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Each Hero Interview Has Been Machine Translated and Will Be Edited As Soon As Possible

Hero Segment Marine Veteran Frank Manteau of Crayons Ready to Eat

Unknown Speaker 0:01
Are you happy?

Unknown Speaker 0:03
Are you deep down satisfied with the person you are? How you're living your life, and the future as it appears today? Do you have a passion? Is there any one thing in your life that is so important that it makes prioritizing everything else simple? If the answer to any of those questions is no, do you have any idea why? Welcome to the Vera more speaks podcast. I'm your host, Dawn Keegan, co founder of the dating app, Barrymore, and the nonprofit app Hero Harbor. Happiness, mine and that of others is something that's always been very important to me. I've devoted my life to understanding how we take the things life throws at us, and combine that with our own special gifts. To come away with an experience that, while not always perfect, is one we're proud of, and allows us the fewest regrets, and least amount of heartache whether through my personal musings or conversations with guests. The aim here is not defined, a one size fits all To Do List of change. But instead, a mindset that lessens our fear, reduces judgment of ourselves and others and frees each individual to build the life that truly represents happiness for them. Thank you for joining us on the very more speaks podcast. I've always worked to provide the most honest helpful content I could, informs it reached the largest possible audience. Mid stream dislike of greed driven organizations means I do so without ads or sponsors. But for us to continue improving with better guests and more consistent production quality, we need your help. If you have found any value and what we do and the content provided, please show us a little love by making a contribution directly to the podcast or as tax deductible donation on the Hero harbor.org website. Thank you again for listening. And please enjoy the show.

Unknown Speaker 2:41
Alright, welcome back. This evening we are speaking with Frank manto. Correct? Yes. Okay. We went over that about three times and I still it's my journalism thing I was Diego for the Marine Corps and I it's been drilled into me Do not screw up people's name. So anyway for is a fellow devil dog. And I'm very excited to have him and I'm going to pause for a second so thank you for being here.

Unknown Speaker 3:08
I thank you for being here as well. I appreciate the opportunity.

Unknown Speaker 3:12
Absolutely. Okay, so um, usually what I do is start with how did you how did you choose the millet? How'd you decide you're going to want the military? Why and then how did you end up in the Marine Corps specific and then just tell your story from there.

Unknown Speaker 3:28
So I I'm from small town America. I'm from the backwoods of Ohio. My senior year of high school my population in my town was 951, folks.

Unknown Speaker 3:39
Oh, that is small.

Unknown Speaker 3:41
Yeah. So I didn't have the greatest childhood in the world. I was at you know, be seen not heard. type environment. I don't remember much of my childhood inside my home. I had a lot of mentors that basically took me under their wing when I was younger, and I had people by the names of hooter. He was my main you know, mentor that took me hunting fishing, saying in, you know, you know, trapping for turtles and all that and everything. got me involved in the scouting. There I met people with the name they're like Dutch Rudy, got me through scouting and Nitze rusty, you know, Bodie you know all these country redneck backward names and they basically I learned what I you know, how to be able to do things and go out and survive and hunt and fish and you know, make things working on the local farm. So it was my I really, like I said, it was get up the morning, go to the farm, go to school, after school, go hunting, fishing or whatever wrestling practice things like that. And I didn't really there wasn't much going on there. And with my family life, it like I said, I there's a lot of it that I don't remember inside the home. Right. And my summer my junior year I started it was my second year working the summer job training program. My sophomore year summer my sophomore year, junior year, summer, my junior senior year, I got on the job training program, where I had learned to work, you know, just doing various things, the street department working a janitorial for the school, make my own money to be able to buy my own school clothes and stuff like that. And in the midst of it, I always had a passion for art. I had a passion for creating things. I always worked on the farms building stuff, had my hands working with, you know, on the farm building furniture, building the gates, putting the fences building, you know, preparing the barns. I took workshop in high school, took art class and everything. And was my junior year was talking about hooter. And my junior year, and he was like, you got to get out of here. There's more, there's so much more out of here, outside of here than what's here. There's nothing because he wasn't involved in the coal mines. There was there's you're getting, should I this is we're talking 9495. So, at summer, he took me over to the recruiting offices, and Marine Corps stuck. I figured, well, hey, you know, granted, I you know, my dad was a Marine, you know, let me go check and see what the Marines got. So whenever and Marines, talk to them, and they're giving me different options gave me an option of doing you know, different things gave me the as Bab I scored a 37 on airs, but i didn't i didn't i didn't get that high any as bad. And I just

Unknown Speaker 6:50
think the scoring is a little different with you. And in what when?

Unknown Speaker 6:55
95

Unknown Speaker 6:57
Okay, so I went in 89. So I don't know what they had the scoring. I don't know what the scoring was back then. But it not enough to

Unknown Speaker 7:06
account account for just whatever it just keep going. I just said that to me. But yeah,

Unknown Speaker 7:16
yeah. So I ended up with a score of 37. And they were like, Well, you know, they started off with Well, we've got Marine Corps security forces. Like, making it sound like it's an all big deal. And then there's an opportunity to get into eighth that I am

Unknown Speaker 7:35
sure, why not sign me up for that.

Unknown Speaker 7:39
So

Unknown Speaker 7:40
no, I hang on a sec. I it's been a long time eighth and I is that the President's? Yeah. Yeah. Okay, that's what I thought there was a, I was gay. Oh, and I lived on the same wing with the MPs. And there was a stunning female MP that ended up going to economic to guard the helicopter something just because, you know, me public perception, you know, parents like I think anyway, okay, so,

Unknown Speaker 8:08
yeah, so they, you know, they gave me that option.

Unknown Speaker 8:12
And I was like, Okay, let's do it. So they set up to come and talk to my folks.

Unknown Speaker 8:19
And

Unknown Speaker 8:21
it didn't turn out as planned.

Unknown Speaker 8:24
They were very adamant of me, not going very adamant me staying in the area. And this and that, and Hooters stepped up and was like, Look, you know, he's got nothing going for him. either sign it now or when he graduates, I'm going to make sure besides Get him out of here. So that was kind of a fighting argument. And they finally signed it. And my summer my junior year, I end up being in the pulley program, and not summer 94. And to go back to school my senior year, to find out that I had a full ride scholarship to Pittsburgh Art Institute. Oh, my art teacher, Miss Whiting. Well, technically she's Miss Marple. But I've known her when she was waiting before she got married. So I just kept calling him his wedding. She had submitted one of my art pieces over the summer, and I got selected to get the scholarship.

Unknown Speaker 9:19
So stay tuned, turned it down.

Unknown Speaker 9:20
Oh,

Unknown Speaker 9:22
I turned it down. Because I just want to get out of there. Like I said it. Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 9:29
family wasn't that great. So I ended up graduated June 1 and 95. June 5 and 95. I was at maps. You're on the west coast. So you're a Hollywood marine. No, I Oh,

Unknown Speaker 9:45
oh, gotcha. Gotcha. All right. Okay, so we just missed each other because I left Parris Island. I was permanent personnel there for two years. And I left there in 92. So we but I have actually met I met a marine recently, or Well, a couple years ago, who not only went through boot camp while I was permanent personnel, so it's possible I covered his graduation. We were also stationed on camp Hansen and Okinawa at the same time. I don't remember him but we were we've has crap cross paths. That's what's so crazy about the Marine Corps because that that stuff's not unusual. And that that's why that helps explain the absolute insane brother sisterhood when people when we meet because not only that 13 weeks of boot camp and all the other bullshit that you go through. But But yeah, things like that, because it's so small.

Unknown Speaker 10:31
Yeah, we're, we're so big, but we're so small that we can you know, at one point in time, we've crossed shoulders with somebody.

Unknown Speaker 10:36
Yeah, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 10:39
I ended up you know, June 5, I was on my way to maps June 6, I was on a plane to Parris Island, South Carolina, and June 7, I step by, step down the yellow footprints.

Unknown Speaker 10:49
Okay, so I've never asked this before. I've told my story about the elephant prints, I think but what? Okay, you were held that time yourself. Okay. So what? How much memory or history? Did you know at that point?

Unknown Speaker 11:03
Well, I went to the pulley program for a whole year.

Unknown Speaker 11:06
Okay. All right. So all right. So what were you thinking? If you can remember, what were you thinking when you were standing on the footprints?

Unknown Speaker 11:12
Oh, shit, what the fuck did I get myself into?

Unknown Speaker 11:16
Okay, I want to tell you what I was thinking. And somebody pointed out something recently, we become so accustomed, we just take the internet for granted, even as dinosaurs forget that it wasn't always there. And because I was I joined in 89 and I was 23. So I'm, you know, a few years older than you are but somehow and I knew nothing about the Marine Corps nothing. And the somehow I learned about the barracks bombings in Beirut. And I know internet I honestly don't know I must have done something crazy gone to library or something. But anyway, so when I got a shirt off the bus and I'm standing on those yellow footprints what's going through my crazy and pathetic head is and probably a little the ocean get to, but I wonder how many of those Marines who we lost stood here first. That's what made me good as a writer because that was the kind of stuff that you know, I would throw in there but anyway, okay, so you're on the front, keep an eye and you're about to get your head shaved, nevermind the people screaming at you.

Unknown Speaker 12:18
For me, the head shaven wasn't too bad because I already wore a frickin flattop. And yeah, so I kept my hair short and I got seven calyx in my head. So having long hair is not fun.

Unknown Speaker 12:31
It's like free haircut. Whoa,

Unknown Speaker 12:33
yeah. Great. No, no, whenever you end boot camp, you get that bill they charge you for everything you got.

Unknown Speaker 12:41
Oh, you know, what the trade off is? Okay. You know, Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 12:44
it is. So you know, I ended up going through going to the Marine Corps went through boot camp and it was the best experience I had in my life because I was there before Of course you were there whenever they still had field week. They did not field week where you went out and try and learn this crucible.

Unknown Speaker 13:07
Oh, yeah. No, they didn't I wish they did.

Unknown Speaker 13:09
Yeah, I don't because later on in my career, I actually was you know, and we'll get to that where I was coaching recruits at the edge and range over here on MCRD San Diego and that's an arrangement penalty in coaching recruits on the right form and that was there when I instituted the crucible. Good week is by far informational wise and a team building better than what the Christian boys in my opinion,

Unknown Speaker 13:37
right okay. Well, cuz even I am not you know, I've heard of it. I'm committed but I anyway. Can you just describe it?

Unknown Speaker 13:45
What the crucible warfare week?

Unknown Speaker 13:47
No feel okay. Yeah, well, we're not alone. Okay. It still week, at least from my memory 100 years ago. That's where you do that you go. You do the rifle range? Actually, right. Going to separate it's a it's a week, okay? Okay, so feel weak. That's your bivouac site with your pants or whatever. And you know, that knee but roll I know all that.

Unknown Speaker 14:11
The rounds go.

Unknown Speaker 14:11
Yeah, yeah. Right.

Unknown Speaker 14:15
Yeah, exactly. And you're actually you know, your experience. And and and over in Parris Island is I don't know how they did it over here in Pennell, you know, where they were doing in Pendleton. But, you know, over there, you've got swamp land, you've got water everywhere. And, you know, there's I was there June to shoot in August. And I was there in the hottest months of the summer, San fleas were freaking killer. And, you know, going through the field week, it was just going through that it was the it was that that you've already been through a lot of the hard parts to breaking you down mentally, and breaking you down and get everybody on the equal playing field to prepare you for that field week of working together. And making sure everybody getting through the obstacles and getting to the end as one night, you know, straggling behind written, you know, leaving this one out whatever else. And that's what boot camp was about was preparing you to get through that, that make sure you had that Band of Brothers, and getting everybody through that whole situation to get my Eagle of an anchor walking across that prey deck was one of the best feelings or was and now knowing that the crucible they go get it, they get there, give a little bit anchor up on that at the end of the crucible. And the last week boot camp. They're called Marines.

Unknown Speaker 15:38
Oh, no, no, no, no. Okay, what tell me all right. Okay. Wow. Okay. Yeah, see, it's Yeah, I do out. Okay. All right. So tell me about the crucible real quick, I just don't let describe a,

Unknown Speaker 15:50
they changed it over the years. I know, whenever I was up there at some range, they were it was just the beginning phases. So it's basically three days out in the field going through different obstacles, they would take them up, you know, the hikes in the hills. And the last day would be like a, I think it was a 15 or 20 mile, you know, hike up the top of the hill. And they were limited IRAs. And once they get up to the top of the hill, that's whenever they do the ceremony. It's it's a shorter version. But it's they keep everybody in groups, and they try to work them as small fire teams and squads and stuff to transition Harbor. Like I said, Now, it's changed drastically from my understanding. But they still do administer the eagle go back up on the at the finish of the crucible.

Unknown Speaker 16:39
Yeah, that's it. But you know what, it's funny. And,

Unknown Speaker 16:46
you know, as I said, I knew nothing about the Marine Corps. And I hope you have time because some of my less less detailed interviews go two hours with my marine. So it sounds like because you and I are covering a lot of things that, you know, I haven't talked about before, and some of it I thought about in a while. But when I said I didn't know, I, I got I had sort of a challenging childhood, you know, parts of it anyway. And I, my answer was to get pregnant at 15. So I dropped out after sophomore year. And so I didn't get recruited, because I knew nothing. We had every other branch. But I didn't know anything about Marine Corps. And so I didn't have there was none of that prior, I had no clue that, you know, we had the camaraderie and all that stuff. So when I didn't, when I went in, I had no expectation of that. So it's for me, all the feelings that have come up, since some of them come to me is a little bit of surprise, for instance, and you know what, nevermind. You know, I'm not gonna say this, because it, it might bias people they might not understand because I do I love all my men and women. I do I do. But I have just found I have surprised myself with some of the thoughts. I didn't, you know, the people that I find it challenging to recognize, as you know, as Marines or whatever, it's, it's, it's, again, it's explained. But But yeah, so I don't know, I don't know how I would feel, I guess maybe I'd have to see the ceremony. But But yeah, it's there was just, yeah, I don't know. So

Unknown Speaker 18:13
what my understanding of what their logic behind this is, it's looking at the way today's society is in, its fitting to do so. But for those of us that are old school, were like, No, we had to wait till the very last day. It's a factor, but we have to understand it, get over it. So what they're doing is what they've experienced that the Marine Corps to my understanding is that as we were getting out the day, we were called Marines. We were back into the frickin world. We're going on leave we were going into and getting 10 days later going into our unit. We didn't have any really understanding of the fleet Marine Corps, and what to expect and what was going on. So my understanding what they're doing now is that last week, they're treating them as Marines, they're able to call the instructor, Staff Sergeant sergeant, you know, officers and stuff like that, and give them that transition and understanding how Marines act around Marines, right, when they go out into the fleet Marine Corps. So it's got its benefits. It's just,

Unknown Speaker 19:24
I guess, but some of I mean, Okay, first of all, they should know Amina 13 weeks. That's no small amount of time. If you can't instill in these people, I mean, you know, that's that sort of thing. I'm not sure you, you cut it as an instructor. But the other thing is that trial by fire is what we do. You know, I mean, that's what

Unknown Speaker 19:45
we did do now there.

Unknown Speaker 19:47
Yeah. Okay. Let Yeah, okay. We don't want to talk about this anymore. Because

Unknown Speaker 19:53
I interviewed a marine at one point who was born the same year I went in, and wow, okay, so the first time that I heard this, I was in, I was working as a personal trainer in Austin. And I met, I met another brain. And I said, raw, and he said, raw, I'm like, What? He says, I'm like, no, it's raw. So I was, that was the first time I heard it. So then when I was talking to Adam, and he said it, he says, We don't have time for

Unknown Speaker 20:22
content, we don't, I still don't like,

Unknown Speaker 20:24
and the thing is, it's, but I am constantly torn with that. And I want to keep going with your story. But with the idea because I'm about to turn 53 very, very soon. And, but I have a lot I have, you know, my friends and the people, but, you know, span from 21, I have a 22 year old roommate, my best friend is 21. And, and then my oldest friend is in his late 90s. So you know, it's, I'm caught between, you know, wanting to and liking embrace some of the you know, I mean, I like certain things about the younger generations and things like that. And I'm still you know, so I am proud of my ability to, you know, somewhat bridge that gap. But having those, you know, good old days kind of thoughts, I have to say, okay, is it really better? It's like, I don't know, I have to, but I guess it would take more thought than we can, you know, go through now. But I think it's really just in how does it affect? You know, how does it affect their job, their ability to do their job in the future? That's the big thing is it doesn't really teach what what's being what's, what's being taught? And is it the important thing is it that, you know, be prepared ahead of time or be able to, you know, make adjustments on the fly, which is, you know, what, you should be able to do,

Unknown Speaker 21:53
but exactly you should be able to do and you know, it's it's just like anything in society, we've had to change. I know, you and I grew up, we grew up, there was no cell phones, there was no video recorders. We did stuff that we are thank God, thank you ever. There was no cell phone, no video recording? Oh, yeah. stuff that we did. Yeah. And now everybody's catching everything. And it's like, how could you

Unknown Speaker 22:17
there is no death not doing? Yeah, there's a privacy. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 22:22
And it's, it's at home, now we're in an instant gratification. Everybody wants it now, once you're here, and the military has kind of, you know, switched over to that. Now, recently, I saw that Marine Corps is actually going to update the barracks and give, you know, the Marines kind of a Air Force, luxury style, but not as extravagant, you know, cutting down, you know, the having the one head per, you know, barracks room instead of one head or two barracks rooms. So they're, they're given them, you know, they're, they're given a comfort and be able to wonder in garrison to be reminded

Unknown Speaker 22:56
how I guess I mean, it's just I don't know, I mean, there's Yeah, it's hard to say, I mean, in that regard, I can't, for me, it comes down to it in the end, when, when they're on when they're on the battlefield, when they're coming home, in both of those instances, because both of those are very stressful periods. How does it differ? You know, no, and only time will tell? And unfortunately, some people are going to have to be guinea pigs in that regard. But you know, we will only history will be our only, you know,

Unknown Speaker 23:27
exactly, you know, so for me, I said I'm I've got I'm heavily involved in mentoring the youth and I saw I kind of caught on to doing, you know, the technology and keep an eye on see how what they need in the military is, is, is getting to that they're transitioning to, you know, reach how they can reach the youth Because ultimately, my generation a generation before me pretty much created this generation right now. They didn't create it themselves.

