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Long overdue update

Well everyone,

It is time to catch everyone up on what Military Minds Inc (MMI) has been up for the last couple of years. This post will give much of the background of where we were, and more about our vision moving forward.

There has been a re-birth of sorts, awareness of PTSD is at unprecedented levels and the stigma has been reduced dramatically.  We can proudly state that we feel we were part of the movement to change the narrative related to PTSD.  Which is what MMI was founded for – build that awareness with a high level of snark that the predominately Veteran community is known for. 
As PTSD knows no bounds, MMI quickly realized that the First Responder community are equal partners in awareness, and we have expanded our reach into those communities, which has shaped us to a point that we are at today.

In 2016, MMI tested the Canadian fundraising waters with a motorcycle poker run in Edmonton Alberta, to great success.   Previous to these, most of the fundraising had been done through website merchandise sales.
There were some other events worldwide that were also thrown by members and supporters of MMI with also good results.

That one Canadian motorcycle ride evolved into the launch of our 2017 Cross Canada riding Fundraiser,
aptly named “The Rolling Barrage”(TRB), during the year of the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Battle at Vimy Ridge, for which the Artillery Barrage showed tactical benefits.  2018 saw the second running of the event, with even greater success.  2019 boasts our largest planning team of Supporters, Police Forces, Fire Fighters, and military (both past and present) participating in what will be our most unique ride yet.

So, we have learned that we can fundraise well, in case people are wondering – we profited around $50,000 in the 2 years.  We have gained expansive knowledge of fundraising operations in 2017 and applied them into our lessons learned which allowed us to generate a better profit percentage in the 2018 event.  2019 promises to build a more epic ride as we continue to learn and grow.  The Rolling Barrage team involves organizers that are currently serving or retired Military, Police (RCMP and other forces), Fire Fighters, EMS operators etc, and some hugely supportive civilian volunteers. Shortly I will tell you our plans for the funds raised.

Go check out TRB at all the weblinks
Give us a Facebook like,
Subscribe to the TRB website  by signing up with an email address at the bottom of the webpage, and get email updates as planning for TRB 2019 continues.
As alway, we would love if you share these links with your friends.

Now where else are we going?
MMI is restructuring – rewriting bylaws to establish our mandate, adjusting the board of directors to give a greater spectrum of perspectives and experience, and working to become the most transparent fundraising and awareness powerhouse in the Canadian PTSD community.

MMI will continue to grow its fundraising operations, and have another event in the works that will be launching in 2019…. But we aren’t going to let the cat out of the bag just yet… you may see some hints coming, but more details will be coming really soon.

This leads us to the MILLION dollar question that we have been asked many, many, times since TRB first rode in 2017 – “what are you doing with the money?” Well, I’m not ready to give you those answers in this paragraph – more pontification first.

MMI needed to figure out the big picture strategic vision of what it wants to achieve and where it wants to go.  The simplest answer to that question is – we want to become a CRA registered charity that can hand out tax receipts to people who donate to us.
Becoming a CRA registered charity is not an easy task – there is paperwork, and legislation(which defines the “how”), lots and lots of boring dry regulatory mumbo jumbo to read and figure out the best way we can operate that ensures we stay on the path towards that goal.

As it stands right now – MMI is a Federally incorporated, Not for Profit Corporation.  Our business number is 841618135RC0001 and listed in the public Federal Databases.

The road to CRA status is not an easy one, the biggest challenge that lies ahead is the conduct of the board of directors, and process paperwork that MMI generates.  This is a multi-year process.  Everyone involved being a volunteer with full time other tasks (life, jobs etc), means that it will take some time.
One of the biggest hurdles is making sure the money trail is properly followed.  We paid a public accountant to audit the 2017 financial records, and have been preparing the 2018 records in the fashion that they demostrated for us.

Back to the topic that started this stream of consciousness – what are we doing with the money?

