Tito served in the military and was deployed a few times. Having a patriot's heart, he started a veteran's fair in his local community. This event was free for veterans, and the purpose was to connect service members with resources they may have not know about. How cool is that? Tito rocks.
One of the first years of this event, Tito and a few of his helpers noticed something odd right off the bat.
A few of the veterans who were about to enter the building peaked their heads through the door, but didn't go through. A few managed to get through the door, but after looking around the big, open building with hundreds of other veterans walking around… they would immediately leave.
It didn't take long for Tito to put things together.
These veterans were struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The large room, and lots of moving people triggered events from past deployments, which prevented them from entering the room. They didn't want to go in the building due to anxiety, stress, or the fear of something happening similar to what these brave vets experienced overseas.
The following year, Tito had a plan. He wanted all veterans to attend this event. So Tito posted a few veterans outside the doors of the building specifically waiting to spot people who had trouble getting through the door. As soon as one of the volunteers saw a vet struggling to get through, he would immediately walk next to that person.
"Everything okay? There's a lot of cool stuff in there. We can walk inside together."
One by one, the service members who had trouble getting in before now had a battle buddy to explore the veterans fair with them. They got through the doors. And although they weren't in uniform, yet again these veterans displayed the ultimate definition of what it means to be part of a band of brothers and sisters.
Independence Day should be a time of celebrate freedom. It's not about politics, war, guns, or anything that has the potential to cause debate. It's about the story of men and women wanting something better for the United States, and making it a place where freedom rings. A place where people are free to do as they please as long it doesn't harm your fellow neighbor.
In honor of the 4th of July, we want to express our sincerest gratitude. To all the military service members out there, thank you.
Thank you for making the selfless decision to defend the freedoms America enjoys. Intense training, long deployments, constantly working to be in the best physical and mental condition - it's not easy, and like Tito discovered those deployments can sometimes stay with you. To all the military spouses and military dependents, thank you. Thank-you for enduring a more difficult family life so others can have the opportunity for an easier one.
Having your husband, wife, father, mother, boyfriend, or girlfriend away for 9 months must be hard. Only few will know the tribulations a military family has to go through.
It's important to give thanks to the military community and remember what they have done and do.
Theodor Roosevelt sums up brilliantly who the credit goes to for brining in our Independence:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
To the soldier in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: thank you. You are not forgotten.
Cody McGraw is from Portland, Oregon. Raised in a family business, he got a lot of his entrepreneur skill sets by watching his parents operate their successful catering company. He is the founder of SCOUT Military Discounts, the most comprehensive military discount app on iOS and Google Play. SCOUT has one mission which is to enrich the lives of the military community. The app is free to download and free to use. Visit www.scoutmilitarydiscounts.com for more info & learn how you can get involved.
Cover photo: Shutterstock / Mike Flippo