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Feb. 20, 2023

From battling PTSD to rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic with the organization Fight Oar Die

From battling PTSD to rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic with the organization Fight Oar Die

Today we are talking to veteran army mil spouse Lissa. After 26 years of service, her husband was suffering from PTSD.

Lissa is really open and honest with the toll it took on her and their marriage and finally reaching out for help, despite her husband’s initial reluctance. 

Lissa shares who to reach out to if you or your spouse is hurting. PTSD is a silent enemy, and its wreaking havoc on so many lives and we need to talk about it more. 

The book Understanding and Loving a Person With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Steven Arburn has been a valuable resource for her. 

We then shift gears to talk about the organization called Fight Oar Die. The organization has a couple of programs and scholarships it supports but the main event is the Talikser Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. Which is a 3000 mile rowed passage across the Atlantic.

Fight Oar Die sponsors an all veteran team of 4 individuals who train and work together to complete the crossing which usually takes between 33-75 days!

Another resource Lissa wanted to share about PTSD is the book When War Comes Home: Christ-centered Healing for Wives of Combat Veterans

Click HERE to watch the YouTube video I mentioned in the show!

Here are some helpful LINKS if you are interested in learning more about Fight Oar Die! Click HERE to check out this years 2023 team!

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[00:00:00] today we're talking to Melissa. And Melissa has a really cool story. She's a. Her husband has retired out of the military at this point but have had some struggles with P T S D and found this really, really cool program that I had not heard about before.

[00:00:13] It's called FIGHT or o a r Die, and it's about Using this incredible row. It's a 3000 mile row across the Atlantic, and using that to kind of rebuild that resiliency and camaraderie and whatnot. So welcome to the show. I'm happy to have you here, and I'm really excited to hear more about this program and how you guys got started in it .

[00:00:36] So welcome to the show. , 

[00:00:38] thank you. It's so great to be here. And I love how quickly we connect as military wives, right? Like there's like this instant bond . Yes. Like, you know, somebody else actually gets the life that you have and and then you just wanna dive in, right? Yeah, 

[00:00:51] a hundred percent. So then let's do that.

[00:00:53] So let's dive in. So tell us about your military. I know that you guys are retired now, but you had quite 26 years, right? You said 26 years in military service. So tell us what that was like for you, and then what, how, what your 

[00:01:03] life looks like. Yeah, so my husband was in special operations, and here's part of the story is I did not know that I was going to be a military wife when we got married because he, he got in at, in high school and so he was finishing up his initial six years when we got married and he was done right?

[00:01:20] And so he had this couple years of, of I inactive ready reserve and you know, he was done. But the nine 11 happened and. Just in his heart, this is who he is. Right. And he was like, I can't sit by and just let things happen, you know, to our freedom. I have to be part of this. And so he got back in and my, my dad has often said to me like, you had no idea you were gonna be a military wife when you said, I do.

[00:01:41] Right? But that's what comes with it. You go, okay, well, I guess we're doing this. Mm-hmm. and you know, so yes, he served for 26 years and is now retired. He was in special operations. I now have two sons who are serving active duty, and so I jokingly tell my husband that I blame him , because they wanted to grow up and be like their dad.

[00:01:57] Right? Yeah. Because they saw such amazing things, you know, in him. And so, I was household six, you know, like that's literally the term that I get called around here, even when we're not talking military. Mm-hmm. . Cause I was the one who was managing the home at the time. We were homeschooling a lot, a lot of the time that he was gone.

[00:02:13] So I would, you know, manage the school and all the time with the kids and try to navigate this, doing life on your own with your husband on the other side of the world. And yeah, it was really challenging. And I remember we were, we were at Fort Bragg. . And I remember we went, went to this church and there was a bible study going on with a bunch of wives.

[00:02:30] So of course I'm looking for any community, right to mm-hmm. to jump in and meet some other military wives. And they were doing this study called When War Comes Home. And I remember going through it and going, yeah, I think I'm good. I think my husband's good. I don't think I need this. It was all about P T S D

[00:02:45] And I remember thinking to myself like, I really, like, I can clearly remember. I remember thinking, I don't, maybe I don't need this, but maybe somebody else needs this down the road. Mm-hmm. . So I was a part of the group. I remember like talking through this stuff, like being with these other women and just kind of like, it was almost like I was on the outside looking in mm-hmm.