Unknown Speaker 24:00
No, no, no, you're right. But you know, Yeah, I agree. I completely agree with Yes, I've seen it. I've seen it in my in the right, my brother's raising of his kids. Yeah. Nice. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 24:09
And, you know, so a lot of people are blaming this generation, and they're not pointing the finger at us. Because we're the, you know, grid and not for, say myself for yourself, but majority of our generation is the one that created this generation, be where they are.

Unknown Speaker 24:27
Yeah, these kids were stuck in front of TVs and video games, and, you know, whatever, so that the parents could work. No, I yeah, it's that's the thing. It's not it's not necessarily blame, or because the thing is, there are some, there's, there's a lot of good in this generation. And that's, that's, I think, the part that I embraces it, so many of them have that anything is possible, change the world mentality. And that's what I love, you know, so many from our generations and for are very apathetic, they'll complain, and they'll talk about the problems, but then they're, like, we'll do something they're like, you know, it can't be done or nothing, you know, but, you know, now this, this, you know, the millennial generation, you know, again, nothing gets across the board. It's, I think it's called sturgeons law that says 90% of everything is crap. And that includes us. But this idea that because of technology, because of the things they know, a great number of them, they're going to change the world, they're going to make a difference, you know, because they don't they believe that anything is possible. So

Unknown Speaker 25:30
Oh, yeah, exactly. So for me, you know, whenever I got out of the Marine Corps, and I ended up going, I went to the Marine Corps security forces, my first duty station. And this is where the technology, you know, has changed and made stuff a lot easier because, you know, I went up there and I was a glorified fire watch. That's basically what I did. I was guarding the decommission of nuclear subs up in Puget Sound. So there, you know, you had this the old school radio is the communication back and forth. The you know, the poncho liner, the, you know, the up there in Bangor, it rains nine to 10 months out of the year. It was just a swan fest.

Unknown Speaker 26:12
Right. I have to stop you right there. I have this. So I flying back to Parris Island real quick. So I went in November 16. I graduated February something. So I was there during the coldest months. So two things one, and it was snowing when I was on the on the range now, anybody I will from day one, I've had a pizza box, I will have a pizza box till I die. And you know, and for anybody who doesn't understand a pizza box means I can't shoot where shit. I can't hit a barn from two feet away. However, it's a good thing that I was a photographer and I shot pictures, not targets. But so yeah, so the snow didn't make things any easier. However, the other thing I want to share, and this is mildly TM, but just you know how vicious those samplings are, yes, if you've never been to South Carolina, they have pictures of T shirts on at the gift shop with, you know, comics of these things. And they have a giant, massive teeth. I mean, these things are evil. In fact, and this is this is such a non marine thing to do. And I shouldn't admit to my lack of discipline, but we were on the parade pray deck one day, and I saw all like three and we're sweat. You know, we're we're at attention. And but I saw like three in the ear behind the girl in front of me. And I just I, you know, sort of eyeball around to make sure nobody's looking at I swiped him really quick because I knew and she's like she was respect. Because you know, it's just, I mean, I knew she was being destroyed. So the TMI part is, you guys wear pants all the time. We don't always wear pants and you get out there and the prey deck and those things getting places that they supposed to be. And so the year was that way was that was a joy compared Yes. So

Unknown Speaker 28:02
yeah. And I was you're lucky you didn't get caught because I remember one of my whenever I was there, one of the recruits got caught slapping one and he had to give it a proper burial.

Unknown Speaker 28:11
He had to had to build a box had to put in a box

Unknown Speaker 28:16
that he had to give it a foreign burial.

Unknown Speaker 28:19
I don't know how much you know about, you know, being being pumped public affairs on Parris Island. One of the jobs I had, you know, we escorted to civilian media course, we were writers and, and whatever, cover training and all but another thing we did was when some of the old timers would come to visit, we would you know, go around with them usually was like, I guess in particular, I had a Medal of Honor recipient that I escorted shortly after I got there, but the point is we would take them around and so we would always get regaled with stories well you know Vietnam era I think definitely World War Two era anyway one of the you know, rather than you know, building a box and giving a flea a burial would would be kindness compared to what they back then they had the smoking buckets and you get in trouble and they put a bucket over your head and make you smoke an entire pack of cigarettes. So some change in the Marine Corps some change is is positive but yeah, but yeah, but still that's Yeah, that's funny. You never know we were close to graduation. But yeah, I I did some dumb shit. I failed, landed. And when I came out of the woods, and then instructor told me during field week with the male instructor told me I had failed. I just I said oops. Huh, don't get to say, oops. I made it you know, and you're right. You're like, yeah, the CI whatever. Yeah, but she was. Yeah, she was grateful

Unknown Speaker 29:44
for my name. She probably remembers that act of kindness.

Unknown Speaker 29:47
Yeah, exactly. It's Sam please and chiggers are the two worst things ever.

Unknown Speaker 29:52
Oh, okay. Wait, sorry. I have one more and then you can you can go on so my boots didn't fit the ones that issued me boot camp didn't fit properly. So we went on this long hike and I got this horrific

Unknown Speaker 30:07
blister and it got infected whatever. So they sent me to

Unknown Speaker 30:11
sit call sick call. And there was some Macomb male recruits who came in and they've been somebody,

Unknown Speaker 30:18
you know, screwing around with them. Somebody's knocking at my door. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 30:24
Let me see. Having my landlord. Hold on. Gotta love it. Huh? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 30:48
Thank you. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 30:58
Sorry about that.

Unknown Speaker 31:00
That's why we don't have more. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 31:04
That's, that's what editing is for. So, you know, although I've had to, I've had to amend my habits. Because when I first started doing this, you know, I would go through and edit out every I'm in LA, and, you know, whatever. And, you know, some of these interviews go two hours. So it took me four hours. It's like, okay, no, this is not going to work. And so I will, I will click through and edit out stuff like that. But anyway, I had I need to finish the sitcom story. So anyway, so one of the core men had told these gave these these, the male recruits had crabs that they've gotten from the mattresses, and so the Navy Corpsman screwing with them and gave them a little sample cups and told them to go, you know, catch some of these crabs and put them in and of course, their recruits. They do what they're told to come back, and they have these sayings. And the core man was so disgusting. You know, I toss a thing across, it was like, well, you told him to do it. But anyway, so yeah, there's I hadn't thought about the shooting year. So anyway, all right. So Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:11
same here, a lot of it. I haven't even thought of neither. And it's just it's bringing back up some you know, good.

Unknown Speaker 32:18
PTSD, when we're done here, just from from the conversation.

Unknown Speaker 32:22
Yeah. So I ended up I got out out of boot camp. And it was it was one of the it was one of the greatest things because, for me, like I said, I haven't had structure and having, you know, learning the discipline. And like I said, My childhood wasn't the greatest, I was always compared to my older brother, right? Or I was told that I wasn't gonna be able to do it, I wasn't gonna be able to succeed, I wasn't gonna make it out of boot camp. And one of the first things that I did is I went back to Ohio. And it was the beginning of the school year, and I went in there wearing my frickin, you know, uniform. Yeah. And I prove to all four of the teachers that told me that I was not going to make it out of boot camp, right. And, and that's, that's where my drive and my ambition came from. I'm going to do it, I'm going to make it happen. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm going to whatever I set to, even if I don't succeed, I'm going to take it as far as I can improve that I can be able to do it.

Unknown Speaker 33:25
The only failure is quitting.

Unknown Speaker 33:27
Yeah, exactly. So I ended up you know, went back 10 days and at that point, you know, it's like okay, my family they still weren't were really they were never supportive, but they weren't you know, they they actually did come to my graduation, which was a kind of a miracle and a surprise and you know, my older brother he went to Marine Corps but he only got out he got out after three years he did not make it he got out but you know, was unable to handle military life. Right right. Yeah. Yeah. You know, like I said, you know, my family we'll get into that you know, how that plays out later on where that thing you know, that whole situation came on where I don't even associate with any of them.

Unknown Speaker 34:10
Oh, yeah, I'm with you. I'm

Unknown Speaker 34:15
I ended up getting up in Bangor, Washington. And while I was at Bangor, Washington, it was just like I said, it was raining constantly going on post in dry dock. You're always in a frickin you know, court. What was it we we ended up getting the jackets the kind of the core Ephram or not? No, no, the gore tex jackets. Right. So that that was basically my uniform up there was amies duty boat over gore tex jacket and pants because it rained like crazy grief.

Unknown Speaker 34:53
And I just got totally envious.

Unknown Speaker 34:57
I said you are truly amphibious?

Unknown Speaker 34:59
Yeah, literally. So

Unknown Speaker 35:05
it's bigger than famous. It drove him back to boot camp. I'm from the backwoods of Iowa. I don't swim.

Unknown Speaker 35:13
The way I thought it was city, city folk that didn't swim.

Unknown Speaker 35:17
No, no. So there's that whole philosophy of we throw you in you learn how to swim and everything else. But where I was at we had we had we called water stripping pits. It was old stripping areas where they strip for mining. But the poured water into the hole is filled up with fish. That's where we go. Right, I would jump off the creek and 2030 foot freakin higher, you know, high wall in the water and mind you from the deep end to the sure was 1520 feet. Right? Right. So I learned how to swim underwater. Right? I don't know how to swim on top of water.

Unknown Speaker 35:51
So that's where I was I actually lucked out because you know

Unknown Speaker 35:58
my I didn't swim. I'm like six months of age My mom is you have dumped me full lender and that stuff. So I got I got like through the second or third round of swim calls. You know, so that I actually you know, excelled in that area. So unfortunately don't really they don't have badges for swimming just yeah.

Unknown Speaker 36:18
Anyway. So I ended up whenever I first time I jumped off the 10 foot tower. I started swimming under the water. And I'm getting tugged up by the drill instructor Yeah. What are you doing? Like this recruit swimming, sir. Bullshit that's not swimming. That's you know, I don't know what that is. I'm like this recruit don't know how to swim on top of the water under the water. So I go over, I get fourth call swim. So Mind you, I'm on the Puget Sound where the water's coming in. I've got this subset come in, they decommission them all there's nothing else that so I'm like, Okay, if I fall I fall, you know, I mean, I'm like backstroke. And I know, barely. And I was up there. And I was just like, you know what, this is not what I signed up for. I'm like, Okay, I got it, forgot it, you know, I got it. This is not cutting it. And while I was up there, I got mixed into the wrong group of people I we were on post off post it was go out, get shit faced drunk, and come back the next morning PT smelling like alcohol go back to work. And this went on for like four or five months. And till we were actually pulled into the base commander's office, and we had our ashes rained, it was like, You know what, if I have one more complaint of alcohol smell behind you around you guys on my base, your staff NCO will be transferred to the worst place possible. And lot of y'all will use rank and you will be transferred out of here as well. It's not happening on his base. So that's whenever I'm like, Okay, I need to you know, it's I've had my fun I've had I've learned, you know, this is not where I need to be, I don't need to be, you know, I was still under age, you know, getting shit faced drunk. And you know, waking up in the mornings and smelling like alcohol and trying to PT and everything else. So they they introduced the

Unknown Speaker 38:17
responsibility for someone so young.

Unknown Speaker 38:20
Exactly. So they had this thing that came out with that, hey, here's an opportunity for you to have a chance to join the Olympic wrestling team. Right? I'm like, okay, I wrote it from my fifth grade all the way up into my junior year. Why not? So I went and tried for it. And when it came time for the tournament, I, there was three guys that I was practicing with. And one guy that came in from another area that was in my weight class. And the one guy that I always beat within the first three, you know, two to three minutes of the match because they were, you know, freestyle, five minute matches. Would I beat him Other times, so he took a cheap shot and took went and picked my ankle and threw a shorter my ankle and basically took my ankle out. And I was not able to finish the tournament. The grief. The next morning or the next evening, I was on I had post and I fell asleep on post Stephens to copy

Unknown Speaker 39:23
Oh,

Unknown Speaker 39:24
so I was

Unknown Speaker 39:27
I

Unknown Speaker 39:30
I was locked on. But yet I was also that one that, you know, if you're going to if you want respect, you're going to give respect. What I grew up. I was the same way. Yeah, absolutely. Man, instead of certain really didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things. And granted, I was a lance Corley at the time. And so I got busted down from Lance Corporal PFC. How? Yeah, that was not fun. At that time, you know, that was after I'd done the training in Virginia Beach and everything else because recruiting for us we do our training over Virginia Beach.

Unknown Speaker 40:06
I was I'm guessing that security forces is that how how large of an MLS is that?

Unknown Speaker 40:13
Honestly, compared to like, admin or something,

Unknown Speaker 40:16
security forces, I don't think started until mid 80s or later. I'm not sure. It's not really, you know, it's a lot of the embassy duties, right? Our security forces.

Unknown Speaker 40:29
The reason I ask is because the smaller MLS is like mine. Seemed sometimes too. Thanks. Seems like they you picked up right faster. And maybe I'm getting that backwards, but it just you know, so what I'm what I was getting at is I just wondered, you know, like, for instance, if you've been admin, or if you've been some of these other logistics roles, it was hard to get promoted. So you didn't want to get must. I mean, you never want to give us a down but anyway, so I just I was just curious, but

Unknown Speaker 40:57
well, you know, chesty puller, you know, a lot of them said it, you're not a real Marine, unless you're, you know,

Unknown Speaker 41:02
then you know, Lance Corporal, I love Honor recipient that I said, I interviewed. Pardon me, everybody, I'm eating a sandwich, I tend to forget to eat. And he forged his papers at age 14, at age 17. He was with a non deployable unit. This was during World War Two. So he went AWOL, and, or UAE, or whatever they call it, I don't remember. But too, because he had a cousin that was going to be on it on a ship on its way to Jima. And so that's what he did. And, you know, I asked him, I said, you know, how did you enter the Marine Corps? He says, I've been fighting for the Corps since I was eight years old. He said, I used to wear my uncle's di cover to school. And he says, Oh, you know, anyway, um, he said, and kids would try to knock it off, I'd beat the crap out of them. So I mean, same kind of thing. It's like he was he was a drunken brawler, but damned if the guy didn't get a medal of honor at 17 years of age. So yeah, there there. There's no prototypical marine. I mean, you there are some things that we have in common but but anyway, but but that's you, you can be you can be a brawler, and still survive.

Unknown Speaker 42:11
Oh, yeah, you can you know, and and for me, it wasn't wasn't as much of a brawler it was, well, you know, you got it. You know, if you want respect, you're going to you're going to earn it and respect is earned not given. Right. And, and, you know, and one of the things that the military in corporate America, you know, you respect their position, but you don't have to respect the person. Right?

Unknown Speaker 42:29
Well, you know, yeah, I've always been the you know, I guess I can follow rules. But just because I said, so isn't good enough for me. I know. It's like,

Unknown Speaker 42:38
Oh, yeah, I got it. So, you know, is as well as getting rank, you know, I got out, you know, I ended up I got out of boot camp, as a PFC. I did that whole, you know, if you get two people in type deal, you get an extra rank and stuff. And luckily, they did go in but one didn't make it out of boot camp. So I still got the credit cuz he made it to boot camp. I'm like, Thank You, Jesus. But, you know, so of course, I said training for security forces are Virginia Beach. in there, that's whenever I got you know, the you pick your pace, your space. And so I got stuck in Washington. But I was while I was Washington, like I said, I just got tired of the rain. It just, I'm like, it sucks. So I ended up doing this wrestling thing that didn't go through. And after I got busted down. I was talking, you know, I told it faster. I'm like, Look, I just this, this security forces thing is not cut out for me. Just I just can't do it. I'm not it's not. It's not fun. This is not what I expected a Marine Corps debate, you know, what do I got to do to get somewhere, go to another unit, whatever else. And at that time, he was like, Okay, we'll figure it out. What can we can do. So they sent me back, they sent me to the infantry. First time I was any infantry I trained to be infantry, I went to, you know, so I every was June, right. Before I went to Marine Corps security forces school. So this is, you know, I was it was mid 96. You know, whenever I was up there, so it was a whole year of my training, you know, there's infantry, and then security forces. So they sent me to alpha company, one, five. And I think it was the combination of the Staff Sergeant and you know, the Marine Corps of Yeah, will let you fuck with him. So they sent me to fourth to boat company, an alpha company, one fight, a fourth call swim.

