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 Good news 
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Joined: April 13th, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Location: Fresno, CA
Post Good news
The Forest Service OHV Manager called me yesterday afternoon, he got word that I wasn't with the club anymore and wanted to reach out to me. He said I was an asset to them and he didn't want to lose me, he's offering for me to volunteer directly with them. He wants me to come in in January so we can sit down and talk about what my goals are, what my skills are, what my challenges are (TBI, PTSD), etc.

He's been with them about a year and a half I think, I've only done 2-3 projects with him. I briefly explained what my difficulties might look like in the field and asked if they sounded insurmountable, he said not at all. I offered to get a letter from the VA people that help me, or set it up so he can talk to them. He liked that idea, sounds like he wants to understand the situation so things go well. I told him that him being willing to work with me like that is wonderful.

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


November 4th, 2015, 9:05 am
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Post Re: Good news
That's awesome to hear for you and awesome to hear someone in the park service going out of their way to keep in contact with you too.

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November 4th, 2015, 10:16 am
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Post Re: Good news
That's great, sounds like you made a good impression. Hopefully you can continue to volunteer with them, I know it was important to you.

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November 4th, 2015, 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Good news
It is important to me. It's my way of being productive and giving back.

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November 4th, 2015, 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Good news
I read this at the F.S. Adopt A Trail meeting last Wednesday, the room erupted into applause when I finished. I went outside and had people come up thanking me for doing that, that it helped them understand it better. When the Ranger came out, he said "Ed you were AWESOME!". And then he told me about all the positive comments he got about what I shared. Of course, I'm told the knuckleheads from the other club were over there rolling their eyes. The one that pushed all that the hardest came out shortly after I got outside, looking pissed off, and left. Seems we made them the odd man out. They may never get it, at least we can educate the rest of the people. By the way, we've already been given the two trails we requested (Adopt a Trails). The two rangers running the OHV program are some of the strongest supporters I could ask for. One has a son that did three tours Regular Army Infantry, and the other has a lady friend with TBI from a car crash. They thought it was very important to make time at the meeting for me to read this.


We're starting a new 4WD squad called Mountain Warriors, it's one of several squads within Our Heroes Dreams. A non profit organization founded ten or twelve years ago by a veteran that was wounded in Iraq, the organization uses donations to help veterans. Last year they took 136 veterans off the streets and put them into apartments, they also do suicide awareness rides, five day veteran retreats, and they have the squads to get veterans out doing something. The other squads are Archery, community projects, Emergency Response, Honor Guard, and Women Warriors. Mountain Warriors will be another avenue for veterans to be productive and hang around with other veterans, we will also be raising awareness of some of the difficulties veterans go through.

I have a condition called Traumatic Brain Injury, the way the doctors described it is, pathways are damaged in the brain, a message is traveling through the brain and , the bridge is out. It finds a way around, but it takes longer, and is draining. It takes me longer to process information, and it's very difficult with distractions, especially under pressure. And sometimes I may have to step away to be able to think clearly, or won't be able to speak even if I wanted to. If my rig breaks and five people come up to help, that's the worst thing that can happen. I can't function in that situation, I "can" function with one person. It will still be very difficult though, I'm also in extreme pain when this happens.

I've done speech therapy to help with this, a year and a half starting in 2012, and I'm about a year back into it now. The first time I called it multi tasking from Hell. I have seen direct results from it, when I'm overwhelmed now I can sometimes tell people that I can't think with them talking, barely. I can also go into stores and let the employees help me find something, I couldn't do that before. I had to focus on one thing, talking to someone would be two things. Another example, last year I went through Dusy with a veterans group from San Diego. A guy with three tours Marine Corps walked by, I gave him some information he wanted one time, asked him a question another time. No response. I was talking to his girlfriend later, and told her what happened, and that "a while later"... and she finished my sentence saying "he came back and answered you". She was right, and I had recognized what was happening. I do the same thing, it's so hard to retain anything that I can't get distracted or it could be a week before I remember again. And often I can only do one thing at a time anyway.

If all this wasn't tough enough on it's own, I've had people go in a direction I didn't expect. They say there's nothing wrong with me and I'm just being rude, and because of this belief they continued to push me when overwhelmed, taking the pain and difficulty level to unbearable, and I had to get away from them. If you see someone that won't leave me alone in those situations, please make them stop, even if you have to physically remove them. That's how abusive it is. The normal reaction of someone who can see what's going on is to cringe at the pain and difficulty I'm experiencing, this shows how off base some are. These people also thought I was going to get violent, that's not even an option I consider. I'm already overwhelmed, getting violent would be many times worse. I have a need to reduce stress, not increase it. Fortunately it's uncommon for people to go in that direction, most are respectful of my difficulties, and there are no problems. However there is a disproportionate number of people in the OHV volunteer community that cause those problems. Overall in my life it's rarely a problem.

Traumatic Brain Injury is the signature Injury from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I've ran across quite a few veterans with it. I had a head injury in 89, but the cognitive testing didn't show deficiencies. After I got back from Iraq in 05 I had very strong TBI symptoms, and after cognitive testing I was diagnosed with TBI. In 08 the doctor asked many questions about what happened in Iraq to cause it, and entered into my records that it was at Camp Fallujah in November 04. That was the only blast close enough to leave me disoriented. Our convoy was bunched up getting out the gate. I was rear gunner and about to pull on my last glove when it happened, next thing I know my glove had been blown out of reach. I had to climb up out of the gunners hole to reach it, and the truck right in front of us had all the water bottles in a storage box ruptured from the concussion. As the Brain is also mostly water, the doctors find it very significant.