We are disbursing the funds in a manner that will withstand government and public scrutiny.  Which isn’t easy.
The rules state that CRA charities can only use funds in a specific manner – which means we can’t just always hand over cash – as a matter of fact, you can only hand over cash to another CRA charity.  “Qualified Donees” is what the legislation calls it.
 
So that means we need to buy things that not for profits can use to further their stated goals as a use of our funds. 
In 2018, we tested our disbursement process with much internal discussion about the accountability, legal liability, and other factors associated with disbursement of the funds we raised.

In case you didn’t see us tell people about it – here is the news piece from the launch of TRB 2018, where we bought a piece of equipment.  This was a portable sawmill that Rally Point Retreat wanted and needed as part of their PTSD programs on their property in Nova Scotia.  We spent around $5000 on the mill and its pieces.

And now we are ready to spend more.  But we need to do our due diligence.

Our process (so far) is fairly simple –
Groups that wish funding will submit applications to MMI.  It will not be a “first come, first served”.  We will establish a time frame that funds will be disbursed and applications will be comparatively analysed by a committee established for exactly that purpose.

We are still building the application form webpage, but it will be coming soon.  In short terms, here is what we are likely looking at:
Requests need to be from registered (provincial or federal) organization that fall within the realm of support and advancement of PTSD programs, or research.
We will ask for things like –
tell us about you- all the social media pages, websites etc, (brag a bunch),
copy of your organization constitution/bylaws – to show us your mandate,
information about the programs,
stats about participation,
what you are asking us for?  and,
what it will help provide for your program?

That will start the conversation. We want to help those groups that are outside the mainstream of funding like MMI is.

We are growing, we aren’t perfect, and our new board of directors will be launching into 2019 with a newly articulated vision and purpose that we hope will make everyone pay attention to us.  We look forward to everyone following along and joining us.

Please check out all the various pages of MMI and its subsidiary event(s), subscribe to the websites to get emailed updates when we launch them.  There will be different lists you can subscribe to so that you only get the updates from the area that you want. The area to subscribe to MMI general news updates is on the right side of the desktop.
Check out other areas where we are online –
Instagram – MMI and TRB
Twitter – MMI
We will continue to increase our online footprint, please show us some online love and follow, subscribe, and share our content.

We thank you for your support and encourage checking out our webstore often as we are getting ready to build upon new ideas and move into a great future.

More information coming soon. Feel free to drop us a line with questions.

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The Canadian Military Tribute Truck Video

As Military Minds Inc grows our volunteers get the opportunity to meet many amazing people and many amazing organizations. One of our many friends had the opportunity to have his tribute truck videoed by a young man, who has taken the time to create an amazing video about the tribute truck and will be donating any money made from the video to a veterans charity called Can Praxis.

Continue reading The Canadian Military Tribute Truck Video

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Am I Alone?

Am I alone?

I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I failed. I’ve got so much to be thankful for right? I’m alive. That’s got to count for something doesn’t it?
But still my heart is heavy, a dark hole that seems to pull on me. It has no direction or function, just a gravity like pressure that lingers under a wire tight level of hypervigilance.
One minute I feel invincible and the next as though I could be crushed like those forgotten stale potato chips on the couch when someone sits down.

Of course there are all the memories. Not the fun ones of skiing or dirtbiking, no. The intrusive ones that pop up unexpectedly when something as simple as a name rolls in the credits on television. Those only compound when your brain has been twisted by concussions so severe they are often unchartable. The confusion wreaks havoc through the wiring in my head at a dizzying rate and I question myself on a regular basis if I’m losing my mind. I’ve cheated myself out of death more times than I can recall. Suicide wish? HELL No. Been there, done that. I’m just testing deaths resolve. Fuck death.

Am I alone?

My eyes ache from staring at a ceiling hidden in the natural darkness of my room. The ceiling fan whirls it’s blades in a futile attempt to calm me. The physical pains all start to pound their individual messages with each heartbeat, reminding me that there is more to my battered existence than “just” PTSD. I’ve slept a total of 14 hours, all interrupted, in the past five days and I wonder how anyone can endure years of this sort of subconscious abuse.