[00:03:02] and now I can look back and go, yeah. I was the person who needed it. Right. And didn't Yeah. And didn't know it. Because you know how it is, right? Like you have, you are forever changed when you go through the things that you know, that people do in the military. And so, When he came home, I mean, there were multiple deployments, multiple like missions that he was on, some in harm's way, some not.

[00:03:23] But you know, he wasn't ever fully present. You know, he was still like a part of him was, was there and he was all often like just that on edge. Quick to react, you know, often just, you know, explosive and things like that. And it, it got hard because he would have nightmares in his sleep and like I then would become like, you know, the enemy that he was trying to, you know, that he was trying to fight.

[00:03:45] And I'd be like, Hey, it's your right. Like, it's okay. And you know, . And, but then also too, like I noticed that now during the daytime, I felt like we, I was the enemy, right? Because it was like he saw me as against him. And that was really, really hard because I'm, my response was to defend, right? My Deon response was, I'm not, you know, and no, and whatever.

[00:04:04] And I tried to talk to him about it, but it always ended up exploding with anger and just a lot of hurt. And, and that was just a really, really hard time and, I reached out to some friends who had heard me talk about enough things over the years that they were concerned. Mm-hmm. for my sake. And, and so that was really helpful.

[00:04:26] But then when I heard him say that he had considered, he considered taking his own life, I was like, okay, like, Something has to change. Something has to happen. My husband is hurting and this isn't okay. And I'm not okay with him just saying he's okay. And, and so really, I mean, just God used so many different people and circumstances and just, you know, just the way that he worked in both of our hearts to get my husband the professional, you know, support that he needed, which has made a huge difference, but then also on my end, to get the support that I needed to know how to respond.

[00:04:59] you know, like, that is really, really hard. And I'm actually, and I, I'm still growing and I'm reading a really great book called Understanding and Loving a Person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and just how do you build empathy? How do you be compassionate and yet also have healthy boundaries so that you're not hurt and your relationship isn't hurt and mm-hmm.

[00:05:17] you know, and honestly there's like a fear in my heart and. Even bigger in his heart about our boys. You know, we have two boys who are serving, one of them is months away from getting married. And so, I mean, this is the girl who's liked him since third grade. So like I know she's so excited to jump into marrying him and move to a base and all of that, and yet there's this piece of our hearts that like I get teary thinking about what is she gonna have to deal with?

[00:05:39] Like how is this gonna change him and what can we do? To not only help my husband heal right in our marriage to heal, but like to help protect our kids and their marriages and, you know, other military families in, in the marriages. Cause it has a ripple effect. Yeah. You know, like, or does come home and it doesn't really go away.

[00:05:59] And that's almost harder than when he was deployed. When it, when he was deployed. It was easier, honestly. Yeah. Than it's been, , like living with the, all the repercussions of all of that. And yet, , like, I'm committed, I'm here, I'm, we're doing this right, like, I'm not going anywhere. And so I would just encourage anyone who's listening, like, if you're in this place, , reach out and get help.

[00:06:19] Like, know that there. , you know, places and people who understand and help support you, even if your husband doesn't see it yet. Mm-hmm. , he, you know, thanks me now for being the one that reached out. Whereas back in the day, he was mad when I reached out for help, you know, because yeah, that was me fighting against him.

[00:06:35] And yeah, deny, deny, 

[00:06:36] deny shit down. . Yeah.

[00:06:39] Yeah. Right? Mm-hmm. , right. And so, , we've just watched enough other friends struggle through this. I mean, every time somebody doesn't come home, that affects him. You know? Of course there are things that trigger, him as well that just take him back there.

[00:06:50] And , he's had a couple friends recently whose kids have been in the military and lost their battle mentally and took their own lives, and I think that's just. It really helped us to see like, how can we turn, like, what's been such a struggle for us into something that could be a way to support others mm-hmm.

[00:07:07] you know, and, and something that could really make a difference in people's lives. So that's how we got connected with Fight or Die. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I don't know. I'll kind of stop there and see if you have any questions. Just come on that end and then Yeah, there's 

[00:07:18] a lot. There's a lot of questions.

[00:07:19] There's a lot of questions. . No, that was fantastic. So I'm just curious because I feel like, you know, the, who we're speaking to as military spouses for the most part, and so if there's a military spouse that's like, oh my gosh, like this is, this is bad. My husband's having night terrors and I'm scared and we fight all the time, and he just, he says everything's fine, but it's not fine.

