On September 5th I (George Paul Scheppler)will be taking on a personal “Stay the course challenge” by swimming across a 3 mile stretch of Monterey Bay, twice. The evolution will begin with a free class offered at Crossfit Systematic in Pacific Grove, which I will lead, designed to bond our community together, and raise awareness of the mission of Red Circle, and encourage others to join our fight. I will also be discussing the roles myself and fellow veterans must fulfill within the country we came home to. Then I will swim 3 miles or so across the bay to Monterey, where I will repeat the process at Crossfit Monterey before returning to the sea to complete my journey.
Too long have we (GWOT veterans) been made out to be broken, pill popping, VA dependent, charity cases. We served in the finest military the world has ever seen, cheated death, learned how to lead, learned how to follow, but most importantly we learned that when we work together we can accomplish anything. Now its time to action that knowledge, we must step out of the shadows to help build back our proud nation.
We must step forward and volunteer in our communities as coaches, mentors, and as politicians. We must bond together to stop this epidemic that is veteran suicide, because the VA isn’t going to do anything in time. If we are not careful a whole generation of warfighter will be wiped away from our culture.
I was initially drawn to the Red Circle Foundation after reading Brandon Webb’s book while serving in the United States Navy. I became an active member of the organization when I heard that they gave 100% of the donations to the people who needed it most.
The swim itself will challenge me in ways I have never been pushed before. Its longer, sharkier, and less traveled then any other distance swim I have attempted in the past. I will have a support team of good friends, athletes, and brothers in arms escorting me across in kayaks, but all are welcome to join me on the return trip from Monterey to PG.
It is going to hurt, its going to take a while, but its worth it if we can help just one family in their moment of greatest need.