Unknown Speaker 44:41
To boat company.

Unknown Speaker 44:44
speakers, one thing I have to say real quick, and this is a darn shame. Because when, of course, of course, I don't know, you know, what it was at the point. But when I went in, the first test you had to do was you had to toe you know, another marine full year and whatever, across the pool. And then they had to tell you that I told her across fine, she damn near drown me on the way back. But then I don't remember there was a second thing. And then the third thing if I remember correctly, in terms of Anyway, you probably would have excelled that but it's the thing that I ended up dropping at. Because you know, not only are you already tired, but the you jump off that, that 10 or 13 What do you weigh the high dive and the simulation is or what you're supposed to be is that you swim under you come up you clear the oil because it's an oil fire, you know, tank or you know, whatever, or not tanker but uh whatever. Anyway, it's there's an oil fire so you're swimming under you come up, you clear the water of the oil to get a breath go back down under so you if you would manage to get that far you might have excelled at that one. But anyway,

Unknown Speaker 45:53
yeah, no, I jumped off the tower made across did a couple of things side to side. And that was it. I was. Yeah, fairly.

Unknown Speaker 46:01
You do. I might surmise but you know, that there have recruits have died in that pool. Yeah. You know, just, you know, I mean, I mean, shit happens. I mean, it's,

Unknown Speaker 46:11
you know, they,

Unknown Speaker 46:12
they Yeah. You know, and at that point in time, you know, they there was that whole stigma of you know, color Marines could not swim in time we called them we were dark green and light green. Yeah, same for me. And you can't do that. Really, when they call them. Marines. They're just

Unknown Speaker 46:33
fair enough. But my, my, my senior drill instructor was black. And now she you know, according to her, you know, she came in and she because she she talked to the girls who didn't qualify, you know, what slim calls. And she, you know, she was sort of, you know, letting them know that she didn't qualify, either. So it wasn't, you know, because there's some things you're allowed to not pass. I mean, you know, or at least not your it's not, it's expected, because most most of us are not going to, you know, be in a position. And if you are, then you just you train more but

Unknown Speaker 47:06
anyway, so yeah, that's it. Okay. All right.

Unknown Speaker 47:08
Yeah. So, so they sent me to book company. Mm hmm. And it's like, Okay, fine. Whatever is I'm like, I can do that. I'm actually backstroke, and I have the, you know, if anything were to happen, trust me. I'm holding on for dear life.

Unknown Speaker 47:22
Right.

Unknown Speaker 47:22
Yep. So I get down, get down our company one, five. And I'm certainly I get there in April of was in April of 96. Main. I can't remember I know it was it was beginning of mid, like, right before summertime or 96. I get down to Pendleton. And that summer. Right before I left, we were we were set to go to Okinawa, Japan. Do our good old camp Hansen. ordeal go to Thailand, stuff like that. So I had done one of the you know, the things that most young typical Marines do is I met somebody at one of my, you know, locations when I was in Virginia Beach, hooked up with her broader outs, and she ended up moving out to Camp Pendleton right before I went to overseas. And it was in that mix the whole differently transitioning, I got married to her. And so I ended up

Unknown Speaker 48:25
getting down to Pendleton, she moved out.

Unknown Speaker 48:29
While I'm on deployment, Japan, going through the whole six month, the hurricane season and everything else. And while we're on ship going to Thailand, that's whenever I found out that my, you know, shoot Fred with my daughter.

Unknown Speaker 48:43
So I get back from

Unknown Speaker 48:47
deployment.

Unknown Speaker 48:49
And no, this was it was 9797. My bad 97 because I got back and it was 97 and a 98. Was it? Yeah, 90 798 is whenever I did a deployment. And then as soon as I get back, my daughter was born in November of 97. Like a couple months after I like a couple weeks after I got off a deployment.

Unknown Speaker 49:17
Then I end up

Unknown Speaker 49:20
within four months, in February of 98. I'm getting told that I've got orders along with 2024 other Marines that we're going to collect. We didn't know why we didn't have a clue. We didn't have nothing. I get over to Kuwait, and February 98. And we are providing we're doing I'm setting up a base, we basically took over an old gravity tank base. Now mind you, there was only three tanks that actually was operational out of the hundreds and some that were there. Right. But it was that whole aerial image that you know, there was more tanks. And

Unknown Speaker 49:57
I have a question. And when I was in Saudi, it was so common as to not even be comical anymore. When you know they have so much money that when they would you know a car would die or whatever they just be, you know, sitting on the side of the road, they just walk off and leave the Mercedes and get something else I guess. But anyway, did they do the same with the tanks to the Kuwaitis have tanks on sitting on the side of the road?

Unknown Speaker 50:18
No, they would bring them over to this facility. You know, there was a lot of decommissioned a lot of them were from the Gulf War, right? But already you could see in the holes in them and you know, of the tracks messed up and everything else. So we were there. And we set up base everything else and I don't know if you're familiar with who? General Bowden his

Unknown Speaker 50:39
name sounds familiar, but

Unknown Speaker 50:41
he is now the guy that's in charge of NASA. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 50:44
yeah, I am completely oblivious about most things popular now.

Unknown Speaker 50:50
I mean, you know, modern anyway, at that time, I was underneath him as john he was he was General boat, and he was my commanding officer when I was over there in Kuwait. I'm that typically I'm that that one? Like, point 1.2% of the military. I can literally say, I have been over to Kuwait. I have AJ Mk joint Meritorious Unit, you know, that shows that I was overseas, but I have no foreign service on my dd 214. Interesting.

Unknown Speaker 51:23
Why is that? Is that because of the time period or because of what you were doing? Or

Unknown Speaker 51:27
because what we were doing? Right, right. Um, I don't know if you recall back in 98, when they were trying to get the inspectors over into the Saddam's kept checking his weapons. Right. I was part of that security detail with those brothers get them over there. So that's one document that has sailed through headquarters Marine Corps that I have no foreign service. I got a j MCC.

Unknown Speaker 51:50
Yeah, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it? No. Well, you know, we say that and I don't know. I mean, it's again, I don't, I don't but when you know, when we were when I went, you know, I had a what? A South West Asia ribbon medals. Oh, no, it was national defense that they were graduating with. So you know, these kids who had never seen you know, I mean, they're walking off the prey deck with a national fence defense. So, yeah, so yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 52:20
yeah, who knows? It's an old time from I walked off with one it was like, okay, sure, whatever. But, um, so, I ended up, you know, got back in June of 98. And then, a couple months later, I was given the opportunity now, this is when they were

Unknown Speaker 52:40
they were they were talking about where to call go.

Unknown Speaker 52:46
Now, I can hear you.

Unknown Speaker 52:47
Okay. It was like What happened to

Unknown Speaker 52:49
you? Yeah, I can hear you your your case. We don't post Yeah. So okay.

Unknown Speaker 52:55
So um, that's whenever they were talking about be billets. I'm like, Okay, I'm 95 I'm on my third year, I need to get ready, you know, is your chance to hurry up and everything else I'm like, Alright, so I decided to go ahead and randomized and they were talking about doing range coach as a billet. And they're like, so you can go do the rain to be range coach. And hopefully, by the time you're there for your two years dance, you know, that you'll be able to be good get to be good to go. And sure, not a problem. So I get over there and start coaching recruits on the rifle. I was there in 9899. and ended up extending another year because I was one of the you know, high, you know, coaches with the high X ray rates and stuff like that to be able to educate and keep coaching recruits. And that's whenever they were trying to position in the crucible over to teach everybody how to train the new recruits on the crucible, revamped the field training area, and all that and everything. So I'm going through and it was the summer of 2000 that you know, My son was born and they were talking about you know, get okay getting things situated to transfer me out to another unit. And that's whenever the year extension came in. So came up june of 2001. And they gave me option here you go where you want to go this and everything else. I actually wanted to freakin go somewhere over in a foreign country. I did not want to go to Hawaii. I didn't want to go anywhere else. They're just like, send me somewhere. And I did not want to go to Japan. Like send me somewhere else, you know, other than Hawaii in Japan. They sent me accomplishment. Okay, fine, then they're done. Yeah. So I get station on the zone. I'm in the mix of transferring over. I get over there and I get a whole month of moving the family packing everything up, transferring the resume and getting things situated. So I get over there July 1 of 2001. No more than two weeks there. As soon as I get to my unit. I'm being told you're going to catch x in the middle of Texas combined arms exercise. Uh huh. out in 29. Palms California.

Unknown Speaker 55:26
Oh, no, the only thing worse would be Yuma Yuma

Unknown Speaker 55:32
the flight decks and you might have told get up 230 hundred 35 degrees. So but but yeah, yeah, no 29 palms would not definitely not be my first choice either. So

Unknown Speaker 55:42
don't mind you. I get just left California. Right. And now I'm coming back for 30 days of training. California.

Unknown Speaker 55:49
Right. Well, okay, I have a similar story. I want to share real quick so you know, I spent a good time probably a decade growing up in Indiana Indianapolis specifically. I went to boot camp at Parris Island now I was incredibly fit but I'm very very muscular. And so when I went in I was already over what they wanted for my my max and so I was a weight recruit all through boot camp. Well, that's telling a girl a very very fit and capable girl that she's fat and that does not work well. So anyway, I was a I had weight waivers the entire time I was in but I was a nervous freaking wreck anyway. So 13 weeks of being treated like crap because I'm a wait recruit. I leave I go I did 30 days recruiter duty. Come to find out my school my Denver's Defense Information school was in Indianapolis. So I'm right back was for Benjamin Harrison. Then when I filled out my dream sheet I said you know, Okinawa you will Cooney mainland Japan is like basically anywhere the fuck except here. I got orders back to Parris Island after 13 I cried if I was not very in the Marine like I cried but it turned out to be a great duty station and I have said recently that with Hero Harbor and everything else I said I can I can look back and see from the moment that I walked into the recruiter station how everything has you know led to this to this point everything you know that what what I did it you know and informed my entire you know, future after that so I'm not complaining But yeah, I got I got bounced around between places that I didn't want to go either. So you can you can imagine I was all hands and feet in the air when they came and asked for volunteers for Desert Storm. I'm like, Oh, hell yeah. Yeah, exactly. I'm familiar with that. balancing between Yeah. Anyway, keep going.

Unknown Speaker 57:43
Yeah. And that's that's like you know, so I know I was with I got stays with golf company to to. And so Okay, fine. We go over there. Now, this is where the controversial part comes in. This is run the time of 911. And so we all we're over there and cats and we already knew that. Okay. The day that we are leaving to go back to camp was June was September 11. We already knew this. We already you know was like okay, we're situated on sep tember nine. They are coming to us and telling us hey, we're leaving a day early. Make sure all your shows together. 07 hundred.

Unknown Speaker 58:26
We're forming up getting on the buses heading to the airport. Right?

Unknown Speaker 58:31
Okay. Sure. So September 10 2001, we're flying back to campus. Now, as anything in training is military is if you go into deployment or you go, you know, do a training evolution, the very next day back into work, you do as at that time they did marine Marines, you did not have to be in until 1300. Right information, you know, add formation to 1300. So you had the whole morning to recover this that whatever else. Now, at that time, I was a sergeant Marines. I still am not get promoted anything higher. I was there at I was going through the gate at about right around 830 in the morning. And it was I was literally going through the gates as the radio broke through the 911. All right.

Unknown Speaker 2:41
there was two cars in front of me there was another car behind me. And the car behind me was able to be light in and that's whenever the bass went on, shut down. Right. And that's whenever the second plane to they're talking about the second plane on the radio. And I'm we're all I'm screaming to the barracks and everybody is huddled around in the car room around the TV just watching this and all and it just unbelievable. And so, of course you know the order comes down, everybody gets to the armory, we go to the arm, everybody's locked him out and everybody has a weapon. We don't know what's happening. We know that the two planes that hit we no one had went down in the Pentagon. And then we found out about third one in Pennsylvania. We're like okay, and you know, we're right in the middle of it. We're right there. Basically, in between everything was shown. It's like, Oh, shit, we were on lockdown for four days.

Unknown Speaker 3:34
And

Unknown Speaker 3:35
it was anybody who doesn't know campus une is in North Carolina. So it's not far from Virginia and DC and all that stuff. So,

Unknown Speaker 3:43
yeah, it's right there in the middle of everything. And you know, so we're, you know, that that's that there is a you know, it's a memory you know, they said we always say never forget. And it's one thing we've always said the military, that's why we have Memorial Day, and things like that and those that are for us that basically paved the way but that one there being you know, weird so high risk that it could have it could have hit us It could have been in our area and being on standby you know knowing that your own country has just been attacked it's it's a gut wrenching feeling that you know it it's hit your your home. And so and it's the day that we got off of lockdown, I went home and I hug my kids is the first thing I did is I got my kids and I have them you know because there were many that didn't go home and get to go home and do that. And

Unknown Speaker 4:38
the other day I was in recently in the Miami VA and they have a huge flag and it has all the names of the firefighters the first responders that were lost and I can't remember how many but i i took pictures and post it to it but I just that I am we be in and chills and everything else in the entire time I walking through there I want I've never been to New York, I want to go to New York and visit the memorial stuff but i just i know it would I would I need to go with hydration because it's it would be very emotional. So I can't possibly imagine being right in the middle of it. So thank you for that. Regardless that you know that that just I know it had to be a hard time because you're already you know, you're already in service and patriotic and I just I can't you know, it just adds a different layer of things. But anyway,

Unknown Speaker 5:31
yeah, it does. And there were there was 343 fireplace and EMS that were

Unknown Speaker 5:36
that sounds right. I knew it was at number three, I just didn't know how many. So yeah.

Unknown Speaker 5:40
And that there. It was, you know, I've been I was up there, not whenever they finished it. But whenever showboating it, it was about 2006 I think it was I was doing training for a company and I was up there in Manhattan. But um, that there was kind of part of, you know, me when I got out of the Marine Corps, why I became a firefighter. I got out of the Marine Corps, and I was became a volunteer firefighter, and we'll go into that, you know, after bed, but that that was one of the things that kind of drove me because, you know, I'm already serving my country. And it's about, you know, serving others and serving, not just yourself, you know, what can I do when I get out and I became a volunteer firefighter for a short period of time. So, I'm going through this and everything's happening. Now, at that point in time, my ex wife

Unknown Speaker 6:33
was going through some health issues. Say,

Unknown Speaker 6:40
and, you know, I didn't think it was kind of her way to you know, that not getting me to go anywhere, not getting to do anything, right. Um, but as most Marines in my era, we did not complain, we did not quite things we pushed on. We went through the training hurt in pain, no matter what it was, we did it, we press forward and made it happen. So in, in the I think it was the beginning of 2002, we were training to get ready to go to Afghanistan. We were already moving away to order set, we were that summer, we were are getting ready to go to half game, seven mile hump easy. And I had already spent time in a sandbox. And I know what the culture is, like, I know what the areas like I'm sitting in the shade, and 141 degrees weather out there in the sun and shade. I'm being under the summer frickin you know, 98 and, and understanding the culture and knowing the the the risks that are out there, I knew I was going to go over there, I had a better opportunity than anybody in the unit to save lives because either the ones that were in the Gulf War in or out or there an admin positions, and stuff like that nobody directly where there was actually been there. I was like, here we go. It's my chance to break and do what I was trying to do. do my job. And let's get it happening. So seven mile hike, MMO hump going through. And about halfway through, I started receiving like shooting pain up my spine. hurtin legs were going on periodically. And I could see the five time we were 200 yards away from the five time and our platoon, when we decided that we're not taking the five times back, we're going to hop back, we're going to go to full 14 miles, and we're going to you know, we're going to train to go over there because we need to be prepared. Right? I literally collapsed. I was paralyzed from the waist down for eight and a half hours. Good God. here to find out I had two disc generated pinched nerve and both it displacement. So I ended up going through the light duty going through medical gone, you know, getting the cortisone shots, you know, they are the shots they gave me. And they said eight and a half hours later, I was able to freakin you know, get things taken care of. So they put me on my duty for a while and I'm just sitting there, pulling my frickin hair out. I'm like, what was left? What was there? I'm like, I gotta get back. I can't sit here, I can do this. I've got a job to do. So I get back to the unit. And they're telling me that you're not going your liability. You got an injury? And I'm like, No, I'm going, I've been there. I know what's happening. I know what we're going to do. I know what needs to be done. I'm going to go over there and save Marines lives. I'm not going to leave my Marines risking not coming back. Well, in the mix of everything, I said a few wrong choice words, the sergeant major that was there at the time transferred from supply to infantry. And you can see where this is going. Yes. Yeah, so my god, you know, like I said, My ex wife is going through some medical issues and this and that, and constantly taking a bit of time off in make sure the kids were in daycare and stuff like that.

Unknown Speaker 10:05
And I'm like, No, I'm going.

