“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
I have wandered, not always lost, for most of my life. I have long said that I live in a dialectical solitude: I have purposely explored the far corners of life looking for truth and wisdom and believing it can be found in the most unlikely places. I look at everyone as a possible teacher and every place as a possible classroom. I often envy my friends who a resolute in their politics and have a fixed world view. I am sometimes jealous of my friends who have lived in one place the majority of their lives. Geographically searching for answers to endless questions can be lonely: The distance between answers requires the patience and resolve of a seaman who knows he may never see land again and suffers less at the hand of rough waters than the introspection and doubt that is a great part of any quest.
I have to do this trip. It is as much for my own health as it is a chance to expose people to the realities of suicide, trauma and the tools required to survive invisible wounds. It is a chance to open doors and ready a welcome for the thousands soon to be heading home from conflict and trauma. It is the chance to maybe save a life or two.
I hope you will come along. I will be writing here on the blog and in newsletters more and using Facebook less. Their misguided moves toward stockholder governance and increased revenues with diminished regard for the communities they serve threatens the “social” in social media and has prompted me to return to more conventional methods of communication.
Thank you for being part of this journey so far. Especially to those of you who have suffered along with me as I learned how to execute the business parts of this adventure. You’ve been kind beyond measure and I ask with great humility for you to travel with me once more on the most important trip to date.
Again, my philosophy is “Something for something.” I have put together some great perks for helping with this next book. I have made them easier to provide and distribute since the last adventure. Here is the link to participate: FETCH: TRAVELS WITH GANDER
- “Fetch: Travels With Gander” will feature 22 interviews with the families of veterans lost to home-front battles with PTSD and trauma recovery and contain takes of people we meet along the way who now know Post Traumatic Success as survivors of Trauma: war, accidents, sexual abuse…
- Since the publication of In Dogs We Trust (a successful Indiegogo funded campaign) Gander, Service Dog and Veteran Traveler Lon Hodge have traveled 17 states in service to veterans and trauma survivors. They have visited dozens of hospitals, community groups, and businesses advocating for veterans, trauma survivors, service dogs, and alternatives to suicide. Since the book Gander, through his Facebook page, has helped place dozens of survivors with service dogs, donated thousands of dollars worth of books to veterans and senior citizens hospitalized, and volunteered hundreds of hours of crisis help, and dozens of internet media and community seminars and workshops
- This next book will personalize 22 of the stories of the 8,000 veterans lost to suicide annually in America. During the journey they will chronicle the Post Traumatic Successes of those who have won their battles with pain and isolation.
- We will develop a PACK of community members and carry out their charitable wishes: Planned Acts of Community Kindness will permit Gander and Veteran Traveler to identify survivors in short term (and legitimate) need that the PACK can easily help directly and with confidence.
- We will publicly perform a Taps Ceremony nightly in every city we visit during which we read the names of 22 veterans lost to suicide. That is the number of veterans who are lost daily to self inflicted wounds.
What We Need & What You Get
It is simpler this year:
- Our needs are meager. We need the money to travel to interviews and to take care of gas, room and board during the travel. And we need a few items prior to departing: Suicide prevention and awareness brochures, PTSD and service dog literature, a simple movie capable camera, and Portable Bluetooth speakers and microphones.
- The perks are simpler this year 😉 We learned last year that we needed to simplify our giveaways and make them immediately accessible to supporters. This year’s perks are already in stock and will be mailed immediately after the campaign ends. We have also added in postage costs.
- All Tees, In Dogs We Trust Books, Coins and Coffee will be sent immediately.
We hope to spread hope, educate the general public and lower the suicide rate among veterans and others through education and greater awareness. One of the biggest challenges facing PTSD and trauma sufferers is the stigmas still attached to them. Only by being more openly public can we overcome that….
- Over 300 people have emailed or messaged us this year to say that Gander has helped them in some way. We feel compelled to continue the journey
- This is our 3rd Indigogo campaign in 3 years. We learn more each time….
- There but for the grace of God and Gander go I… I hope we can, in our small way, make a difference.
- Here is the best of the many interviews we did this year: Gander, Service Dog
- Here is a fantastic article by Rick Kambic that made the front page of the Lake County Tribune: Chicago Article
Other Ways You Can Help
Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help:
- Get the word out and make some noise about your campaign.
- Use the Indiegogo share tools!
- Share our updates on our Facebook wall at http://facebook.com/ganderservicedog
- Invite us to come to your town ( veterantraveler at veterantraveler.com )
- Help us identify families to interview. Please use the address above
- Just be a positive member of our community there…
- Read our blog at http://veterantraveler.com
And that’s all there is to it!