[00:07:40] I don't know what to do. I don't know what, who to talk to. I don't know where to go. What, what advice do you have for that? Like what, who can they go to? Like, what would be like that first, like, I don't know anybody, I don't have any friends that have gone through this. I'm like flying solo here. What can I do?

[00:07:55] What, what, what would your advice be 

[00:07:56] there? Well, first of all, I think them listening to this podcast is a great first place to be, right? Because already, there you go. The community of people who get you right, and I think that's really key. So my husband's career was also, he was reserves in National Guard, and so we never.

[00:08:12] Well, we live near a base sometimes, but we never lived on a base. So like you and I were talking before we recorded, I didn't have a built community. I didn't have all these, you know, women around me, which is why when we were by Fort Bragg and I could jump in that Bible study, I was like, yes, other military wives who could, you know?

[00:08:30] So podcasts I think are a great place. , just I would say, . It doesn't have to be, , the perfect place. Just a trusted friend. Just somebody that you can say, I don't think things are okay. Mm-hmm. , I'm really struggling. , just to get it out there, because I think that's the first place, is that awareness and that recognition, and that actually voicing it and saying it to someone outside of yourself.

[00:08:49] that for me, that's what really started the ball rolling. I have a really good group of girl, of of college girlfriends. We're actually getting together this weekend. We have an annual weekend. We get together and I was the focus a couple years ago when we were in a really bad place because they had heard me saying enough things and they, they were like, Hey, like this isn't okay and you know, we really wanna see you, , get help.

[00:09:09] And so, I mean, So that's, it can just be friends like that. But then, yeah, finding like a, I mean, counselors, there are counselors all over the place who can help with that. Or ask somebody nearby, maybe you're part of a church, ask at your church. Like, are there people who, who specifically work with P T S D and work with that?

[00:09:27] This book by Steven Arburn is really good. , I wish I would've had this years ago. Just And what was the, what's 

[00:09:33] the title of. Understand. Mentioned 

[00:09:34] it previously. Yeah, yeah. I'm understanding. So I know people can't see who are, who are just listening, but it's called understanding and loving a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

[00:09:42] And so it goes through, yeah, identifying it. You're not crazy. It is really a thing, like how do you start reaching out for help? How do you support them but not enable them? How do you, how do you be compassionate? But cuz my, my response was like, I'm backing off here. , you're causing a lot of pain and hurt, and why do I wanna be around you if you're treating me like this?

[00:10:00] Right? And yet that like made him even angrier, right? And so learning how to be a compassionate companion that still has healthy boundaries. . Right. So that I'm, I'm not seeing like, I, I I, now it's, it's so much better. I can't say I never go back there, but like, when, when something triggers, like I can notice right away cuz I have enough tools in my toolkit now to say, this is his P T S D kick kicking in.

[00:10:23] This is not my husband just being a jerk, . Mm-hmm. . This is not just him just being, you know, whatever, like, and so that helps me to know how to respond in a different way. Right? Yeah. Where I'm not letting it affect me personally, even though it still. I can either give him that space or, or lovingly say, Hey, it feels like, you know, like, I can see you're struggling with this.

[00:10:39] Do you wanna talk about it? Or, you know, and it's, it's helped him now to kind of bring things down faster because he's aware of it as well. So it's, yeah, it's really, you know, so I would say, you know, this book has been phenomenal. But definitely like talking to a counselor or finding like a support group, you know, or that type of thing is, is gonna be really key.

[00:10:57] Just talking to somebody to start with. Yeah. And start asking around about resources that are, that are near. 

[00:11:03] Okay, well, we'll definitely link that book in the show notes for sure. So if you didn't catch the title or, or the author, whatever, it'll be in the show notes so that we can share that. So then so where does that, what, what is your.

[00:11:16] Huh. Where, how has it evolved for you now? So like, as you got out of, transitioned out, did you see like the results of P T S D kind of amplifying as he, as he got out of the military and, or like, what did, what did, what kind of did that transition period look like for you guys? . 

[00:11:35] Yeah. So it was actually pretty close to the end of his career that he actually finally sought professional help.

[00:11:40] Okay. So I think a lot of the changes that I saw were, because he finally was getting help. Mm-hmm. , but what I did find is that he was kind of struggling, like, you know, when you're in the military, you, you, you, it's very clear what your job is, what your mission is. Right. You know, like it's. , it's, it's pretty cut and dry.

