep serving our brothers and sisters, our Veterans and First Responders.  Let’s stay true to our goals of serving them and our exponential growth will come!  Believe with me that our efforts will multiply over and over and over again!  We have seen it already, but in very small pieces.  The day will come when we see more clearly and see the path to not only the Billion, since that is just a number… but more so that 10,000,000 million vets and first responders are getting the care they need to embrace life in a new and lasting way!
God bless you all and especially our Veterans and First Responders, without whom we’d have NO freedom.
I am grateful today and always for these brave men and women among us!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Steve Durgin
Founder
As I sometimes do, and am warned each time to do this, but below is my email and phone #.  Please call or write if something here touches you and you wish to help, give, share, or whatever.  If you’re a Vet or FR, we are here for you.  As my first board member and friend, Doug Bolton always says, “you are never alone”.  WE, VFV, myself, our board, our volunteers and more are here for you!
719-491-0717 – cell (if I don’t answer, please, please, please leave a msg)
steved@victoryforveterans.org

2 thoughts on “2018 – Review

  1. Steve, thank you for the perspective on 2018, the challenge for 2019, and the encouragement to keep pressing ahead! That is a significant list of accomplishments in 2018. As you note, our challenge is to keep growing the team. We still have too few people carrying too big a load! Once again, thank you for your vision and your leadership!!

  2. Awesome Steve. This is a wonderful post, and I believe in you. I can see the end of the tunnel, and it looks great after that. I have some other encouraging thoughts to add what you posted on what I said in you last paragraph: You are never unloved; you are never forsaken, and above all….Never,ever, give up!

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