On August 19th The United Way will decide what organizations will be funded thru the 2021 fiscal year. All of your prayers are greatly appreciated. Also Sober Living Inc has launched a GoFund Me campaign that is posted at www.soberlivingllc.org/gofundme. Congratulations to Scott and Kelly Jenkins on their wedding nuptials. I wish you guys all the best.
In this journey to recovery, there are small victories that are cherished. These are cherished by the afflicted and those that care about them alike. Here is one such story that serves to continually remind me of why I do what I do.
It was October 19, 2014, and Notre Dame was playing Florida State. I was watching the game with a veteran that I had come to call my friend. Now understand he hated Notre Dame with a passion but agreed to watch the game with me. The game came down to its final moments and penalty was called that sealed Notre Dames fate.
With 2:42 seconds left int he game, Notre Dame was on the 5-yard line with the ball. The ball was snapped and thrown for what looked like a touchdown. But no; a flag was thrown for offensive pass interference. And the kicker? It was 4th down. All FSU had to do was run the clock out and the game was OVER.
In that moment, I was dejected, irritated and flat-out mad. But my buddy turned to me and said, ” Ric you guys were cheated. They should never have called that penalty!”. I told him thanks and went to bed.
At approximately 6:30 am the next morning I heard what I thought was thunder since it had been raining the previous day.
It was not thunder.
It was my buddy. He had fallen from his chair and hit the floor. I called 911 and my best friend and I rushed to him and began CPR. I breathed for him while my best friend did chest compression. I felt the last breath he took on my cheek. His name was Bruce Hensley. And he watched his last game with me.
That last moment I shared with him watching my team, which he hated, lose and to have him tell me we should have won, Is one I cherish deeply.
Besides that, and more importantly … HE DIED SOBER.
I was born in Chicago Illinois on November 28, 1966, at approximately 12:13p.m. For 22 years I navigated the violent streets of the inner city. Luckily, I found football to occupy my time and keep me out of trouble.
I enjoyed football and became proficient at it. So much so, that I received a scholarship to Northeastern Illinois University where I started as a freshman. Unfortunately, the football program was discontinued and my scholarship was null en void.
Enter the U.S. Military. Army Alpha Battery 5/1 Field Artillery, Ft Polk Louisiana: “THE KING of BATTLE”. After serving my country, I noticed that my knees and back were hurting with more and more frequency. I went to the V.A. (Veterans Administration) to get medical attention for my condition. 14 years went by and I had every pill, shot, voodoo that they could muster.
Not only that, I was angry all the time … I mean all the time! I was short-tempered, impatient and easily triggered. After going back to the V.A.’s in Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas,and Georgia with no clear answer as to why I felt this way, why I hated the sight of people, why large groups simply terrified me, I finally came here to Knoxville TN.
Here I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), where I received double knee replacements, and am receiving PTSD counseling. I have been here since May 9th, 2013 and here is where my calling became clear.
Here is where I saw a need. Here is where I WILL make a difference in as many veterans’ lives as I can.