[00:11:56] You, you know, and you, you know, what your value is and all of that. And, and even what I would find when he would come home from a deployment, right? Like he had been in this intense environment where he had a mission and he had this comradery and all of that. And it was like him trying to transition back to civilian life and, you know, regular American life was just, was always kind of challenging because it wasn't at that like, I'm really needed and I'm really, you know, doing something that's changing the world and, you know, and all of that.

[00:12:19] Sure. And so, A lot of it has been him kind of figuring out yeah, what does this look like? And, and, and really for him it's been how can I use the experiences I've been through and walk alongside other guys who may think that they don't need help either or who may. Willing to admit it, but you know, just still feel like they're struggling, , with that, so that we can prevent, , broken s so that we can prevent suicides.

[00:12:42] We can prevent, , so many other ripple effects that, , these, these are mental injuries. , somebody goes to war. Sure. They come back with, , a limb severed or a head wound or something like that, and people see it. Mm-hmm. and so they know, and you know, so when somebody responds in a certain way, you know, okay, I can see your injury.

[00:12:58] When it's an unseen injury, when it's like this, it's like you can't see it. Sometimes I forget. Like I got to that point where I would forget that this was the P T S D and I just started seeing it as this personal thing, right? Mm-hmm. . And so, so there's really, you know, just kind of a need for them and for, for the spouse or the family or whatever, to have an awareness of, okay, this is, this is what I'm talking to right now.

[00:13:19] I'm talking to his PTSD right now. I'm not talking to my husband. You know? Yeah. Cause just like shifted. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And so it's, it's always, you know, it's always a, a road, you know, and there are times when you feel like things are going really good and then something triggers right. And it could come out of nowhere.

[00:13:35] Mm-hmm. and it could be something that you didn't even notice, but you know, it came because he watched something or heard something, or, you know, something outside of us. But now all of a sudden it's right in front of us and I'm feeling the difference in that. So, yeah. Yeah. So that awareness is super, super important.

[00:13:49] Yeah. And then just having , you know, that you can can use when those things come up. Yeah, 

[00:13:55] I can, I can s gosh, that's gotta be, that's gotta be incredibly ch I think that that's a, a really great way to say that, that when you can recognize something, it makes it easier to be in that situation. Okay, no, this isn't like a personal attack on me.

[00:14:10] This is, this is his, this is the P T S D talking. This is not my husband. I think that that's a really healthy and helpful way to look at that and to create that empathy, like you were saying, create empathy. So then how, transitioning that, how did you guys find this program called Fight or Die? What is it?

[00:14:27] What is it? What is it about? What do they do? If you can give us kind of the Cliffs Notes version of, you know what that look Cliffs, you know, I said that to someone the other day. They're like, I think we're aging ourselves here because. I know that doesn't exist anymore. I'm like, you're right. That I don't think it does exist anymore.

[00:14:43] I think everybody, it's just a Google search now, but back in the the day, . 

[00:14:47] I know, I know. Yeah, I remember those yellow and black little books, right? Heck yeah. Heck yeah. Totally. So, okay, so my husband hosts an annual event at our. At our house where he brings in a bunch of people for shooting courses. And so we started bringing in some medical trainers to help.

[00:15:02] Not only we want the guys to not only know how to shoot well, right? Cuz that's important, but also what do you do if somebody gets injured physically? And so anyway, these two trainers who came a couple years ago, one of them had this race is called the Tallk Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. So you can go Google.

[00:15:18] And he had done it with the Fire Die organization. He's one of the founders and he was talking about it and his friend who was with him was like, you wouldn't catch me dead on the boat rowboat for 3000 miles Cross Atlantic Ocean. But he goes, I went to Antigua to welcome him when he got to the end, but I'm not going to the start line and getting in that boat.

[00:15:35] Well, my husband was intrigued and he was like, wow. Like, he's like, could I start it? Could I have a team? And they're like, well, we already have a team for this year and whatever. So they came back this year and and again the, the co-founder was like, Hey, guess. They have an extra spot. Do you want it? Do you want in for 2023?

[00:15:49] My husband was like, heck yeah. Like, he didn't even ask me, we didn't pray about it. We didn't talk about it. He was already on the boat. I was like, okay, we're doing this right. So yeah, so this, they, they started, I, I would've to look back, I wanna say 2018 maybe, was when the first team went. So yes. I love how you described it in the beginning.

