BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) – Parades, dedications, free dinners and more. It is a heartwarming experience to see the generation of soldiers who have served our country get all the applause and attention they deserve.
There are some veterans out of Bardstown who are putting all vets on alert.
If it is still in your heart to serve and they have their way, you too can be part of an American Legion overseas deployment
"There's nothing harder - and I don't want to tear up - than to lose a brother or sister," explained Dr. Pete Trzop, the commander of American Legion Post 121.
Trzops defines a brother or sister not by DNA but by blood, the spilling and mixing of blood on the battle field. That is what makes all soldiers brothers and sisters.
Trzop quickly rattles off a list from the top of his head, "Young and old, different wars, men and women, black and white. It doesn't matter."
Who that soldier is doesn't matter. Where that soldier came from doesn't matter. The branch of military the soldier serves in doesn't matter. What does matter, the terrifying rate of suicide and the incidence of PTSD in the U.S. military. The U.S. department of defense reveals suicide is now the leading cause of death among active-duty soldiers.
Trzop stressed with force, "It's not about politics. I don't care about that stuff. All I got to worry about is soldiers."
Dr. Trzop is very worried. As a disabled American veteran, he has walked in the same shoes as an active-duty soldier. He has walked in their combat boots. He understands how they feel. Trzop and a group of disabled veterans from Kentucky faced Washington and the State of Kentucky for a different kind of fight to support our troops. They wanted to spend time with our troops in the field. With soldiers facing so much stress and so many numbers of deployments, veterans in the theater of operation may be able to aid the soldiers in many ways. Convincing the military was not easy.
Trzop asked, "Why don't we deploy with the troops. Why don't we support them in the field? A lot of them don't understand their VA claim, they don't understand medical if they get injured, they don't have a touch of home."
"Touch" was the most important part of the procedure. For soldiers fighting two wars, a battle against an enemy on foreign soil and an internal conflict with family and financial stress, the veterans support could literally be a life-saver.
Jeff Kennedy, a Dessert Storm vet, wholeheartedly agreed, "Every veteran needs somebody to talk to. They don't need to wait three months for an appointment. They need to talk then and there."
Kennedy believes silence has the loudest voice. A silent soldier could be a blaring call for helps, whether that soldier is in the field in Iraq or a field of bluegrass in Kentucky.
"Facebooks nice but it's not gonna get you there. There's nothing like touching somebody. There's nothing like hugging somebody," Trzop emphasized. Touch is so important one of the members of the six team deployment is Pam Blain, a licensed massage therapist. The mission also includes providing troops with direct support with federal and state benefits, veteran's administration information and policies, care packages, giveaways, licensed massage therapy, membership and other areas of assistance.
There's not another program like this in the United States and possibly the world.
It is with pride Trzops said, "This is it. This is what we call "Tip Of The Spear."The first time."
He does not want it to be the last time and the Kentucky troop does not want to be the only ones deployed to help their fellow soldiers. Their goal is to have a team of vets ready to deploy where ever our soldiers are deployed to fight for our freedom. Their dream is for the United States to equip every state like Ohio, Indiana and Atlanta with a "Tip Of The Spear" troop.
"I need those legions and those veterans in those communities to go visit those troops as well," Trzop almost pleads.
Some soldiers survive war but in the end the war still kills them. "The Tip of the Spear" will fight to lift our soldier's spirits and support them only as a brother or sister could. The veterans are ready to deploy except for the funds. With no federal grant, they are depending on our help.
Proudly Trzop said, "Everything goes to this 100 percent. There's no administrative cost. It all goes to them."
All the money collected by Kentucky American legion post 121 will get to support the troop the deployment team will meet. All the husbands, fathers, sisters, mothers, brothers, and wives will get what they need and deserve for fighting and caring for our country.
"That's our commitment," says Trzop proudly.
The mission team consists of the current members: Pam Blain post 157, Anthony Noe Post 81, Rob Augustine civilian, Jim Lish Post 81, Doug Alexander FOP and deputy chaplain and Dr. Pete Trzop post 121. Consideration for two more positions in the process of selection.
The estimated cost per team member is $3,000 plus additional costs of soldier support with care packages, membership and other support. All monies go directly to support the soldiers. The donation is tax deductible.
The $3,000 needed for each member will include airfare, housing, food and incidentals (e.g. Passport and Visa.) Additional monies and support will be used for direct support for items requested by or needed by the soldiers. Examples of those items would be batteries, music cards, calling cards, laptops and other items soldiers can use in their time away from their loved ones.
Support for this mission can come in the form of fundraisers, donations, volunteers and other creative ways to make this mission better for our soldiers. Team members are available for presentations around the State. All monies and donations will be made to the American Legion as to ensure accountability and integrity of the fundraising process.
Checks can be mailed to:
Kentucky American legion
KY American Legion Overseas Project (on check and envelope)
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