Am I alone?

How do I ever trust anyone ever again when the betrayals began almost at birth and only worsened as I watched humanity tear itself limb from limb in battle? Then of course the global community exonerated those who committed the atrocities two decades later. How do I trust when those I swore to defend rewrite the rules to balance their books and cast my brothers and I through the cracks of care? When the citizens are more concerned about celebrity nausea and walk around in ignorant texting zombie bliss.

Nobody beats me up like I do.

Am I alone?

 

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Dear Decision Makers

Dear Decision Makers,
“I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
Am I the only one who remembers day 1 in reception and seeing that phrase everywhere, on every wall, on every recruiting poster? Am I the only one in uniform that memorized those words???
At what fucking point did it become “I will never leave a fallen comrade….unless”
Forgive me, I’m a little pissed off right now. I just lost a soldier to suicide a week ago and I had to sit there and keep my mouth shut while I listened to officer after officer tell some grieving soldiers “Don’t go it alone.” “We are here for you.” “Ask for help. We’re here” “It won’t affect your military career.”
Sorry, but that’s complete bullshit. Because I’m staring at an email in my phone right now that’s sent to no less than 25 people of various commands and positions that concerned 18 soldier’s careers. God forbid that the medical NCO have to send 18 emails to 18 different commands. Let’s just put a blanket statement out there about everyone’s business to everyone. (Because nothing stops suicidal thoughts more than embarassment)
What was the letter? It was concerning med boards on the 18 soldiers and informing every one of the 25 people that those soldiers were not going to be allowed to train with the unit.
(People’s medical issues are everyone’s business….Every medical professional knows this right?)
What in the actual fuck??
Then they have the nerve to sit there and A) act surprised that a soldier just took his own life without reaching out for help once. (Yes, he was part of this unit) and B) Stand in front of soldiers grieving for his loss and tell them that “Your secret is safe with us, ask for help.” (translation: We’ve got operators standing by to fuck your career up.)
Then bring the very non-combat veteran, CIVILIAN who is allowed to dictate soldiers fates based purely on paperwork out to the field to ask them if they need help.
Are you serious? Do you honestly think that people don’t talk? That the information in small communities is passed around in latrines and over beers and on golf courses, in conversations in the field and at training schools??
Do you think that word hasn’t gotten to the lowest of ranks that if you ask for help, you’re fucked? That it ends your career? Do you honestly think this kid and several other soldiers (22 a day if you’re not tracking) aren’t thinking the exact same thing when they choose to not ask for help and end it all?
What in the hell is in your Soldier’s Creed?? I must have missed the goddamn memo about it being edited and resubmitted with the selfish service clause.
Psst….You…..yes you…who are ending people’s careers because they tried to end their misery before ending their life………..are you aware that veterans and current service members are killing themselves faster and more efficiently than the enemy?
22 of them every day.
Your shit is weak!
You’re doing it wrong slapnuts!!
How about you pull that smart book out of your attic, dust that son of a bitch off, stand in front of a mirror and recite your creed. For once, try to remember that you are a soldier, because there’s a few hundred thousand out there that will never be able to forget it.
~Pitchfork

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We Walk Among Them

We walk among them in disbelief. Those poor unfortunate souls that think they’re making a political statement standing on a helpless inanimate symbol of the very freedom that allows them to live such a protected life where they have the time to exercise such stupidity. We stand at the register in the grocery store looking at a litany of magazines caught up in what morons like Kanye and the Kardashians and are up to. We see them in the streets struggling to hurry to the job they hate in order to make payments on the car they bought to impress everyone around them. We stare blankly into the eyes of the crowd gathered outside the apple store discussing how they just can’t wait for the next new Ipersonality device to come out so they can be just that much cooler.


We stare at them on days like today, the sales, the lake trips, the grill sessions and the parties with a comfortable ambivalence and the absolute absence of fucks given. We quietly remember our fallen.