[00:16:06] It's fight or die, o a r and kind of a PreOn word because it's, you know. Yeah. You're either gonna, you're rowing, . You're gonna die. Right? And it's a, so we're doing this through Oren, right? Rowing, right? Mm-hmm. . And so what this is, is they enter this race called the TKI Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, which is 3000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

[00:16:28] And you are not resupplied, you are not supported in any way. Like this is like you and your team, if you even have a team on, on a boat in the middle of the ocean by yourselves. And so they're the purpose behind this cuz it's a crazy thing. Like, why in the world would you do this? Right? Right. So the organization said, you know what?

[00:16:45] We want something that's really going to get people's attention. Stop their scroll. Right. ? Yeah. When you see these pictures of what these guys look like after they haven't shaved for like 30 to 50 days, you know? Sure. They're, they're lost a bunch of weight and they're like, You know, whatever. But you can see the look on their face with the finish line.

[00:17:01] Yeah. Like I could get teary just thinking about it. Yep. Watch the YouTube video. I was 

[00:17:05] like, oh my, I had goosebumps and I was like, oh my gosh. 

[00:17:08] Like this is amazing. Right? I wanna do it. So this is some, it's almost like the shock value thing. People are like, what in the world? And why would you do that?

[00:17:16] Right. So it gives a platform to do two things. Number one, to raise awareness. Cuz the teams are always all US veterans. So they're specifically saying, Hey, we are here to fight for the men and women who've protected our freedom. Mm-hmm. and the mental injuries that they have and will probably, you know, like incur during their military career.

[00:17:34] Mm-hmm. . And so they, you know, so they're raising money for that. They have mental first aid courses, which I think is so great. How many times have we taken in a regular first aid course? You can be prepared right. Have you ever thought about taking a mental first aid course? Especially as someone who's connected to a military person, right?

[00:17:51] Sure. Like if that's your husband or your brother or your uncle mm-hmm. , you know, what, what a gift that would be to be able to have those tools to help them. Mm-hmm. they also give scholarships to people who are going in. To careers that are going to help serve veterans. So it could be someone who's going into counseling.

[00:18:06] It could be somebody who's in the medical field. It could be somebody who's going into, you know, some kind of vo vo, any kind of vocation that in some way would serve veterans. Mm-hmm. . I think that's, that's really cool. Right. And yeah. So they're. They're out there, you know, rowing, , 3000 miles between 30 plus days, depending which kind of boat you're in.

[00:18:26] Yeah. But they're also doing it to, to be an example to veterans that, hey, just because your military career is over doesn't mean your mission is over. You know, like, , you can still have a mission, you can still have big dreams. You can do hard things. Mm-hmm. , you know, even if you've been injured, whether that's physically or mentally.

[00:18:45] And so that really gives an opportunity to speak into the lives of, of other veterans and people who are serving now, knowing that one day they'll be in that place. Yeah. About thinking about, yeah. What can you do? What can you, how can you take the experiences that you have that you've gotten because of your.

[00:19:00] Mm-hmm. and you've been a way that's gonna make an impact in the lives of other people. Yeah. So that's kinda what the race is all about. The race actually takes off on December 12th, 2023. Yeah. So we are right now in the stages of just getting the word out, you know? So social media stuff is out there, and I'll make sure you have the link there.

[00:19:19] Uh, There's one link I'll give that has all these little links in it. You can donate. You know, you can donate five bucks if you want, or you can donate. $50,000 if you want. Their goal is to raise $500,000. Wow. That's their goal. I guess there was a team not from fight or die from a different organization that raised a million dollars for dogs, and my husband is like, okay, if they can raise a million dollars for dogs, we can raise a million dollars for our veterans.

[00:19:41] Like let's Yeah. Yeah, for sure. . Yeah. But just, you know, or even to share it on social and just kind of like mm-hmm. , because you may not be that person who has 50 grand, right. You may be the person who has five five, $5, but you may know somebody who's got a business that wants, is looking for, you know, an opportunity to sponsor or, you know mm-hmm.

[00:19:59] so, Some of it is just, you know, how can we get out there and, or maybe, you know, anyone listening to this obviously knows someone in military. So how can the things that fighter or die does as an organization help support you? Right? Mm-hmm. and where you're at and where your service number is at. Mm-hmm.

[00:20:13] and what that looks like. So's kinda things kinda tied up in it, but it's So the, so the money that they're raising is for, cuz this is, this was a little gray for me and I was like, okay, well I'll have to ask some questions around this. So Sure. When you go to their website, it's like, Hey, donate money.

