We’ve all come to crossroads in our lives. Moments in time where we have to make a choice that will affect the “future you.” Welcome to the first installment of a new monthly blog post for the Silent Warrior Foundation or SWF. To begin it is best to start at the beginning.
My name is Chris Bonino, I am a paramedic for a 911 ambulance company based on the central coast of California. I became involved with Silent Warrior Foundation through the GORUCK challenge. For those of you familiar with GORUCK I promise to keep this brief.
GORUCK is a team event, lead by a Cadre from one of the branches of Special Forces. They teach lessons in leadership and teamwork through physical, mental, and emotional stress. They love to find your button. And when they find it, it is like blood in the water to a hungry shark. However, in most cases by not quitting and persevering through the adversity you come out on the other side a better version of yourself. GORUCK began as a hobby for me. A way to train for a different event with another company. However, after my first event I knew I had found something special. Through their teaching I was introduced to a stronger, better version of myself. It has not come without failing. Through trials and tribulations, my life has been a winding road of ultimate highs and rock bottom lows. The one constant is the bonds of friendship that I have forged through GORUCK. GORUCK is what put me on a collision course with Brent Phillips and the SWF.
Last year there was a viral vlog or video-blog going around through social media. “22 PUSH-UP CHALLENGE” The idea was simple and straight forward. 22 push-ups for 22 days to bring awareness to veteran suicide. It had been developed based upon the idea of another viral video-blog called the “Cold Water Challenge” or “Ice Bucket Challenge” raising awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” research. Think what you will of the entire movement, the objective and it’s mission were headed in the right direction. However, it was missing a key component that the ALS movement had nailed down. Funding. It isn’t enough just to bring awareness to something, you need to back it up with money. This is the USA and capitalism and the dollar reign supreme. Or as my dad would tell me, “cash is king.” So instead of doing 22 push-ups in 22 days I set out to do something different. Donate $22 every pay period for 22 months to an organization assists veterans and or their families pay the bills so to speak. Here is where I was directed to the SWF.
Understand that in no way am I saying this is the only deserving organization. The are plenty of others. Google it. But I sought out guidance and did my homework and this is one of the foundations I chose to support. So, as the months progressed I realized that while I was helping I was still falling short. At a recent GORUCK event, in the middle of night as I lay in the surf doing rocking-chairs it hits me like a bolt of lightning. “Do more.” At the completion of the event, I contacted SWF and offered to help in anyway that I could.
Fast forward two weeks and here I sit in a hotel room in Riverside, California fresh out of Flight Medic training writing blog number 001. It this going to move mountains? Probably not. It will probably be read by some, and followed by others but in the end who I am doing this for is the SWF and its mission is all that matters. There is no greater calling than to serve others. My high school had a motto, “Men for others.” That motto is my mission.
“Who?, How?, and Why?” – Written By Chris Bonino