Unknown Speaker 10:09
If I gotta send the kids back to her folks, whatever's gonna happen, I'm going to go and he kept telling me I'm liability. I'm like, No, I'm not. I said, it's situation. We've all been through it we've pushed on and he was like, you're not going, I'm going to transfer you to another unit. And get you to you know, we'll see how it goes and see where you're at and get you you know, therapy or whatever. And I just wasn't having and I'm like, Okay, I'm sorry, that you transfer from supply to come over to inventory, so many of your career, and actually put something on your chest because you haven't done anything with your career yet. Because it's a complex and yeah, that didn't go right. So next day, I'm in there for inspection. And there's three Manila envelopes on his desk. He's like, you got two options. Either a I'm going to force you out medically and make your life a living hell and I'm going to NJPU from a surgeon down to win Lance Corporal and suspend for me once if you're paid, right? Or you can transfer to s3 take an early six months out honorable discharge, and I will be recommending you for an aria for without ever having a chance to reenlist. Right. I had two kids. Right? I took the early out got the honorable discharge. Right, right. So, you know, like I said, I was that I was at Marina, you know, it's like, Look, you're gonna you're gonna earn my respect. And I did the same thing. Any other, you know, the rifle range, there was a staff started wanting me to a kid. And I wouldn't do it. And he tried to come over and come and do my job. I grabbed this campaign covers, switch my pith helmet, put on his head, grab his campaign cover mind. And I walk center line. Yeah, no, I got my shoot out quite a few times.

Unknown Speaker 11:43
Yeah. But you know what the thing is that, and I mean, I haven't interviewed and I mean, you'd have to do a much larger sample. But I think that that. So I don't know if that's common among the rings period that we tend to be a little, you know, edgy. Or if it's, there's just some certain of us that, you know, are that way. So you know, I said I was 23 when I when I joined. I was I had a couple of years of college. So I graduated PFC. When I got to Parris Island, there was a Marine who was younger than I am at, like, 21 or so. But he was already a corporal, because, you know, he'd been in longer and anyway I get there to versus the old field. Film days before digital. And so the Marines it processed our film, we're upstairs and one day, I'm going, I'm going I'm coming back for having dropped some film off. And Nick, Lucy was his name, Corporal Lucy tries to hand me his stuff to take back up there. And I said, No, sorry. I'm doing some for Gunny which of course was alive, but there was no way I was going to let that lazy motherfucker, send me back up the stairs because he didn't want to do it. And, you know, so not. So I saw him in a number years ago, we met up and and I asked him, you want to know My first memory? And I? He said so in other words, your first memory of me is disobeying a direct order. I said, it's probably not the last time. But you know, the same time, I also worked hard. I worked I was in a I was in a shopping mall. It was almost entirely man and tire time I was there. And I was the one who was in the gym three times a day, I was the one who was dead lifting 315 four reps and who there was no question, if I was going to run a first class PFT and h&s battalion offered me the opportunity to go to jump school. So which I managed to screw that up to but the point is that I worked you know, you can you can say what you want about me, despite disobeying a stupid direct order, I also worked my ass off to be as good or better than, than every marine around me. So anyway, so again, it may just be some of us that are like that, but I think I think it's a special.

Unknown Speaker 13:59
I think there were some of us that are that are like that, not everybody, because, you know,

Unknown Speaker 14:04
everybody was like that, you know,

Unknown Speaker 14:05
I always got my ass kicked out. You know, I always had that mentality of you know, what? Respect it's Aaron not given. Right. And for me? I don't know, I probably could have gotten NGP numerous times, right? I didn't. But if they were a lieutenant, I very rarely saluted them. Right. I'm like, if you're not a captain, you have not been in there long enough to freakin even deserve a salute or respect of it. Because you went to college, read some frickin but and then you go through freakin you know, a little bit of training.

Unknown Speaker 14:37
Yeah, there is I know you're telling me there's some ridiculous irony in that that. Yeah, I have a degree therefore, I'm suddenly qualified.

Unknown Speaker 14:44
Yeah. So I always got my ass kicked out for not sure. And there was one Lieutenant that I that earned my respect very quickly. And he listened to the fact that you know, we have been here we know how to we know it requires and you don't? Will you be willing to listen to us and he listened us and he you know, here in the respect he was the lieutenant that I really had no problem saluting. But if they weren't a captain, they weren't, they didn't have as much time as my booty already did. Right. Right. Right. You know, when you hit that Captain mark your boots have last year? You're you're not you're not getting to that soft stage. Right. You know, so. And like I said, You know, I think it's just some of us that have that mentality of you know, what, I'm not going to take shit. But I'm also not going to give shit neither unless it's earned, right? But, um, so, and I'm going through and, you know, so now at this point, I'm like, Okay, I'll take the six months early out. And I it's that whole shoulda, coulda woulda, but I wouldn't change it for the world, because I made the decisions that I made. And it's gotten to where I'm at today. Um, you know, I could have easily, you know, stayed North Carolina and figured out what I was going to do or whatever else but you know, two kids, marriages not gonna great. I ended up moving back to Ohio was the head to whole mentality of, Okay, I've got kids, they need both parents try to do everything to make it work and this and everything else. So I go back to Ohio. And I did not want to be a cop. Because as infantry, you're either qualifications is a cop security guard. Right?

Unknown Speaker 16:28
To do the heart assassin job, you know, that really wouldn't got me fired. What about great pay?

Unknown Speaker 16:34
Or, and I said, doing a police officer thing just wasn't my gig. It just wasn't something to you know, to be out there. And so I jumped into the security companies, got a few unarmed and eventually work my way to do armed security. And then I, the ex wife started having some more medical issues, more problems and more spells, and this and everything else. So I was working to security jobs, and going to school full time trying to use my GI bill as a 20 something in going into college with a bunch of 1817 1943

Unknown Speaker 17:14
Yeah, no, I know, I know. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 17:17
I now have student loans that are doing me over my head, and I no longer have my GI bill because I just couldn't do it. I couldn't sit in that frickin classroom environment. And I can't sit behind a computer all day, every day to freakin do this. So I was just like, you know what, I'm not doing it. So, in the mix of that constantly in between jobs, taking my kids from one day care to, you know, back to, you know, family. I'm just like, you know what, I'm done. I can't do it anymore. So, I ended up you know, finally went to the situation, you know, where I walked out of the house. And I did the right thing I left my kids there. I separated. It was it was one of the hardest things for me to do. Because I couldn't always be there. I would get there, you know, at least every other day to see them how they were doing, I wouldn't go past the living room, I always stay where they were to this was December of oh three on to February it was for, yeah, December, both three to February before I left the kids there. And finally I'm just like, you know what, she's got to figure it out. So I got everything situated, get the bills out of my name, told her I called her and said, Hey, you need to get bills in your name, you need to go down to the county and get you know, 5% assistance or whatever else. But I'm no longer maintaining, you know, the bills, the house or anything else or whatever. And at that time, I was bouncing. I was working as a bouncer to the strip club and doing armed security positions. And she told me, she's like, you know what? You need, I don't want my thought I don't want these kids are your responsibility. You need to take care of the kids and me. I'm like, no. So the only thing you said, right is I got to take care of the kids. I don't have to take care of you. Right. And she said it again. She said, I don't want these kids to come get him. And I hung up the phone and I went over there and got him on February 2 2004. And lo and behold, I go in there. And it's you know, she's screaming and carrying on customers hearing us out the kids come downstairs. And as the kids come downstairs, she slaps me.

Unknown Speaker 19:35
She called the cops on herself. Wow. Exactly.

Unknown Speaker 19:42
So she called the cops in herself. The main reason that I press charges is the fact that she it wasn't the first time you know, but she did in front of my kids, and they were scared. And I'm like, you know what, I'm here to get my kids. I got my kids. And the house was just a mess. You know, there was no food in the fridge. You know, I was giving him money to get things for kids wasn't happening. Laundry was just not even being taken care of. My kids were malnourished,

Unknown Speaker 20:12
dirty diaper in the bathroom sink with a curling iron.

Unknown Speaker 20:16
The one of the doors the kids bedrooms did not even work properly. So it's like how could they even get in or you know, do anything there, you know, something was to happen. here to find out that she was doing video chats with people, you know, for new by the kids were in the background, I you know, and one of the things that I had learned when when with my years of computers is that there were at that time, and there still are that you can record everything that's going on. And I had set it up, because I was learning how to teach myself how to do web design. So I did that recording of what I did. And I would go back and watch things and went into the areas that I would do. So it recorded everything she did. And I was seeing video footage of her right online chatting with the kids in the back ground and everything else. And ultimately, that's what was able to get me focusing my kids at the ages of three and five. And it was it was it was a nightmare, you know, and started dating a woman, one of the women from the strip club. She helped me out with the kids. She had four kids herself. And I'm going through and finally get full custody. And then by I don't know how they felt it, you know? And and, you know, don't take no offense to this, but I'm sure you understand where I'm going when I say this is that the court systems is whenever there's a divorce situation, it's always in the favor of the woman. The women get most of the favor of custody visitations and this and that. And then us guys, we kind of get the short end of the stick. Right?

Unknown Speaker 21:49
Yeah, I can't speak to that. Because a Neither of my husband's and I had kids together. And we both both of them were amicable, the five married recovery the first time and we held hands walking in the courtroom. The You should have seen the look on the judges face. He's like, are you sure I can't help? You are like, no, we're friends. That's it anyway. So the second one is my partner. So it's like a butt. And the thing I've heard, you know, it's it's the whole thing is just it's one of those, you know, women who say, Oh, I can't get pregnant, but then do and men who, you know what, you know, I don't have any kids that I know of the idea that you could even it you know, it's just there's all it's the whole thing is we're in and and that's my judgment when I when I say that, because sometimes you really can't know. But the idea that men can walk away, I mean, my dad, he walked away from all his kids, that sort of thing. So it's just the whole it's a big mess. But yeah, I didn't go through I can't speak a whole lot to the whole court system, because I didn't go through any of that. But I have definitely heard that before.

Unknown Speaker 22:51
Yeah. So going through all the evidence that I had the video and then collect the pictures of the house when I picked up the kids and everything else. They still gave her for normal visitation every other weekend, one day during the week. And it's like my dad collected interviews. Yeah. So that's whenever I was like, You know what, I'm not trusting lawyers to save my life. I actually, you know, quit one of my jobs, and went to just working for the work as a bouncer. Because I was working at night. I had the daytime that I could get the kids situated between daycare school, you know, preschool stuff like that. And I set my ass and this whenever nothing was online, in a law library, looking up divorce cases, looking at custody cases, and everything else. And I represented myself in three court hearings. Wow. Be all three attorneys, the first attorney we were able to, I was able to get cut visitation reduced from normal every other week, every weekend, or every other weekend, one day during the week, down to 13 hours of visitation. Wow. No kidding. Yeah. So in the mix of the 13 hours of visitation she had got with somebody and my son started coming home with being abused his feet were you know, had bruises on him stuff like that. Kind of back to court got the visitation from 13 hours a week to supervised visitation. visitation center. Right. At this time, I had requested a mental health evaluation course they made me go through one which I'm thank God I passed.

Unknown Speaker 24:40
Yes, me up to bat.

Unknown Speaker 24:43
So, you know, go through that, you know, they, you know, going through her IQ was not the greatest yet, you know, proof of mental, you know, instability, where I didn't know that she was already depressed and my bipolar and all that and everything else. And to invest supervised visitation, and was no more than four months in, and the supervised visitation center is requesting a hearing to add in question her parents go. So we go in there. And of course, there's another attorney, and it was kind of hands down, the state kind of helped out because it was a state ran ship presentation center. And she was her visitation was revoked. Right, right. So she had to go do this, do that everything else, never once did it. And mind you, it's like, if you want to be with your kids, and you want to see your kids, you wouldn't do anything and everything you want to do, you know, you have to do. And it was a constant, you know, everything and it was just a sigh of relief to get my kids out of that situation. But it was therapy, there was you know, counseling, there was. And it was to the point to where my kids were eight and eight and 10 eight and 11 that I had to give them cell phones they could not go anywhere in public with their friends, they cannot get involved in any extracurricular activities without somebody calling the biological mother and getting them you know her showing up and causing a scene or causing a problem or program place department security offices everywhere they went in their room. Oh my gosh, you know, Children Services being called every six months on me saying that I'm doing it you know, you think you know unspeakable on thinkable things to my children. Right? And, you know, so it's just like, it's a havoc. And so going through that and I'm bouncing in getting jobs in corporate America, making sure I'm paying the bills, taking care of the family. You know, girlfriend at the time, got her out of the environment she was in, she was able to stay at home help take, you know, be with her kids with my kids. And, you know, I went to work doing out doing sales for a local salvage company, teach myself to do the web design. And going through this, and it was in the mix of this. I'm finding a little bit more out about my family. Um, you know, whenever you know, people are coming up to you and asking you about things and you know, you haven't seen in God's since you've been knee high to a grasshopper. You start wondering, why do I not remember what my childhood why not remember the things? I remember, you know, working on the farms, building things, working with my hands hunting and fishing with all these people. But physically inside the home? I don't remember. Yeah, it might

Unknown Speaker 27:41
be same way. It's incredibly sketchy. I mean, and I you know, it's like, I don't have no idea why. And you know, it's like, Yeah, I know, my I said, my business partners, my ex husband, he he very stable environment. I mean, he can tell you names of teachers. He's got an amazing brain, but he can tell you names of elementary school teachers and friends. I couldn't tell you what I mean, nothing. So yeah, that's, it's interesting. So anyway,

Unknown Speaker 28:06
I can you know, and, and part of me does not want to really know what happened to me. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 28:11
He said anything about me, it's like, I think it's probably just as well, but you don't remember. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker 28:15
that's why I'm taking it. So I'm going through this and then what you know, I'm start getting finding out, you know, an old babysitter, I connect with her. And, you know, different things, and it's everything else. So there's, there's one day that, you know, my parents are over at the house. And my daughter comes up to my girlfriend at the time. And she's like, you know, she called her mom. And they raised him. She raised me raise my kids, you know, and she was mom. And when she come my daughter comes up and says, Hey, Mom, where's the razors? That and as my daughter walks away, my dad says, Well, you know what that means? Should be shaving down below soon. Oh, my God. Yeah. And that's whenever as soon as I seen her turn the corner and shut the door. I looked at my dad. And I said, Get the fuck out of my house.

Unknown Speaker 29:05
Yeah, no doubt.

Unknown Speaker 29:06
I said you that was uncalled for a necessary

Unknown Speaker 29:11
and perfect, yeah, appropriate,

Unknown Speaker 29:13
and you're not walking to my house. And it's turned into an argument and everything else. And I said, Look, do not have to make me you know, get this physical recall the authorities walk out the door. They left. And that's when the babysitter that I connected with started talking a little bit more why she had stopped. And I was like, Okay, I figured out guy, you know, I was 10 years old. You know, I was like I was going out hunting and fishing with hooter and all them and everything else. And it's like, okay, I can be on my own. I didn't need one. Right. And I need to go. And

Unknown Speaker 29:53
so I ended up

Unknown Speaker 29:57
finding out that

Unknown Speaker 29:59
my dad had raped her and cornered her into the bathroom of one of the places. And there was, you know, situations to where he had, you know, attempting to molest her daughter.

Unknown Speaker 30:15
Yeah. And that's,

Unknown Speaker 30:20
that's whenever a lot of things, you know, started clicking into what, what is it? What is going on what is happening, and finding out that I had two uncles, and three cousins

Unknown Speaker 30:37
that were registered sex offenders.

Unknown Speaker 30:41
As well as finding out that a lot of things that stemmed from my grandfather, my grandfather had, you know, some, you know, things that were in his closet.

Unknown Speaker 30:55
And it was like, holy crap.

Unknown Speaker 30:58
So at around that same time period, one of one of those uncle's moved from New Hampshire down to Ohio. And this is whenever I, you know, I was like, cut my kids off from going over there and everything else. And found out that he did not register in Ohio. So in the midst of it, I contact the local authorities and I sent my you know, I sent them over to spice employment and have my uncle arrested. To within a matter of a couple months later, I'm sitting, I'm coming home from work, to my girlfriend, her daughter and one of her friends at the kitchen table, bawling their eyes out. And here to find out that the daughter's friend was molested by her mom's boyfriend. So when we're sitting there talking and going through and this and everything else, and she mentions the name of her mother. Mm hmm. And she said her boyfriend's name, first name, huh. I stood up, I walk I went outside and the porch was held up by a four by four post I went outside and punched the post and cracked it. Thank goodness I didn't break my hand. Girlfriend comes out spasm wondering this morning else. And I told her I said you got about 15 minutes to prepare that child, the authorities will be on their way. Then the her mom's boyfriend was my younger brother. Right? Oh, my.

Unknown Speaker 32:28
Yeah, 21 with a 12 year old.

Unknown Speaker 32:32
So in a Hicks's, I've, I'm a firm believer in choice. Everything we do, everything we are involved in, and everything that is around us is a choice. We can choose to be like our family, or we can choose not to be and I to this day, and very grateful tutor for mentor and me and being the one that whenever everybody said No, I wasn't going to my parents and say, know, that he took me in where I was going and kept me out of that environment, right away from that situation. And, you know, and he showed me that, you know, if it wasn't for the choices he helped me make, ultimately was my choice to make them to me in the right direction. He was a mentor to me, that I did not become what my family was, right.