[00:20:27] But it's a little confusing as to, so like our, so they wanna raise $500,000 to support missions that Fight or Die has, which is the. Which is the mental first aid. Like how can we provide help to people that we're talking to right now? Right. And then there's the scholarships that you mentioned, and then there's probably the support for actually sending these four guys on this trip.

[00:20:49] Right. And and I think that another like little note on that too is that this is a global event. There are. Like 30 to 50 different boats depending all going together. So it's not like they're like this lone little boat. I mean, there's definitely like, there's a, there's a crew , there's like, I mean, you are on your own right there.

[00:21:08] You're not getting resupplied and all the other stuff, but. If something were to happen, there's comms and there are other people that are out there too. Right. So it's not, it's not like you're this like lone, tiny little roof boat , although three miles out you don't. Sure. Of course. 

[00:21:24] Right. Like you see the boat once in a while.

[00:21:26] But yes, sure. There, I mean, the organization has been around for a long time. Yeah. And there's a really cool history on that. The. Or Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, and they show pictures of like legit rowboats, like what we're thinking, like the, the wooden rowboat with like the wooden ORs. You know, you think about the guy.

[00:21:40] Yeah. You know, and the first people crossing the Atlantic Ocean in that I forget the statistic, like, I wanna say it's less than a thousand people for sure have ever crossed the Atlantic Ocean, you know? Well, it 

[00:21:50] said that more more people have climbed Mount Everest than have that have. Then have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

[00:21:57] So to be able to say that you're one of the ones that have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, that's a pretty incredible feat for sure. Okay. So then, so then kind of switching gears a little, a little bit, what does the training for that look like? Because you're, you're like landlocked , you're in the Midwest.

[00:22:12] Yeah, and what I noticed when I was looking at like past teams and stuff is there's people from New York and there's people from like Wisconsin and like, there's people from like Landlock. Well, neither one of those are landlocked, but there's people from all over the country. on a team. So what is the training like?

[00:22:26] What, what does that look like? Can, can you share some of that, of what your husband's been going through leading up to it? 

[00:22:30] Well, we got a, we've got a rower down in the basement now, and actually my husband had to get permission to get this kind cuz it's really only the kind of rower that they actually sell to professionals and people who are like an Olympic train, Olympic training you and stuff like that.

[00:22:42] Okay. So. Got a, he's got a program for, you know, Rowan his miles and his time and things like that. So everybody's doing their own things on their own. Ok. But then, I love this, the TK Whiskey Atlantic Challenge has requirements of certain amounts of times and types of rows. You have to log as a team on open water.

[00:22:59] They have to do a 20, at least 1 24 hour rows, so they get through a whole cycle of night and day and mm-hmm. , kind of what that looks. , the way they do it mm-hmm. is they take two to four hour shifts. Mm-hmm. . And so when you're not rowing, you're sleeping. Mm-hmm. Well, what happens? Mm-hmm. , especially on a two hour shift, is you row for your two hours, then you've gotta eat.

[00:23:17] Cuz they have to eat like 5,000 calories a day. Right? Oh yeah. So you've gotta eat and do whatever else needs to be done. Then you try to sleep a little bit in this cabin that literally has no airflow because if there was any airflow and the boat flipped, it would sink. So it's. They say that like, you know, it's like your sweat is dripping off the ceiling onto you because it's con condensating up on top.

[00:23:39] Yeah. So maybe you get an hour's sleep maybe, and it's you get up, eat again and then get ready to get back on the row. Right. So there's a lot to them figuring out how does that work? Yeah. And they're from all over the country. So they actually just got together for the first time as a team in person.

[00:23:51] They went out to a big convention in Vegas a couple weeks ago. Ok. So that's the first time they were like in one room together. So everybody's rowing on their own and they have to get together, you know, multiple times to log their hours and things like that. And then, The Alka Whiskey Atlantic Challenge requires them to be there for 12 days of prep before the race starts.

[00:24:08] Mm-hmm. . And there's a lot of safety briefing, a lot of being out on the water there, a lot of packing and repacking your boats. They make sure you know where everything is. The air comes, are working. You know, like you said, there's Sure. A lot of support on the backend to make sure that they're gonna be taken care of.