I was in a club that labeled my inability to think at the level they expected, and inability to speak sometimes, as "repeated discourteous behavior", and put me on member in poor standing over it. They refused to talk to the VA Speech Pathologist and find out what was actually happening, and generally made things many times worse than they needed to be by backing up the pushy people, instead of making them be respectful of my challenges. That was some of the toughest stuff I've been through. Mountain Warriors won't be tolerating that behavior. If someone can't respond to you, please leave them alone.

It's likely Mountain Warriors will have others with Brain Injury as well, this is why I wanted to help clubs we might rub elbows with understand the situation. Many veterans have the same difficulties, like my example of the Marine above. However most of them are baffled and alarmed at the way things have been twisted around on me. There are some you may know that might help you with it too, Bartman and Dave Adams have been able to see on their own what's going on all along. And about a year ago JR talked with my VA readjustment counselor, and she validated what I've been saying from the beginning. She said JR wasn't doubting anything, he just wanted to know how he could help me. I think validating what I'm saying and educating people is the best way forward, so we won't have someone make things unbearable for me, or another veteran, then get really mad thinking that "we" were the ones that did something to them. I'm asking the clubs and trail chairmen to help make things go smoother in the future by spreading accurate information on this subject. If any of you want to talk to the VA people that help me, I will set it up. We need to put the misunderstandings behind us.

I will be staying in Hill Hoppers also, they're pretty understanding people. Hill Hoppers had already seen the difficulties I have back in 2011 when I helped them install a toilet at Ershim, and they were understanding and accommodating. One of them took the group ahead when he saw that I was having a hard time diagnosing a fuel problem on my truck with distractions. And there were no hard feelings, that's the kind of harmony I'd like to see in the 4WD community.

The biggest reason I wanted to do this is so I won't be pushed to the point that the pain and difficulty is unbearable, I really don't want to go through that again. There are some people that refuse to stop doing that, no matter how many times I tell them what's happening. If enough people are educated on the subject, maybe someone will be around that will stop them. And again this isn't just for me, it can also help others with Brain Injury.

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


April 25th, 2017, 8:36 am
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Post Re: Good news
That's awesome Ed, it's awesome that you got to speak there too.

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90% of my truck is covered by AutoZone's lifetime warranty! Too bad the gas isn't...
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April 26th, 2017, 8:37 am
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Post Re: Good news
The two rangers running the OHV department are some of the strongest supporters I have, they both loved what I wrote. The first one I sent it to thought they have a full meeting planned and might not have time for it. Then the other one called and said "this is important, we will make time for it". It was really good to get the info out to more clubs, and get support.

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


April 26th, 2017, 11:28 am
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Post Re: Good news
Thanks for sharing, Ed. It was a well written, personal, and informative read.

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may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
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May 1st, 2017, 6:12 pm
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Post Re: Good news
very good to get that out there. Keep us informed here of projects up there and if I am able I would gladly work with you or the other veterans and do it on their terms.

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May 2nd, 2017, 10:14 am
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Post Re: Good news
Thanks for the comments guys, it was pretty tough reading that in a room I knew had people that were very angry with me over their perceptions of what's happening. The toughest times were when I mentioned that the way I was treated was some of the toughest stuff I've been through. I thought it was time people heard from me. I think telling my story like this will help, many people care and want to know what's going on. That was proven by the comments afterward.

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


May 2nd, 2017, 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Good news
This was sent to the Forest Supervisor from the recreation manager, she's a Marine Corps veteran. The Forest Supervisor is a Navy veteran.


One of our OHV volunteers, Ed _____, has been substantially involved not only with the OHV volunteer community for many years but has recently put a lot of effort towards engaging and recruiting military veterans to be a part of the OHV volunteer community. It has truly been a win-win. The OHV program and Forest obviously benefit from the added community engagement, but I think even more importantly groups like Ed’s Mountain Warriors provide safe and understanding environments for veterans struggling with their transition while providing them an outlet to use their skillsets in a productive fashion. It’s an initiative that is certainly near to my heart, and I know our entire OHV staff truly appreciate Ed’s energy.

I'm forwarding you his email with some photos and a video from a recent volunteer trip to the Hooper Diversion OHV area near Florence Lake.

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


October 24th, 2017, 7:49 am
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Post Re: Good news
Congrats, Ed. I'm sure the praise is very much deserved!

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"He who exercises government by means of his virtue
may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it."

- Confucius


October 24th, 2017, 4:50 pm
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Post Re: Good news
Thanks

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


October 25th, 2017, 8:21 am
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Post Re: Good news
What group is that? One of those guys is an old buddy of mine

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October 25th, 2017, 12:17 pm
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Post Re: Good news
Mountain Warriors.

Which one?

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1964 International 1ton, D70F ARB, RA15 Detroit Locker, dual transmissions, 375:1 crawl ratio, 41" Iroks, flat bed.


October 26th, 2017, 9:23 am
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