Unknown Speaker 33:35
I I've written a self help book. And that's, that's one of the things that, you know, I talked about and in there, and of course, the whole thing is about choice. And it teaches, you know, it doesn't even matter but the one of the things I say is that, you know, it's it's almost so cliche, that you know, every everybody says I don't want to be like my parents and you know what one or both of them and yet, you know, grandfather, or in great grandparents to child to grandchild, it's the same thing over and over. And, and and you know, I said there was absolutely nothing truer in in my life than that statement. Now both of my parents very attractive, very intelligent, very talented, but broken as thought. And so I took the good, I took the the, the genetic blessings that I had. And I tried to make good with those and all of the other I said, keep it, I don't need it. And I you know, I took all of my, you know, my bad experiences and everything else. And I looked for ways to help others with them. So but yeah, you're right, it's absolutely a choice. And, you know, we say all the time, oh, I'm not going to do this. And I tell you the thing that makes me I don't even have words for it is this you know, this idea well, abused parents become abuse or abused children become a abuse parent abusing parent. And, and and just like, No, no, no, no, you know, what is wrong? And you have the choice to not do it. I you know, I would I was mentally physically abused from very early my mom, you know, just, she took out her frustration on mean, I didn't have any the sexual abuse, but she took out you know, and so very erratic, you know, it's like, you never knew what was coming next, that kind of thing. But there is no way in hell, I would have ever harmed my son ever. And I would beat the rip your arm off and beat the shit out of you. If you had tried it, you know it, there's no way and so it's absolute, you know, I protected him from you know, moment one. So it is a choice and and be of you are experiencing challenges or harm or anything like that. In no way means that you have to perpetrate on that on other people. So, yeah, I with you on that. So

Unknown Speaker 36:02
and you know, and it boils down to you know, like I said, Yeah, it's a choice. But it's a matter of action. You know, it's how you act upon it, and everything we do, and it's one of you know, things that we do you know, that I go by, it's it's matter of action. But for me, you know, and a lot of people is like, Well, you know, I didn't have a choice, no choice, you know, you did. But I can't say that I went unscathed. There were you know, like I said, we learned from those that teach us. And there were a lot of mistakes that I made with my kids and younger years. And even even though the years I never really showed my kids a lot of affection, right? I never really hugged them, I never really kissed on them. I never, you know, I was there. I was interactive. But anybody even even within adults I interact with now and even then, you know, I want arm hug people. Right? Right? Right, you know, hug them. And, and if we're doing any kind of photos, or whatever else, my hand is, right out of the way where you don't see my hand is rapping or you know, Pinterest, all those things that, you know, you don't want to you know, because of what I've been in, and you know, and going and what's going on and everything. But he said I've not, I've not want to unscathed. And my kids have suffered to a degree because of it. Because I never showed them the affection. I never, you know, gave them the hugs and kisses that, you know, a lot of kids do deserve because I never got it. I didn't know, you know, no. But I was always I made sure that I showed him that I was there. I was president and I loved them. And I was involved in things and everything else. So, you know, it's like that old thing and seeing that, you know, finding out that my younger brother was the one that this was his is now put me in a position of is I put my younger brother in jail. And I'm not ashamed of it. You know, I didn't see my folks. From the time that I kicked them out till the time that was in that court, that court case. I was standing on the steps whenever they were walking up the steps going to the courthouse. And they thought I was there for their support. And I made it clear to them. I'm like, No, I'm the one that is going to make that that started this process. And I'm going to make sure your due time. Wow. And needless to say he only did six months in a very minimum location to where I didn't have to, you know, get a lot of you know, this six months and get what he deserved. In other words, yeah, the mother, the grandmother didn't show up with the, with the girl to testify, they went off of base returning services records, and, but he's still registered as a sex offender. And it's, you know, and it's, it's a lot and a lot of times it's even beg the question me whenever my kids were younger, you know, being involved in, you know, our activities are preschools, or high school stuff, you know, always looked out for every child that was there and made sure if they needed something or there was a parent not involved to involve them in with my kids and activities. So it kind of meant, you know, I'm thankful for hooter, and Dutch and all these guys that raised me to, you know, to in, mentored me, as a youth, that's why I now and like, I consider myself as a mentor to the youth with the things that I do now. But, um, it's funny how, you know, going through this whole process and seeing and learning about what my family has. My last name is, you know, throughout a lot of places that pay, it's a choice, they, they decided to take what they were forced to learn, or they were taught to do, or they had witnessed their, their, the other family member doing and they take an activity into it and whatever else. That is six years ago, after, you know, everything went downhill with my last relationship. You know, we were together eight and a half years, and we raised my kids, she cheat on me with a 19 year old kid and decided to go in collusion with my kids biological mother, about six and a half years ago, and I feel like you know what, I can't, I can't put my kids through this can't do anything. You know, it's not fair. But I can make the change, I can make the choice. I packed up a four bedroom house on a quarter acre lot. Pain 650 a month for mortgage, packed it up in a storage unit took $4,000 to my name and packed my kids up on an airplane. And suitcases landed in San Diego, California with no job, no place to live no vehicle not knowing anybody.

Unknown Speaker 40:49
And took a risk

Unknown Speaker 40:53
to coming out here. And just hitting the ground running. Yeah, kept pushing to find the jobs. Now it learned taught me that, you know, back to what I learned whenever I went to the custody situation and the visitation situation. There are not very many resources for single that's it's tough. It's rough. I got here. Oh, yeah, we can we can find a place for you and your son, but your daughter would have to go in another location. Yeah, not happening. You know, she's not going to be away from me, you know, she's 15. And so ended up and like I said, just, I was determined, you know, I'm going to make it work. I'm gonna figure it out, even if I gotta find somehow to find a place to stay or whatever else. So I got here, I ran into somebody that I thought moved back to San Francisco, whenever I was stationed at company one, five, saw her said her name she turned and it had been one of the guys that had served with an alpha company, one five wife and got to talk with them. He didn't remember much. He had a stroke to heart attack had three strokes and heart attacks. And so his memory wasn't that great of you know, me or the service, stuff like that. And it was it was it was it was a good thing because I was able to help refresh his memory and get him into some things that you know, he was able to go through, but they willing to let us stay with them. I mean, my two kids are staying with them and their two kids and a small measly two bedroom apartment down here and Lakeside, California, and Lakeside compared a lot of places in California was right up my alley, I guess and I'm from the backwoods of Ohio. We got a rodeo grounds right here. Okay, so I'm like, we got the backwoods, we got the tractor trailers, we got the freakin dirt tracks, we got everything here. So I'm close to my environment. Right, right. So I get things situated and landed a job working at O'Reilly Auto Parts back in corporate America. I'm doing everything I can. And I'm sitting there, I'm, I'm pissing people off, because I'm leading by example, I'm doing a job. And I'm getting promoted and getting into positions full time before people had been there for years for me. And like I said, I've made mistakes with my kids, I've not, you know, I made the decision to come out here. And I involve them, but I didn't fully involved them. Because it was one of those situations, whenever I came out here that either I was going to jail, or my kids were going to be, you know, going to the states or I was going to be a free man and I was coming, you know, going to try to get my kids some kind of normalcy and not have the six months of constant Human Services and having the the last relationship, you know, teaming up with the biological mother and this and everything else, to where, you know, it's like, no, so I brought him out here they took all their friends away from him and everything else. So they could try to have a normal life experience things and see what else is out there and excel in whatever they want to do without the added drama, the chaos and this and that everything else. And, you know, so I did what I could get what I was able to do with them. And you know, my daughter, you know, I've got two great kids, my daughter's 21 now my son's 18. And, you know, I can't be more proud of them, you know, but my daughter was stuck in the past she was stuck in the depression she was stuck in this and everything else. And she she didn't pursue a lot of the avenues that she could have done and I she's she's talented singer, she can sing her ass off. I wish you would just get out from behind that fear. Ready is phenomenal photography. I you know, she's, she's got a lot she got to grow through and she got to learn to and recently she had moved back to Ohio, she got the XK Mac and contacted and you know so she's back there on higher with that situation and I can't when I can do I gotta do High School. I've got her through life I've got where I don't have any grandkids yet. Thank goodness for that one. Never been in trouble with the law. None of that. She's She's a phenomenal kid. And she gets it honestly from me. Like I said, I came I've done it. I've done a lot of things in risk. I moved out here. And so her deciding to take a one way ticket back to Ohio and take risk.

Unknown Speaker 45:25
Well, this right. And when she makes her decision, you know, whatever she decides about her mother, she'll have done it will be an informed decision. It won't be because you said so. Or she said that, you know, she will she will know she'll be able to decide is this the life for me and and either way she isn't, you know, like you said she's an adult now and you did everything you could so but yeah, she's and the thing is you probably well, at any rate, they Yeah, she'll she'll be fine. I like i said i'm sure you You gave her a good foundation the best you could say Oh,

Unknown Speaker 45:55
yeah, I like I said she's she's got a smart ass mouth. Like I got she gets. She's uh, she's freaking you know, like I said, I couldn't ask for a better daughter. You know, she's done great. She does things she she speaks her mind. She, you know, she looks in and you know, questions and she doesn't just take it with a grain of salt. She looks in and gets, you know, the answers and decides, you know, it's what I've always taught my kids you know, don't take whatever somebody tells you for friggin gold, look into it, research it, there's two sides to every story. And and that's one thing that I you know, with both my kids they've been able to, they don't want to do. And, you know, like I said, I've made the mistakes. I met somebody again out here, moved to Twentynine Palms got married, my kids didn't want to leave down here, you know, they had friends that got established. And that was me kind of, you know, relationship, doing things for me. And, you know, I made a mistake. But she had a stroke after having brain surgery, and she became a different person up and left. So it's like, I would the relationship was good. We didn't I didn't have any issues. But when somebody has a stroke, it does change them. Right. So I moved back down here, um, got divorced, and just got tired of, you know, yeah, it was, I was making enough money to survive. But I was there for every one of my kids events, I was there involved, you know, my daughter had choir going on, I was there, my son was heavily involved in a band, you know, I was there in his events, marching band, choir, you know, orchestra, you know, jazz band, and everything else, that working a full time job, just kind of, you know, limited me on some of the events, but I can go to some events and enjoy it too. Because, like I said, there's a lot of mistakes I made as a parent, there's no manual for us to be able to be parent. Right? Right. Right. There's, you know, nothing that sits there and tells you, somebody could sit there and say, hey, yeah, my kids done this, and this is how I dealt with it. Your kid is different than their kids. The same, and you learn as you go, and you're learning together. And up until about, around that time frame of that divorce. I was originally I was Mike, my kids will testify to it. You know, I was strict. I was stern. And I, you know, here's how you're gonna do it, this is what you're going to do. And this was done. And that's why

Unknown Speaker 48:29
I'm sorry, it's understandable, given the way you grew up, and everything else, and then their experience everything else, it just, you you just wanted the very best for them. And you, you know, you knew you were their best chance for that. So you really didn't have a whole lot of choice. It wasn't you, you no longer had the luxury of being a placating you know, easy to get along with you know, it, you know, just your take it as it comes kind of parent, you, you had to make sure that in what limited time you had them left, that, you know to raise that you you you put them on the straight and narrow. And so it really you can't beat yourself up too much about that. Because you this that's those, you know, that was the lot that you you drew and and you you had you again, you had to give them the best possible chance. So

Unknown Speaker 49:17
yeah, and that's where I say, you know, I didn't come unscathed from my childhood. You know, I didn't and, you know, listen, you know, my daughter, like I said, she she's doing good. She's working at it at a gym, she almost had a chance, she was only there for a couple months and then recommended for her to be picked, you know, apply for this system manager position, which is, I'm like, I did you know, I taught her something. I gave her the knowledge and she retained it. And she was able to do it. I'm so proud of her that she's in that position that she got considered for it. Granted, she didn't get it because somebody more qualified came in and had man Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But at the age of 21, working for a company for a couple months that they're saying, Hey, we want you to apply forces manager. That's a big deal. Right? And I couldn't be more proud of her, you know, and like I said, she's going through what she's going through, she's got to figure it out. And, you know, I like I said, I got my, you know, I can't, you know, praise her enough that she's doing, you know, I'm proud of her, as well, as you know, My son, like I said, we moved out here. He was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do. He didn't know what he wanted to do, except for ever since he was five years old. He was telling me I want to be a marine. I never forced that on my kids. I never told them they needed to join the military. I was like, yeah, we'll see what happens when you get there. So get him out here. And he decides that he wants to try to join the band try to play an instrument. I'm like, Sure. Okay, not a problem. So he goes into sixth grade, seventh grade year, yeah, seventh grade, eighth grade year, one of those two years. And he decides he wants to learn how to play the trumpet. Okay, good ago. Um, I do. I tried playing the trombone whenever I was in sixth grade. Didn't happen wasn't my forte. I was a wrestler. Okay. So he learned play the trumpet, and gets into high school. And it just turns out to where that's where his niches is, is loving music, playing the trumpet. He goes through not only being in the marching band to being in the orchestra to be in jazz band, to couple years, you know, down junior year being in the honor band, van, and, you know, choir, and then his girlfriend sin the Color Guard, which then sucks him into the color guard for a senior year. And then she's in the color guard. So this is where me being a mentor to the youth got more in tension more, you know, where I was doing more and making involvement in in kids, because I seen going to the events. There were kids that parents weren't there. Right, right. tyranny, the activities. There were kids that weren't parents that were not there involved. Right. And last year, my son graduated, this year, his girlfriend graduated. And I told myself that I'm done. Right out, I'm stepping away, I'm going to be right. And yeah, there's about seven or eight kids that are like you coming back next year, we really want to see me graduate. And I'm like, so I made an impact, you know, on enough to where, you know, I said, Mike, my kids are doing the right decisions that I've made influencing other kids. Like I said, My son couldn't get in the Marine Corps. Because his eyesight was bad. He's got to die stigmatism, and not eyesight. So, Plan B go to college, get his degree, because

Unknown Speaker 52:45
I was hoping you were going to tell me that he was now part of the President's own. And I was like,

Unknown Speaker 52:49
Oh, I wish I wish he would have been he was he was going to shoot for you know, coming out here to MCRD ban and then try to shoot up. But um, he couldn't get him.

Unknown Speaker 53:00
Does he still play?

Unknown Speaker 53:01
Yeah, he still plays. He's going to school for it. He actually just got accepted a couple months ago into an independent drum and Bugle Corps. Oh, yeah. So he got accepted into that out of 200. Some applicants, they've narrowed the brass section down to 80. So he's, he made the cut.

Unknown Speaker 53:19
This is me always thinking far in advance. But we're doing I told you before we get going on this that we are we're doing HH is doing their first test fundraising event on August 3, you know, sometime after that, we're going to do a much bigger one. But you know, at some point, we're going to be doing an end the people that I just partnered with have, they have property all over the country, some of which is in San Francisco and other places. And so my thought is this, as soon as I know that we're doing an event out there, I would love your son to come play for us. I think that would just be amazing. So

Unknown Speaker 53:54
Oh, yeah, he would he would love to have that opportunity. Because Oh, yeah, the music industry is in. He's graduated, you know, he's been at a high school year now. And granted, he couldn't get in the Marine Corps. But getting involved in this drum and Bugle Corps. He's going to be traveling between the he's gonna be at the Rose Bowl Stadium. He's going to be in Denver, Utah, all you know, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, you know, he's going to be a planet Coldfield all these places where, if you're familiar with anything in marching band, where there's high school, halftime shows or college halftime shows, take that times 10 on crack. Right, right. Right. They are doing a halftime show that they are doing competitions against other schools doing halftime shows. And they are they're going and going and everything else. And it's it's like a military unit, because they don't put up with excuses. They don't put up with anything, and they are there. On the weekends, they go from eight to eight, with an hour lunch, Saturday and Sunday. Next week, he's where this weekend, they start all days, which is two weeks of eight to 88888 for two weeks straight, just working on the drill, the moving is everything else. So it's an intense, you know, ordeal. And in the midst of this, there's a show that's coming out on HBO that airs Sunday it's called euphoria. It's a high school, run a high school age kids, you know, doing things and learning through you know, in drugs and relationships, stuff like that. He was actually able to be got accepted and whenever they send an email looking for casting calls, and headshot and resume where he is in the final episode, in a marching band scene where they brought in people they did marching, where he's, you know, they're up there. He's in the final episode. He knows the episode.

Unknown Speaker 55:55
Right, right. No, that's awesome. So okay, so if you don't mind, let's, let's jump over here kids for just a little bit, we can circle back but I want to, I want to know, I know you have a couple of businesses and and just all kind of your own pursuits, which is in part, you know, the, the, again, you mentioned earlier leading by example. And and that's, you know, that's no doubt that success that your children have had has been because of you leading by example. So I didn't mention when we first started this about Kamikaze Woodworks, and you have some amazingly beautiful work. And I noticed because when I was going through today, liking all your stuff, the I noticed the you had you were doing power cord. Watch bands, and you're wearing one of those, right? Yes. I saw that. Yeah, we we want to do a fancy or we want to do a we want to get someone to design a an armband for you know, that is unique to heroes, you kind of like the the live strong, but much, much nicer. And we had talked about power cord and and dog tags. Now there's tons of those out there. But anyway, we want to do something like that. But anyway, but if you would do me a favor and then talk about Kamikaze and anything else that you're doing right now.