Why? Because we are walking, living breathing history. We have spent years of our lives denying ourselves the comforts of this world to deal with the ugliness of it. Just as Lorde says We’ll never be royals.

However, we have lived and walked this Earth as Gods. We will never know what it’s like to owe anyone our most prized possession………our freedom.

~Pitchfork

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On the Outside

Tag someone you know who’s on the outside, who’s not part of the clique at school or the best dresser, or in supermodel shape or who might be struggling. Tag someone who needs to hear that they matter. Because they do.

The other day I was talking with a friend and overheard her say “Who’s going to find me worth anything?” and it ticked me off. Why? Because I was willing to die for her and every other social misfit out there. So this one’s for you, the kid who’s getting bullied, the single mother just getting by, the musician who’s parents wanted a quarterback, for the kid who never knew they were special to anyone. All of us, all the vets from all over the world. We were all willing to fight and die for you. That makes you pretty damned special I think.

By the way, don’t sweat the opinion of the crowd. We weren’t the cool kids either.

~Pitchfork.

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Some Fires

I’ve sat back and watched as my life had fallen apart around me. Wondering what the hell had happened, yet knowing full well that my actions caused it. I’ve learned multiple times of brothers who have taken their own lives. With one as recent as just a week ago. I’ve marveled in disgust at how our respective governments have ironically allowed us to dangle in the breeze.

It brings back that deep-seated rage that comes from the betrayal of whats right. I’m talking about how humanity betrays itself on a daily basis and we are forced to live in its mire.

There are two choices in this,
1) allow it to consume you and become one of them; a soulless wolf
2) find balance and extinguish a fire that has no purpose, and watch over our brothers.

The choice is yours, but only one will bring you the peace you know you desire deep down in your soul of souls.
~Bronco

some fires

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Two Worlds Apart

How is it that as people we can sit in the same rooms and be two worlds apart from each other. I am finding this to be a current and reoccurring issue with my wife as many of us I am sure have found us to be in the same situations. Time and time again I read stories where us as Service Members and Veterans have our worlds fall apart due to the ones we love not understanding the people that we are in todays sense of the word. How is this so possible, where have we gone wrong? Well in my beliefs I do not believe that either of us have truly gone wrong at all, I believe that we both have different expectations as to how we are supposed to act now that we are ‘different’ than society seems to think we truly should be. Aren’t we still the loving caring people that we once were? Yes, yes we are! However we tend to show that differently in the present tenths than we ever have in the past, we have changed, we have learned a love language that is different from those around us. When a Vet is in trouble or needs some advice we all tend to jump at the opportunity to help them in anyway shape or form that we possibly can. Why can we not do this for those who love us to the bone though? That answer is a little more vague at the root of the question. Why do we turn the so called ‘other cheek’ to those that we care about and surround ourselves with but we can stand tall and proud with those that we don’t even know from a world away. I find this to be tearing my current marriage to shreds with the door open for my wife to walk out and not really have a second glance. Where possibly have I gone wrong in the dealings with family? At this point I truly am not sure, even as I write this my wife sits in the room next to me not knowing what I am doing as it’s not for her concern in my mind. This is where I come to a fault and I know this but I am not sure how to approach the situation. We have to come to these crossroads in our lives from time to time to find the true person we are meant to be. I might be rambling at this point as I do not know where to go, where is my next step supposed to be. I know the things that I have to do but would I rather take that step with those I am comfortable with or would I rather share with the woman who is supposed to be in my life until my last breath. This is a crossroad that I am sure many of you have passed not knowing if you have made the correct answer but where does this discussion lead us? I leave you with this, as a help to your brothers and sisters and a discussion amongst yourselves, what do you do? Where do you leave this piece?

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Philosophical

People say, “You’re so philosophical now.”

After 22yrs of dealing with demons of what cannot be unseen, sometimes conquering, sometimes failing miserably, I have spent many days in reflection. To find some semblance of balance is one of the keys to dealing with PTSD. Balance comes through understanding. Balance, Peace…call it what you may.


~Bronco

Peace Cannot