[00:24:22] Yeah, and then there's this really fun app that you can like literally track them the whole way across and see where they are and see how they're comparing to other boats and, you know, things like that. So, yeah, it's really fun. So right now, if you go on their Instagram page, you'll see stuff from the 2022 team.

[00:24:37] So you can kind of see some of the, the pictures and things that are seen. And then in starting in March we're we'll transition over in the 23 team. We'll take over the social media and, and all of that as well. . Yeah, it's, I, it's ongoing. It's an ongoing mission, right? Yeah. Like, I think it's like one of those, like once you're a part of something like that, you're, it's like a fraternity, you know, like you're always a part of that organization.

[00:24:59] Yeah. So if you go to their website, which of course will link that as well. I'm gonna do another link. As well, as well, as well as well to the YouTube video that they have there. That's just, it's kind of like the highlight reel of the race and the one that I watched was for the 2019 season. And it is just unbelievable.

[00:25:18] I mean, like the, and I mean, used. See the, and, and they show the bad stuff too, right? There's storms, there's big waves, there's boats slipping over. Super blisters. Yeah. There's blisters on feet, there's blisters on hands. There's co close quarters. Do that. The Yeah, but the, the beauty too, I mean, they have a bunch of pictures, like there's whales right next to you and, and there's you know, pods of dolphins going along with you and just the experiences and the beautiful sunsets.

[00:25:49] Stars just being out in the middle of nowhere where there's no light pollution. And then the very end when they're all coming in and the celebrations and the, oh God. It's like, I wanna do that. Like, is if you're . I totally did. I was like, I wanna do that. I, I don't know that I actually really wanna do that, but I mean, it's just like, it's just, it just seems like.

[00:26:08] Such an amazing thing to be a part of. And I just, I feel I can see how participating in something like that, especially if you struggle with P T S D or with, you know emotional issues like that around service, and I can see how that is just. Would just be such a, an amazing experience and such a, a gift to be able to be a part of.

[00:26:30] So I'm, I am so excited for you guys and and for your training and all of the, and thank you. I appreciate you reaching out to me and because I had never heard of this organization before. I was like, what? Fight, fight or die? What, what? I don't understand. But I think that the, the mission is great and the event is awesome, and I'm super excited to follow along with.

[00:26:51] And then again, like you were saying, we'll definitely link it in the show notes, but all of the, you know, if you wanna donate money to the, to help with the, as they cross, but also the scholarship programs and the, the mental first aid that they have are all really great programs as well. So did you have any, any closing, closing thoughts or remarks you wanted to share?

[00:27:12] Yeah. Just, you know, not everybody's gonna get in the boat and that's okay. Right? Like, it just, it's, it's, I think it's just that, like what part can we play, right? And what can we do? And, and knowing that you're not alone in the boat, right? Mm-hmm. . So you may not be getting physically in a boat that's going across the Atlantic Ocean, but you may be listening right now and you're in a boat that's really hard to row because the waters are really stormy around you.

[00:27:33] Whether that's because of the military, that your, you know, experience that your loved one is connected to, or just something else in life. And so just. always making sure that you reach out for support and that you, you have the people around you that you need , and that you're not afraid to say, I need help, so that my ship doesn't go down, so mm-hmm.

[00:27:50] whatever boat it's that you're in, . , just make sure that you are not doing it alone, because that's a really hard, that's a really hard row, and I don't think that's what we're intended to. 

[00:27:59] Correct. Yeah. It doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that way. Yeah. And I think a lot of times for a lot of people that are in the spot where they're fighting, it's the, it's that initial reach out, right?

[00:28:09] That's so hard. Who do you talk to? Who do you reach out to? And, and I think that you had a great advice in that, and that is one person. One, a friend, a family member, somebody just reach out to one person, Hey, this is what I'm going through right now. And then it'll just build, build, build from there. So I, I think I, I appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

[00:28:29] We definitely need to spend more time talking about P T S D and the effects of, of military service on the service members and the families that are left behind, and that, that. Dealing with the aftermaths of these, you know, of, of these mental issues that are such a challenge, are such a challenge.

[00:28:51] But I think that it's something that we need to talk about and I appreciate you bringing this organization to our to us. And we'll keep following for sure. 

[00:29:00] Yeah. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story and share the story of what we're doing and just pray it's gonna make a difference in the lives of lots of people.

[00:29:08] I know it already has in ours, so I know it will. 

[00:29:10] Yeah. Awesome. Okay, cool. Thank you very much. I appreciate you. Yep.