Unknown Speaker 57:10
So that's that's where I was going with the kids and everything else. Sorry. Okay. Oh, no, you're good, good, good. You know, so going through and in being involved in each you know, the situation, the kids and everything else and seeing you know, that I love my kids to death, I'm proud of my kids, I would go to the ends of the earth and I do anything. I decided to I know it's a struggle, I know it's going to be it's going to be a stretch. But I'm just tired of working in corporate America. April of 2017 I just I was at O'Reilly auto parts for four and a half years and I just got tired of being treated like a number and going there and making my time for them. And sometimes I wasn't able to be at all my kids events and this and that and be there for whatever the kids needed me. Yeah, I was able to put through under the table, you know, on a regular basis, and make sure all the bills were paid on time. But due to my upbringing, I've always had a passion for doing things with my hands doing things working on things. And you know, so I'm like I we're going to we're going to try to do this you know, I know I have a wide spectrum wide knowledge of woodworking that I don't have just one niche like most people do, I can do traditional joinery I can do hoes and screws and nails and joinery and in this everything else and I can build you a cutting board. I can go to a coin rack display. I can build you a coffee table. I can build you a kitchen table conference table. I can build you cabinets, which I hate because they're redundant. But so I'm like, okay, so April I decided to change jobs from working at O'Reilly auto parts. I found an outside sales job that was supposed to be Monday through Friday. I cashed out my 401k went and spend $3,000 on woodworking tools off of Craigslist and shove them in my 10 by 10. Easy up under my 14 by 12 backyard of my two bedroom apartment. Yeah. So you mean you talking about tight spaces and trying to build some stuff in a 10 by 10 easy. Ain't very easy whenever you got a table solid drill.

Unknown Speaker 2:41
I love my kids to death, I'm proud of my kids, I would go to the ends of the earth and I do anything I decided to I know it's a struggle I know it's gonna be it's gonna be a stretch. But I'm just tired of working in corporate America. April of 2017 just I was at O'Reilly auto parts for four and a half years and I just got tired of being treated like a number and going there and making my time for them. And sometimes I wasn't able to be at all my kids events and this and that and be there for whatever the kids needed me. Yeah, I was able to put food on the table, you know, on a regular basis and make sure all the bills were paid on time. But due to my upbringing, I've always had a passion for doing things with my hands, building things working on things. And you know, so I'm like I we're going to we're going to try to do this you know, I know I have a wide spectrum wide knowledge of woodworking that I don't have just one niche like most people do. I can do traditional joinery I can do hoes and screws and nails and joinery and in this and everything else and I can build you a cutting board. I can go to a coin rack display. I can go to a coffee table, I can build you a kitchen kitchen conference table, I can build you cabinets, which I hate because they're redundant. But so I'm like, okay, so April, I decided to change jobs from working at O'Reilly auto parts. I found an outside sales job that was supposed to be Monday through Friday. And I cashed out my 401k went and spend $3,000 on woodworking tools off of Craigslist and shove them in my 10 by 10. Easy up under my 14 by 12 backyard of my two bedroom apartment. Yeah. So you mean you talking about tight spaces and trying to build some stuff in a 10 by 10 easy. Ain't very easy. Whenever you got a table saw drill press band saw wood lathe and not only

Unknown Speaker 4:46
not easy doesn't sound very safe. Not OSHA approved

Unknown Speaker 4:51
no one.

Unknown Speaker 4:55
So I started doing you know, the part time you know kind of real honing my skills because I really, I've been out of it for years because I've been stuck in corporate America. And I was stuck into that mentality of this is what I gotta do to survive this what I gotta do to pay the bills and you know it finally him and my kids are older. They're going to be figuring things out and and I'm also got to look at it me what's gonna, what am I going to do that I'm going to enjoy? And now I'm like, No, everybody, we've lost the trades in school. That that's the mentality that we've gotten to for everybody. Nobody has the ambition to what do I want to do to make me happy? What do I want to try? So I decided, you know, get my skills up. In the summer, the end of the summer year of 2017, they have a concert at the high school called pops, where they highlight different you know, the band and color guard and this and that and everything else. I'm to the color guard. You know, this time I started was dating the color guard and captain and I had helped out building the props for the field season. So they knew I was the guy that could build stuff. So they wanted me to go to prom. So I ended up making a frame out of plywood and printed out some images instead of doing the large elaborate routing them out and making these extravagant thing that only going to be used once. And who's going to need a six foot picture frame to resell. I don't know. So I'm going to make an IT STARTED coloring with markers. They bled didn't work, right. So I switched over to crayons. And at this time, you know, I'm still trying to brand the business trying to figure out do I want to do it as a business do I not want to do it as a business. So I started coloring out with crayons, put a crown on my mouth started rolling on it when I was using another one. And it kind of reflected back to whenever I first started doing the woodworking practice I'm late, I actually spun out a 21 inch wooden crayon. And my whole theory was I was going to try to start putting colored pencils together spinning in building projects on a colored pencils and epoxy. And that got to be too expensive. You know, startup, right, so the original name of the company was going to be Kamikaze colors USA where I do colored pencils, crayons and everything else. And the only reason for that was is that as a Marine, I got out no two. I was not caught a crown here. Right? No, never heard of it while I was in when I got out it was double dog jar head for grind ground pounder. So that I'm like, so when I moved out here is when I started hearing more of the crown eater Marines are planning. Does that mean? Well, I'm not really sure I'm kind of taking a guess. This one,

Unknown Speaker 8:01
I will query Urban Dictionary when we're done here, but actually you keep doing actually I can actually do that over talking. Go. But go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 8:09
So if you're doing you know, research it was it started, I'm guessing around 2011 2012 that they started calling Marines crowd eaters. It kind of steers back to when we were younger, the kid that did the weird, crazy outlandish stuff, either. paint chips, right? Yeah, yeah, they started calling Marines creators. So I'm like, okay, so I can I can run a spin off of this, I can spin the wooden crayons. You know, I can spend the frickin, you know, colored pencils and stuff like that. So I was like, I, so I was honing my skills. Right? And then I decided, you know, well, this is not going to be what I want to do this is you know, I want to do I want to highlight everything that I know everything that I know how to do, right? So I decided to branded company as Kamikaze wood works, and that's works with WERKS. Now, there's a lot of factors into the naming of it. One. I was born on February 23. Anybody knows anything in history? February 23 is the you know, infamous day of the flag raising of evil Jima. So me personally, that's why I'm saying I was deemed to be a marine. Right.

Unknown Speaker 9:26
That's my claim. And I'm sticking to it. It gave me chills. I'm, it works for me.

Unknown Speaker 9:30
Yeah. So in the mix of it, of course. You know, I ended up the day that I was on the plane heading to Parris Island, South Carolina, was June six.

Unknown Speaker 9:43
Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 9:45
June six is d day.

Unknown Speaker 9:48
So hence Kamikaze comes in because we're crazy. We're weird and they're

Unknown Speaker 9:54
pretty crazy. That's what I always say a special kind of crazy

Unknown Speaker 9:57
so that's where the Kamikaze comes into

Unknown Speaker 10:01
the day that I got out of the Marine Corps

Unknown Speaker 10:05
was December 7

Unknown Speaker 10:09
the bombing of Pearl Harbor that yeah this I implement Yeah. So you see there's like these days in history for me that was only you know, I got an A the Kamikaze

Unknown Speaker 10:21
All right, I need to share something with you really quickly because you know, and again so much of this you know, we see in retrospect and so on so forth. And then I've shared this story before and at some point soon one of the things we're going to be doing is putting together a formal story of mine with all my pictures and all that stuff that the story of Hero Harbor and you know and at all but so I have to I have two software products one of them is came about after my business partner after my ex and I we got divorced I started in the dating apps I started seeing what I fucking nightmare that was and I you know, I'm I'm a I'm a life coach I'm a writer I'm all those things communication is my thing. So I started with the concept of you know, a more improved safer all that you know, dating app and fast forward doesn't really make that big a difference at some point I had talked I talked Tony my partner into what it wasn't so much I talked him into it I just been telling him all this stuff and he never been on dating app in his life. And I've been you know, telling about stuff and showing the screenshots and just knowing what nightmare was so he decided he was gonna help me build it. We are in we are at that time back living under the same roof. Again, we're renovating the house that we had had together, and we put we put it on the market to sell and we get an offer. The offer we we listed for 175 this offer was for one at one but several, you know, a few thousand three or four to closing. It fell through because people didn't have they had a lien that they weren't aware, of course, everybody is traumatized. We're like, Oh my God, we gotta do this shit all over again, you know, ushering three dogs out of the house when people look at you just a nightmare, however, and again, we are a dating app at this point, or we don't even have a product at this point. It's still all conceptualized but, and certainly nothing in mind. As far as veteran focus Hero focus not none of that was on the horizon. I wasn't aware of the suicide rate at that point, I was, you know, unaware. And at any rate, we get, we thought we get another offer. That offer is 10 grand over asking nothing toward closing. So a much better offer. And it closes on November 10. Marine account knowing what November 10 is Marine Corps birthday, it's also the day before Veterans Day. So because we knew we would have the money, I love that you laughed because you just got it immediately. So the we since we knew we're going to have the money that night, we went ahead and incorporated my first company on the Marine Corps birthday. Fast forward, not even a year. Yeah, because it was October on that was November 10 2017. And October of 2018. I woke up one day and realized because at one point with the dating app, we were trying to be all things to all people and it just was not working. And so I woke up and said and again. I was back living with him for a short period of time and his duplex, my lease had run out he was about anyway, so the short period and I woke up and I told him I said you know what? I went and dragged his his, you know, we are I'm a morning person, he's not driving this but out of bed. I said, You know what, we need to go back to this one being strictly a dating app. And I said, We need a nonprofit that's focused specifically on heroes. So again, not even a year later, now we have a separate product, which is Hero Harbor and and specifically geared at so yeah, I'm with you on the date things. It's like you didn't plan it, you weren't but and it just it's it's really magical the way that happens and, and and and again, these relationships, you know, the meeting of these people and meeting the right people at the right time, not saying that you don't meet a bunch of wrong people, but things happen the way they're supposed to. So yeah, I know, it's a long protracted story, but I just I had to share it because I knew you'd appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker 14:12
Exactly. It's not about the dates. And you know, so it mixed up a lot of this, you know, the name of it, you know, I kind of got help it help getting the initial name of it. And whenever I was speaking with a buddy of mine out of Texas, his name's Jimmy Compton, he's a his owner of the proper gentlemen. He does leather working, phenomenal leather worker, you know, amazing guy, you know, just do it. I'm a master at his craft. And he's an army veteran. And, you know, we were talking different things and collaborate, we met through social media. And I was not really involved in the veteran community. I, for many years through that whole process that I explained earlier. I got away from veterans community, I stepped away from it, I backed out of it, I got you know, and so I was starting, you know, social media, trying to, you know, figure things out and get things situated. So in the midst of, you know, the dates and expansion, everything else, you know, he came up with the Kamikaze. And we came up with the colors USA because of the idea of the colored pencils in this everything else. So when I decided to change the name was around the time that I was working, you know, decided to figure out, Okay, I want to take this as a business, I don't want to work for somebody else, right? forever. So I decided to reevaluate it as Kamikaze would works. Because I have the knowledge of making anything and everything out of wood. Now, the way I spelt the works, is for two factors WERKS us rednecks, we do not know how to spell runners are grammatically correct for any, right. But ultimately, in order for me to be able to build a project, or maybe be able to work with some buddy, bring their vision to light, it takes we we work together and be able to bring this to life. Right? So that's why it's named that way.

Unknown Speaker 16:13
I love the cerebral nature. And you know, what is so for me that, you know, you talked to the very beginning about the low as fab and, and and so on. So things and yet, you are very, very detail oriented. You know, I know I was the opposite. I had the I had the stupidly high as fab, but I had no freaking formal education, or not crap. But um, and it took me four months to get it through through a two months school because while I was a talented storyteller, I must have been attacked by a comma somewhere in my life, because I am terrified of them. So my it's it's very Yeah, when I went to record my book for audio, it was very clear. It's like crap, I'm supposed to be pausing there. But there's no comma anyway. But the point is, your score wasn't that high, but yet you're so cerebral and thoughtful about and I love that, because that's something that frustrates me is, you hear these names of these companies? It's like, seriously, you couldn't get more creative than that. And so yes, there was so much thought that went into every little detail of everything we've done both for my first company and for this one. And I just I love I love that you're just a contradiction, and I love it. It's awesome.

Unknown Speaker 17:23
Yeah, exactly. And it's a sunset, you know? Yeah. Like me from a town of 951. People can actually, you know, be where I'm at today, right? No, no, I'm not rich. I don't make a lot of money. My bills are. Yeah, but you know, so the name of it, you know, everything that has meaning. And just like with me, with my tattoos, every tattoo that I have has meaning with it. So it's fitting that the name has to have the meaning behind everything. So in the mix it is I'm doing the branding, and then I'm working on that color guard project. And that's where I'm like, I have the crown of my mother surgeon all in on it. And it's like, it hit me is there truly an actual edible crayon? So I spent some time doing some research, spend three months looking researching. here to find out there was a company in Singapore that listed chocolate crayons. But their description was that they took out sugar in the sentence taste of chocolate, to deter children from eating No. No, exactly. That's my thought in my look, like, no sense to try to edit. Right? Like you're insane. So now, as the weird, crazy individuals that we have become to be as Marines, we embrace a lot of the things that we have been named that we do and the training that we've been involved into, we embrace it. And we can go anywhere in interact with anybody in the military, especially Marines.

Unknown Speaker 19:01
We are our own kind of special,

Unknown Speaker 19:03
right. I love it myself. Because I say why should everybody else have all the fun? You know?

Unknown Speaker 19:07
Yeah. So in the mix of this, and that's, you know, brought me back to a team member that I worked with it a Riley, I know nothing about chocolate. I have no clue. I never had a desire to be making chocolate, right? Nothing that I was like, Okay, here we go. I like hating it. So, one day, whenever I was working at O'Reilly auto parts, one of the team members brings in these peanut butter, chocolate truffles better than Rishi cup, by far the best that I've ever had. And she made them. She actually went to school for several more like two semesters to be a pastry chef, and was not able to finish because work and life and, you know, she had she was able to finish school. And I remember that I had that the mental Rolodex. And then she you know, I called her I'm like, Hey, this is September of 2017, beginning of September. And I'm like, I need you to figure out how to make chocolate, right? She's like, why? Like, I got an idea. Can you do it? I don't know. We never covered that. Whenever we went to school. I'm like, Okay, let me know when you figure it out.

Unknown Speaker 20:23
So I'm going to pause you there for saying I have drank so much water. I'm going to run a p

Unknown Speaker 21:13
Okay, I'm good for another couple hours.

Unknown Speaker 21:19
She's figuring out how to make chocolate crayons.

Unknown Speaker 21:22
Yeah, she's triggered How to Make Chocolate right?

Unknown Speaker 21:25
So on sep tember 12th She is sending me a video that she figured how to make chocolate, right? Oh my gosh. It was like, All right. Here we go. We're going to make chocolate Kremlin's. So we're trying to figure this out. And at that point, it was like, Okay, what are we going to name it? What are we going to name it? We're going to name it. So I'm like, sinner damn honest. And I'm like this one here. I'm like, I got no inkling. No, nothing. Crown eater does not sound. I mean, it's like, I'm like, What do I gotta do? What How do I do this? What do I do? What do I What do I put this out it? So I was talking with another guy. guy named john. He's just, you know, is this civilian, but he supports military. He's a weird guy. He likes throwing knives and stuff like that. And I told him, You know, I was like, Hey, you know, I got this, you know, working on we were talking different things woodworking, and he's talking about his, you know, stuff that he's into. I just recently met him. And I was talking about it. And he was like, you're in the military. guys eat meals ready to eat? Want you to call them crowns ready? Right?

Unknown Speaker 22:42
That's awesome.

Unknown Speaker 22:45
Okay,

Unknown Speaker 22:45
so john, help come up with the name of cranz. Right? Not myself. Um, so it's like, I it's becoming friends already. So now I'm like, Okay, here we go. We got something to go with this. And so on. Through the whole next year. We're periodically, you know, tinkering. You know, she's working full time. And Ryan is I'm trying to get my woodworking business going. I transition from the 10 by 10, easy up backyard to a friend's backyard to start getting things situated. Having much larger space to do larger projects, and things like that. I then come across Robin Nolan, who is a nurse for hire her, you know, she's a nurse, Robin. And I came across her I can't remember where it was initially, but as the beginning of 2018. And she invited me out to an event called vet together. That together is spearheaded by her and Wayne Wilson, where they hold events at different locations just to bring veterans together, get veterans together to talk, socialize, hanging out and enjoying things. I had never had a desire to be back involved in a vendor community, right?

Unknown Speaker 24:11
So

Unknown Speaker 24:13
she gave me that nudge, to get me back into the veteran community.

Unknown Speaker 24:20
And one of our while I was at that event was April of 2008 18. That's whenever I had the epiphany that I need to do what I love to do, I need to do what is important to me, what is passionate to me. So I quit my job, quit my job, no clients, nothing built up, not anything, and decided to do the woodworking full time, was able to get it off

Unknown Speaker 24:50
the cliff and build the plane on the way down.

Unknown Speaker 24:52
Exactly. You know, so I've made some mistakes, you know, there's been some situations to where, you know, some relationships, people did not work out. Some bridges had been burned,

Unknown Speaker 25:04
you know, I made a mistake. And that is part of it is part of it, it just is you have to believe in so strongly that that you just keep rolling, it doesn't matter.

Unknown Speaker 25:12
Yeah, you know, there's been some mistakes, there's been some, you know, some bridges have been burned with some things. But it's an issue of the base. And if you don't learn from them, you know, if you don't learn from those barriers, you're not going to succeed.

Unknown Speaker 25:25
And as you've already figured out and things that I've talked about, they just it works out, you may not see it, and maybe a hindsight 2020 thing, but it works out the people who are supposed to be they show up like that I was not looking for this person that you know, this, this, this collaboration that I just, you know, happened into, but part of it is being open to things to you know, you like you said that, you know, you're talking about the Rolodex and and you just, you know, with me, when these people reached out to me, the you know, I just assumed I'd be grinding away forever. And you know, we, whatever, you know, I said I remember I go over, around or through but that mountain is getting out of my way. But you know, when what happened when these when these folks approached me through social media, and my car, I thought that my truck was repo now we're thinking that maybe it was stolen. But since like I was in Miami and couldn't fucking speak to anybody, because I didn't see, I have no idea. You know, I haven't gotten any notices. Notice from the from the company that said it was repurposed. Anyway, point is I don't have a vehicle. So these people reached out to me, they said, Can you meet us an hour from where you're at? I went and I said, Yeah, not really knowing what it what they needed, or what they wanted, rented a car went to see him. And it is I mean, it's just, it's going to change absolutely the course of things. And so there was I wasn't looking for that I couldn't have expected I couldn't seen it, it wasn't anybody that I was pitching or anything else. And yet, it is the most amazing thing. So it's a combination of, you know, just always pushing always, you know, and being open to that path. You know, whatever it is. So it's, it's some of that as a marine thing, a lot of these guys that I've interviewed are all entrepreneur, they all have their own thing. And they have similar paths to ours in the sense that, you know, unemployable, it's, you know, for you you are you are making it, but you're miserable. And I've said this to, I'm not going into everything that you know, is going to come out with this collaboration. But I'll tell you that it is so freaking exciting. But one of the things that we've talked about is that, you know, it's, there are so many organizations that are out to help veterans and heroes find jobs. But a job isn't what they necessarily needs for some maybe, but not what we really need is a purpose. Now you can have a job and have a separate purpose. Or you can have, you know, for us that that's all the same thing. But the point is, it's not enough for them just to be earning a paycheck. A lot of times you need to be fulfilled, you need to be giving back. Because we tend to be protectors, we tend to be servers, we tend to be givers of some form or fashion. And so if it's, that's why, you know, HH is going to succeed, because we understand that we understand the community, we're part of it, we understand that it's not we're just a different breed and not better, not worse, just different and we have to act and be treated differently. You know, so anyway, all right, keep going. You but your story is just so you know. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 28:24
And in a lot of it, you know, and like I said, you know, I've made some mistakes, I've made some, you know, some issues, I burned some bridges. And but in order for us to be able to be successful, we have to truly fail. And when I say truly fail, is actually, as in the military, we thrive on acronyms. And if we don't have an acronym in our life, we've got

Unknown Speaker 28:52
to share what USMC stands for.

Unknown Speaker 28:54
As you know, Uncle Sams misguided children

Unknown Speaker 28:58
if you heard the others Yeah, I have way we've thrown them all out there. At this point. You might as well say it because I've never heard anyone say it except me.

Unknown Speaker 29:10
I'll bail you out if you need it, Marine, but I think you can handle it.

Unknown Speaker 29:15
I I've got away from that one. I have got away from that one. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 29:21
I'm gonna I'm gonna throw your lifeline here. What I was told was USMC stands for you sign the mother fucking contract, you suffer the mother fucking consequences. That's true.

Unknown Speaker 29:32
It is true. I said, I have not said that one in many years. Because like I said, I've gotten away from it.

Unknown Speaker 29:40
And often I apologize because I'll be in mixed company or company that's not mixed and and you know, and there's like, you can see they're kind of tense up. It's like, Oh, shit. Yeah, it's like it is it is it's a reality. It is

Unknown Speaker 29:54
a reality. You you signed up and you you took it, you know, and you made the choice. And there you go.

Unknown Speaker 30:00
What other fucker upset you then you got bigger issues, then, you know, anyone else?

Unknown Speaker 30:07
failed? His first attempt in learning.

Unknown Speaker 30:11
Okay, that's a new one. I always heard false. What is it? Fear is false.

Unknown Speaker 30:18
Damn it appearing real. It's false l false evidence appearing real. Okay, so what was yours again?

Unknown Speaker 30:24
first attempt in learning. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 30:31
FAIL, fail.

Unknown Speaker 30:33
Fail. Okay, gotcha. I'm going, I'm going back with fear. I'm like, wait a min. Okay. He really is. No, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 30:41
Okay. first attempt in learning, right. And if you don't learn from everything that you do, you're not you're not moving forward. So, um, I failed, you know, two marriages, I failed. You know, sometimes I feel that I failed to my kids, sometimes I don't. But, you know, within, knowing that I jumped ship from Ohio out here. And I kept pushing on, I can be able to succeed, I can do the same thing with my working. So I got back involved in the veteran community. Um, Robin was, you know, she gave me that nudge that I needed. And that's when I started, you know, hitting the ground running, get involved in some different mixers and everything else. At that time, I had started dabbling a little bit with, you know, social media, I still haven't figured it out. I still don't understand it, don't

Unknown Speaker 31:31
worry about it, we're gonna we're going to raise money for it. So don't even worry about it, you know, for now, but I'm going to fix it for you. So,

Unknown Speaker 31:38
yeah, please. But um, so I ended up meeting the marine rapper, their social media.

Unknown Speaker 31:45
I wanted to I saw that today. What I was going through yourself, I sent him a message inviting him to tell the story because I just think that is the coolest fucking thing. So yeah, I saw that. So yeah, if you talk to him, and if you have any influence, I would love to

Unknown Speaker 31:56
I will make it I will get I will get the introduction and headed situated. So I met him through social media. And when he saw my 21 inch wooden crayon, he wanted me to make one. So I made him a 21.

Unknown Speaker 32:09
That makes sense, because I've seen him. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 32:12
But Grun few on it. And I also made him a California shaped bottle opener with a bulldog on Right, right. I saw it

Unknown Speaker 32:19
Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 32:20
So I wasn't able to get with him. He was up in LA. I never got up there. And finally one day in the summer of 2008 I saw that he was in San Diego. And I mentioned to him I'm like dude, when you're in town how long you here for? And he was like I'm living on your note.

Unknown Speaker 32:40
Okay, cool. So I got up met with him

Unknown Speaker 32:44
brought me my son down to the works building now here in downtown San Diego. And you were get into projects and we were talking these Tell me about works and bunker labs how they incorporated a veterans and residents program where they offer a working space for six months to veteran entrepreneurs. They do an application process to get narrows down to 10 applicants and you get resources you know, training you know classes, networking events, stuff like that to help start up your business and get you to that next level everything else. Alright, cool, you know so now I'm getting back into the veteran community something that I was always afraid of always cursive so being with as

Unknown Speaker 33:32
much as I love it, I still find it to be a mixed blessing blessing because you're you know, you it's both the best and the worst. I mean, you get the it's just an amazing feeling. Part of it for me and again, because I keep then I start thinking was like damn, I can't fit my uniforms. I don't really feel very marine Lee sometimes. But yeah, it's it's a mixed thing. But it definitely more good than than bad.

Unknown Speaker 33:57
And that's one thing that I want to touch base on is anybody that's in the military that is listening or watching this. Don't do what I did, you know, don't do it. A lot of a lot of us have done in during my air and everything else while we got out we didn't do anything. We didn't go anywhere. So we're not you know, we're not a veteran, we're not part of it. Everything else. Fuck that shit.

Unknown Speaker 34:19
Right.

Unknown Speaker 34:20
Get as soon as you get out.

Unknown Speaker 34:23
Get out, get involved in a veteran community. Right. Get out there. And the VFW, the American legions, you know, the there's, you know, other different groups and stuff that are out there that are going on a river warriors. Out here, we got triple B adventures. We have vet together, we have, you know, cameras and canines, that they help with the homeless things, we have all these other rooms, we have the veteran residents, we have bunker labs. Don't just satisfy yourself with one entity of that veteran organization or that veteran group.

Unknown Speaker 34:59
Here's the thing. And this and this is at the foundation of why HH was created. Because, you know, so often, you know, we get out. And we think that first of all, we're supposed to do it by ourselves, we're supposed to be tough, we're supposed to, you know, whatever. And as you know, this has been repeated numerous times, we didn't do a freaking thing by ourselves when we were in. So why do we think we should do it here. But you know, the thing is, if if asking for help is a challenge for you, then think don't think of it that way. Because there are men and women like my dad, who was Vietnam era who says he's sitting around waiting to die, his spouse has died, his kids are to the winds at large part of that is his fault. But the point is he's you know, he said around only so think of it this way, think of you reaching out and being part of these communities may not necessarily be a help to you or be you know, you're not doing it for you, you're doing it for them, you're doing it for those who needs you. And, you know, so And the thing is you you'll get a good feeling from it. So it ultimately it doesn't matter why you do it, whether you do it for because the thing is, you might do it that for them today, but you might need them tomorrow, and I have posted a thing in the past I said, you know that the the hand that you offer, you know, the hand that you receive, when you offer, maybe you may have needed more than you know, then you realized or whatever, anyway, the point is, is, it doesn't really matter why you do it, because because we need you know, we take off that uniform, and suddenly we look like everyone else, but we're not everyone else. And, and, and we so it helps us get through that transition, a large part of the suicide rate is because we don't have a sense of purpose, we might have a job, we might have whatever, but we we kind of tend to be a float where you know, kind of lost and and it takes us some time and, and there is a purpose for us. And that's why, you know, that's been such an important part for me of hearing these, these, these stories and sharing these stories and why it's so important to me that we get these stories in front of people is because time and again, we hear how, you know, these guys went through these dark times. And they and even now I still go through it on occasion because we you know, we have we put so much stock in what we're doing. And it's so important to us to to make it work. But you know, so we'll still go through it. But the fact is that when we go through those suicide attempts, or anything else, for whatever reason, it happens, we can't see that there is something out there waiting for us, we know, all we know is that we have talents, or we have you know, we had a purpose we had meaning and all of a sudden, in our minds, we have no purpose, we have no meaning. And that's so not true, we just haven't found it yet. And so if you jump immediately into, you know, helping and in being a part of that environment, it's it's, it's a win win. As I say, there is no

Unknown Speaker 37:48
downside to it. So Exactly. And you know, a lot of it goes down to you know, where it's where I say is, you know, get involved with as many as you can, you know, don't stress yourself fairly thin. But at least attend an event, find an event, find where this organization is at and listening, going out and find your tribe, not a tribe, find your tribe, in the midst of going to these different things and getting involved in these different organizations, you will find this person from this group, this person from this group, this person from that group, this person in that group, and you now have your band of brothers, right, and you have the people that can help you out, and you can call upon if something goes wrong, or you need something or you're having a down day, or you know, you maybe need resources or you're trying to if you got something new that comes in the mix like me and the crayons, they're gonna fucking coming around an idea that I would be giving making chocolates.

Unknown Speaker 38:47
Get around other like minded people and people with you know, that you that support system and, and you never know what's going to come out of it. And, and I know I cut you off here, but this is something I just I really want to get across to people. You know, the whole going back to Hero Harbor, you know, as as an app, it's, it's, it's cool as it stands, but one of the things that we're going to do that speak to the two things that you and I have been talking about here, the one, you know, the needing, needing to make that connection. And so we are we will be implementing a features such that you log in and you say you know, because right now you have a dark moment, it might be very well in the middle of night. And you know, you and I have had a difficult time connecting to make this thing happen. And I realized some time ago that it's, you know, in part because my while I have an amazing support system, they are like me and very busy with 90,000 projects happening. And so I might reach out to them. And they may have you know, every desire or need or, or willingness to talk to me or help, but they just don't get to it or whatever. And so I realized that, you know, if I'm in a dark space in the middle of night, there may be people across the, you know, the world who are on guard duty or whatever and available. So we will be implementing a feature such that you can log in and say, Hey, I'm available, somebody else can come in and say hey, you know, I just need to chat. And and then we send up what might what Tony calls the bat signal to let people know, you know, and then so and so we connect them immediately, you know, because if I if we if we left it to you finding your own support system, you might not do that, especially if you're already you know, troubled or whatever you may not even you know, we tend to isolate sometimes, and you may not have done that. So here now the entire community is your is your support system, and we will make sure that that happens. Speaking to this isn't what as I was going to say a second ago, but speaking to we were talking about the social stuff, my goal is that you come in there, you we verify your URL, we make it we make it gold so that it distinguished when your people know that this is verified. And then you go back to your business, you know, either work on getting the whole freaking, you know, community in there, and the eyeballs that you need, and you go back to doing what you're good at crowds ready to eat and whatever. And you don't have to deal with the stupid stupid social crap. And, and, and trying to get your face in front of everybody, because I've already solved that for you. But the other thing I was getting at when was the we you can schedule events within the app. And so on any of those things that you were talking about, you know, whether it is you're in, we've got searchable interest tagging, so you can go find people like interests or lighting, and we intend to start curating events so that if there are things happening with your unit or your you know, local things, or things that are interesting to you will let you know about that. So you don't have to go in search of it necessarily either. So you know, all of those things, you know, work to satisfying the exact needs you're talking about and doing it on a large scale, rather than on a on a community one by one kind of thing. I want us all to get the visibility that we need. And so I have, you know, I have I won't go into the details, but I have plans for all of that. So yeah, I again, I understand, I understand the community, I understand our needs, and we have a solution for it. It's just, you know, it takes time. But

Unknown Speaker 42:15
Exactly. And and that's where, you know, there's no you've got it, you know, in order for it to be successful, even in that large, you know, potential capacity, is you still have to have, you know, a tribe that's there to help you. And it goes back to the old age that we do not, you know, see or hear anybody doing anymore with our children is it takes a village to raise a child

Unknown Speaker 42:37
does it

Unknown Speaker 42:38
about individuals, it's about you know, me, me, me, it's not about me.

Unknown Speaker 42:44
But the thing is, and this is what I'm learning, there's absolutely Well, not just learning, I knew it when I when I conceived of Hero Harbor, but I'm really beginning to see it. You know, I told you might my truck disappeared in Miami, I don't know if it was stolen a repo. But the moment that I told one of my board members that what had happened, he said I just got a new truck, I'm donating my mind to HH, there is no better community than the one that we have. We just have to show each other that we're there. And we have to make it such that we can find each other but there is no greater support system and community then the Hero not just veterans but the Hero community because you know, the first responders that the the MS. The the law enforcement because we get it, we we go through a similar experience and we get it and so, you know, it's there's no stronger cared about community. Because the thing is, it doesn't matter, your gender, your job, your era, we all experienced much of the same,

Unknown Speaker 43:43
you know things. Exactly. And like I said, for me for the longest time I was doing on my own. And you know, whenever I go to the Marine Corps, you know, that's another thing with you know, like I said, when I talked earlier about, you know, being a firefighter, you know, I had that community sense whenever I was a volunteer firefighter. Um, but, of course, I got away from it, I got I got out of the volunteer firefighter, I moved here to California, there's no volunteer services here, I didn't want to go to school, I didn't want to do the paid thing. You know, and it's, you know, there's, it's similar to that, and then in first responder community as well. And if we don't find our tribe, if I didn't find, you know, the marine rapper, and finding the DIR, veteran residents powered by bunker labs, I probably would still be tween the idea of the crayons ready to eat? Right? Because whenever I was down there talking with the marine rapper, and, you know, he was like, you know, I know you've got other things going on, you got your, your Sonic, you're a guy that you know, wants to do things. And the one thing that he you know, I've always done with everything that I do, and that I reiterate to everybody else. is is is one thing to be able to say you've got something, it's one thing that you're able to say what I'm thinking about, but it's actually taking action. Everything's

Unknown Speaker 45:02
right action, it just has to be action because you learn from everything that you do. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 45:06
yep. Exactly. Because you know, the the wrong decision. Is the decision not made? Yeah, whether you make a decision to do this to do that, or whatever else and you learn from it, that's the right one or it was the you know, it wasn't the correct choice. The wrong

Unknown Speaker 45:26
the incorrect choice may highlight something else. Exactly.

Unknown Speaker 45:31
So here in a mixed of the crayons I'm sitting on the frog with marine rapper with Ramin is he I told him, I sat down and I thought of an idea of marine bringing the new Marine Corps job to reality of being current writers and I'm working on making chakra crown. And he was like, What? He was like, I want to see this. I'm like, okay, I sure. Now mind you, I had nothing set up, we had just got into the stage to where we figured out, we did not want to go with the traditional crayon size. It was small, it was flexible a break, there wasn't a lot of chocolate. So we did research, we found a triangle shape mode, triangles, it's a lot more chocolate, and naturally goes to a triangle able to get things situated. And you you're able to hold on to things and do things a lot better. So I ended up going that route of making, you know, getting that situated. He was like, Okay, next week, we are having a network, we're having a bunker, bro, to where we're having a networking event. Come down, bring some with you. Okay, sure. So I called called Sandra. And I'm like, we need to make a batch of grounds. We need to make as many as we can make, I gotta take them down with me and take them down there. And so I get down there to the event, bring them going through networking, meeting a lot of good people and I was going down there as the Woodworks, you know, there's a woodworking coming. Because that's what I was highlighted. That's what I'm trying to make money on and survive off of. So after the events over, he lets me upstairs into the office while he's getting things cleaned up. And I'm there in the office. And Samantha, Bonnie and Mike from porch clothing, are there. And Samantha tells Mike, you need to remind me on the next photo shoot that I we need to go pick up a box of crayons. And I'm like, do I say something? bucket. I'm like, I got something better for you. Now mind you. I had no packaging. I had no social media presence. I had nothing It was still in the proof of concept. Right? Right. See if he likes it and what we can do it break them out. And I'm like, I gotta talk a crayon. And she was ecstatic. Colored with it. She been into it, she really did a video send it to all the other marine models she had. And Ramadan comes up showing him he's loving the hell out of it. To them invited me to come down to the office on the next Friday to discuss you know how we can scale this what we can do with business aspect and everything else. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 48:24
you may be planning to get to this, but this it's been bugging me the entire time that you've been talking about this? Because I know I keep thinking I keep thinking of chocolate as you're just brown and I kept thinking how do you get crayons that are other colors? And so I thought and then it hit me we've got white chocolate, so I have to ask Did you? Yes. Okay, so I just had I couldn't go any further without knowing if you had. Okay, I got all excited. Nobody's gonna know he was nodding his head. So he was it was it was white chocolate. Yes. So that's awesome. Okay, IK going.

Unknown Speaker 49:01
So I ended up we were going to set up the meeting for that Friday to on that Tuesday. Raymond sent me a text, you know, work for him and we're collaborating everything else. Are you able to come down on Thursday, we have our lunch and learns and we want you to pitch your idea and your product to all of our VR members. I have never pitched a business in my life. Right right. Now mind you, I can sell a missing fan to an ice company. Right? I can do sales and customer service. I've done retail many years. I'm like, Okay, sure. I will. Why not? I'll try. Right so I called my colleague Cassandra and I'm like, okay, we we have just went to that level where I potentially thought this could go and we came over we busted out I think it was 15 sets which is five and a set and I had no packaging we wrapped them up in wax paper. I go down there and that night this is mind you this is September 8. I'm up till four o'clock in the morning after we invaded made the chocolates. I'm setting up the Instagram the Facebook bought the domain name threw up a frickin website put up some freakin phony freakin just some bullshit stuff talking to her about talk about this and everything else. And put a little bit of the backstory a little bit and went there and pitched it. Mind you or Instagram and Facebook only had two people following me.

Unknown Speaker 50:38
I've been there been there been there.

Unknown Speaker 50:40
So I get down there and pitch it. It's just it's unbelievable as I tell them about it, what we're doing a hand on the product to try it. They're coloring on the coloring sheets. They're putting it on Insta stories and this and that everything else within being there for a couple hours and we're talking I'm now over 50 people life is like, Okay, here we go. That's awesome. Came back design the freakin cover the box through a freakin image in Photoshop frickin made look like an MRE cranz ready to eat this and everything else. And so I gave Samantha a couple of sets. She can use on the photoshoot. And All right, here we go. Then we're into today's what was Yeah. So we're into the ordeal. And next thing I know, we're pushing this we're gaining followers been gaining momentum. We decided to let's try to sell this. Right? We're going to sell this and we jump online start doing sales. Within the first two weeks, we get 103 orders. But there's a roadblock. Nobody finds out about us

Unknown Speaker 52:00
about that.

Unknown Speaker 52:00
Yeah, we're selling a food product online. And we almost got fined $10,000. Right, right, right. In the mix of this. Samantha and the other models put out a video. And if you scroll through the crowds ready to eat, it's there. There's a video, one's army or an Air Force veteran. And they do this whole ordeal of finding snacks greens being created years 5124 or five of them are our Marines. And are within a matter of days, the video gets shared between a different platform, a different pages, and everything and we're over, you know, easily 100 and some thousand views on this thing. Wow, very nice work jumping up jumping. I'm jumping up and the county comes at us. And thank goodness for the director that understood that we didn't know what we were doing. We were just trying to figure it out. Instead of finding us the $10,000 for you to have a car true permit fair to have an FDA permitted fair to have a manufacturers license to process your registration and shipping outside the state outside County. Right. So she gave us a warning walked us through the application process walked us through the labeling process everything else. And I'm you know, so we're going through this, we're on a hiatus we're breaking. I'm trying to push the word working, trying to get involved in different groups and this and that and get everything to me being able to actually now be a member of the veteran, a resident. Right? So I joined you know, I sign up, I put the application in, they picked me as one of the top nine veterans to being part of this veteran residence program. Um, and it's been phenomenal. It's helped me learn a little bit about you know, different things that the business side the finding financial, right, making network connections in industries that can help me gain and get me to where we need to be in that large scale FDA capacity, which we're still shooting for. Right, right. Let's ship the product until we get that off the record.

Unknown Speaker 54:03
Well, yeah, I know, I know, we just we just got our nonprofit status. I mean, like, yeah, maybe a week ago, Saturday, I think I don't even remember I've lost it was a Saturday after I got back from having my truck disappear. But the and it took six months can because we applied on November 30. But then our delightful government decided to shut down for you know, a period of time. And so that delayed it and then somebody in our original board, three member board, their name matched a name on the terrorist watch list. like shit. And so you know, and that's and that's been the most most challenging thing because you know, I know that we have something amazing I know that not just the product but the team and everything else. It's you know, I and and not you're just you know, try again, you know, the 90 million things that you could be doing at any given time you know, you can be trying to earn money with what works or you can be over you're trying to promote the crown thing or you can be over here trying to do you know, get get this content in front of people, but as you've discovered, you know, things happen the way they're supposed to it and when the right person comes along then it just like almost overnight shift just changes and and that's, that's, you know where we are, is it and that's again, that's what people need to hear is it don't don't don't fucking give up yo because we're up here for you and we're fighting for you and we can't get you right this second but we're here just keep you know, we were talking earlier about the the you know, all the thoughts that went into you know, for me it was the coloring of the original the original app and and the you know, there was a path you know, where we ended up with the sun and everything else and then you know, late as a logo and then I realized you know, my name was dawn and then the sun coming up as a symbol of hope you know, all of that stuff it was it was sort of it again it was a path but the my what I'm getting at is you have we have you have to see the sun come up what if you have to you know, go run around the block or if you have to call something I don't care just fucking wake up tomorrow morning. Because we're here and we're going to get to you just got to hang on because there is there is something better coming we just you know, you just don't know what it is yet. But it's you know, don't we need you you know, we all have we don't even know about yet.

Unknown Speaker 56:41
Exactly. So this here, you know so now we're in this hiatus. We're trying to get situated I'm getting connected with networks, you know, networking events and get into people we get involved in clever talks, which is involved in the you know, Mark Cuban foundation. We're getting involved with you know, Flossie Hall, which she originally started healthy mama which is a food prepping situation. And she's involved in the Rosie network. So Flossie Hall has been able to help us within the food aspect. Get us into connections. Where did you tell me you live? Lakeside California.

Unknown Speaker 57:19
Okay, I need to find out because one of my Marines, he's out there in California and it Okay, so like sign it what triggered is when you said Rosie network because he he painted a ME paint his name is our his IIG account is PTSD bottles. And he's on my on the very more speaks. Feed, you'll see there's a I His name is Ray Lopez, I did a cut, you know, recording with him. Again, couple hours, whatever. But he painted he paints liquor bottles, and he had painted a liquor bottle with Rosie on it. And it was just freaking amazing how, you know how, you know how, what a great job he did with it, but I'm gonna he's in Cali, I just don't know exactly where but I'm gonna find out and see if I can connect you guys just because because you both have artistic souls. And I mean, he needs he's a stay at home mom. I mean, he takes his wife works and because of, you know, his health limitations and stuff, but the you know, he's so he's the, you know, he's Mr. Mom. But there's no doubt in my mind that, you know, you guys, you know, you would hit it off. So Exactly.

Unknown Speaker 58:19
So the connections of getting us you know, and it's got a you know, to with lossy helping out getting mentors, you know, within the chocolate industry, I've interacted with Rob from rock pack, who he makes energy drinks. And you know, I don't give a crash I forget, he's a he's a Marine Corps veteran. And he's, he was on Shark Tank. So he gave me the, you know, he's like, you know, give me the, you know, avenues of understanding now, with investors and stuff like that, what to look out for. So there's a lot of things that I would not have learned if I didn't get my butt back in as

Unknown Speaker 58:54
well as you. Well, the other thing too, is you did something like you said, you you did something which is so it's so important from for the from the entrepreneurial journey and why, you know, people have on more than one occasion mentioned, because Tony has written so from a monetary monetary standpoint, such a valuable software for me, to have them now your people have said what he's the key to the thing. But he is he is one part of it. What I was getting out as you said earlier that when she mentioned the the crayons, you were you were like, do I do I not but you said fuck it, and you did it anyway. And that's the difference. That's where you know, HH, and everything else could not exist without me because while he is the tech guy, I'm the one who can take that gut punch. I'm the one who can go out there and I will risk it every single day I tell everybody what the fuck I'm doing. And you can take it or leave it you can walk away from it. All I ask is that you do it sooner rather than later. But some of my best rejections have some of my biggest rejections had been the turning point in the season. Two amazing aspects of this. And so just Yeah, and it's like for me, don't ever let anybody dissuade you from your dreams. I just texted Ray to find out what cities he's in. So anyway,

Unknown Speaker 1:00:12
I'm nearly I'm about 20 minutes from San Diego. But um, so that's like, for me is you know, I've got the opportunity to hit the ground, do the dude, be the front person? I thought of the idea. Cassandra is the brains behind it, she made the chocolate, she figured how to make the chocolate, right. And she's working full time stoner Riley's. And I'm out there, I'm hitting and I'm going on. So it

Unknown Speaker 1:00:36
are so similar, because he's working full time corporate job. You know, it was in my day. He's a tech person, he built it all. But I'm the creative and I'm the one out doing or it's just,

Unknown Speaker 1:00:46
she's the brains behind it. Her fiance, he helped her out the mathematics and the weights, the nutrition facts, and all that stuff and everything else. So it's a great combination of being partnered up with her. And she's 25. They know, my five. And you know, so she's still young, she's still going to figure it out. So for me to be able to be out there hitting and making the connections make it you know, getting these things. Like I said, we wouldn't have been able to learn where we're at. And now we're figuring out we're getting involved in a company's what it takes to get to FDA requirements, and get us into that next capacity.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:20
And what's up in Indiana,

Unknown Speaker 1:01:23
that's like, a couple of nights about an hour and a half from it. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:29
Nice, because, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:31
So, you know, in that scenario, in a way for me to I've transitioned, you know, I've never really delved into making the military memorabilia, and stuff that into my woodworking. And I said, I've gotten away from the military aspect that I've got back into it. So now, I'm starting to do the challenge coins, racks. And I'm starting to actually route out images into you know, the wood and melting crayons into the wood. So it's an 20, the crown business into the woodworking, and keeping those two intertwined and tied in, because it's the niche that I can get into.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:09
And understand. Yeah, you and it's a demographic that you understand, it's again, it was the same thing for me, I never set out to be you know, Hero focused. But when I realized a the need that extreme need, I mean, not just you know, it, yeah, there's so much common between us. But um, but also that it was it is it was something that I understood it was it was one that I could speak to and and you know it Yeah, they made all the time. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:38
So in the mix of this is, is that, you know, right now I I just got off a phone call with the gentleman, Brian or Brad or something like that. I can't remember it off top my head. I spoke with the guy that does Willie Pete chocolate bars. I spoke this morning, you know, how he did with the, you know, manufacturing license, stuff like that. You know, like I said, you know, within being involved in the veteran community and finding the tribe and getting the network of people. It all boils down to Yes, you can get the network connections, yes, you can find the people to you know, help you promote your woodworking business, my woodworking business, and help promote in the crayons, but it boils down to action, you take the action to do it, you're not going to make it anywhere.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:27
Running that car and going up. It's like, I didn't know what it was going to happen. But I it doesn't matter, you just go and then you figure it out later. And it turned out, you know, had I not gone I would have passed on the most amazing possible, you know, so you just Yeah, you do it. You just do it. And okay, sorry, horse. But

Unknown Speaker 1:03:44
exactly, you know, so for me, you know, to do you know, get into these things. It's like, you have to take action, it's everything that I've done is I've done that with, you know, for the first moment of getting customer, my kids, I took the action, I learned how to be able to run present myself and get find out what I needed to do to get into that step. I decided to frickin jump, you know, get out of the way, I have no family, no contacts, no nothing. It's just me and my kids getting us out here and hit the ground run and take an action and make things happen. decided to jump in and quit the job and just dive deeper into the word working and doing the same to the ground. And all boils down to the two things have you have a choice. And it's how you take action upon it. So having that choice and taking the action, just do it. Right, you fail, you fail, but you learn something from it, don't let it keep it's not.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:41
It's how we get back up.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:43
Well, and the thing too is, you just eat what you need to do is fail faster. You know, it's just you can't sit around and wait for you know, for things to happen. You just, we we we iterate again, like I said, we start off as a dating app. Beautiful, beautiful thing. We just, you know, I thought but then we added a friend profile. And then we're going to a business problem. Again, we were just trying to be everything to everyone. And it was confusing the crap out of people. But we did those really quickly, we paid attention, we listened and realized, okay, this isn't working. And so then we created a change, which is completely separate. And so you if you have to, it takes time, but you have to learn to trust in your own creativity, learn to trust in the process, you have an end goal, what and the thing is, I never I never knew what you know what my end goal was, I just knew that I had something to offer. And I would figure out along the way, what that was. So the important part is you don't have to see you won't see the path now. And that seeing the path isn't the important part, having the desire and keeping going. And, you know, failing faster and continually, there is another couple things, constantly be looking for those mentors, however, be very careful about who you listen to. And, you know, everybody has an opinion about you know, what you should do and, and how you should do it and things like that. And you cannot you have you have to do what works for you, you have to trust in your vision. You know, if I if I changed or you know, every time somebody you know, or didn't agree with, it doesn't matter you if you go with what you understand best, which in our cases, this community,

Unknown Speaker 1:06:23
you will get there somehow, here's the thing is is what I've learned, and they say it through business that I've learned and I've experienced it, okay, you can listen to one person, that one person is not always the right person now get the opinion of three, if you got three people that are telling you the same thing, maybe it's the right way, you got three people joining you to do it this way. So get more than one person's input get more, where you build your tribe, and you build that network. And you get everybody to say this is where you got to go this what you got to do. So I wouldn't be where I'm at now. You know, being in with the world or being in with the crayons, if I didn't have that network and other people give them to help me steer me in the right direction. And having multiple people telling me the same thing. You know, Kamikaze Woodworks came about because I wanted to do it. But I had other people to help me get the idea, get the concept and do what we able to do. And saying suggesting, okay, this is how you got to do and do that. Now, I do not suggest to everybody that you just quit your full time job and jump in there without having a foundation. Yeah, I don't suggest everybody deciding to pick up their kids in their house and everything else and moving out to a totally different location without having any family any work any job or anything else. But I did it. Right, if I can do it, you can put your mind to and make it happen.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:39
The thing is, you come to realize that there are sacrifices that are worth it, you know, again, living with my ex husband for a year, year and a half, whatever, it was not my first choice, but we made it work, we renovate that house, we sold it, we got the money. And again, one of those serendipitous things, you know, he was working full time corporate job and probably would not have had changed anything were you know, had that continued. However, the contract that he was working for the CDC came to an end up right after we sold the house or right before Yeah, right after we sold the house, and are at right after we incorporated Marine Corps birthday, again, Incorporated December was in the year and the contract ended. So we took the money from the house and we spent that year you know, building you know, both these products. And now you know, I I I struggle regularly I was donating plasma for a long time he at 46 is living at home with his parents temporarily. But it really is temporary. HH it was only conceived this past October. So we have moved very very quickly. And and and and we're going to get there. So what I'm getting at is their site, if you know that you're on the right path, you know, there's some sacrifices that are worth making. And you just have to recognize that they are temporary. And you know, it's there's a lot of a lot of weight on my shoulders because I feel very responsible, you know, for him being there. And and the challenges and, and all of that stuff like that he works a full time corporate job in order to help you know, keep me afloat out here and allow me to keep doing these other things. But you you just do you keep at it. When I first when I first bought that truck, I was presenting all over the three different states. And I was averaging 3000 miles a month. I've drove I mean just digitas brutal trips, but you just do what you have to do and trust that it will you know, it's you're going to get there.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:32
Yeah, that's that's like for me, you know, and with me being involved in the high school, you know, color garden, the marching band, everything else. No, I'm there. I help out with the props I mentor to the kids and being around to that. If I wasn't involved in that. I wouldn't be in the house that I'm in right now. I met one of the parents, they had been various different properties. And you know, in the midst of getting the crowds launched, I was getting ready to get my apartment.