Be Thankful for What You’ve Got!
Be Thankful for What You’ve Got!
Dec. 1, 2017
Hello everyone, I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. As we are slowly slipping back into work proceeded by a weekend of chowing down pounds of home cooked turkey and side dishes, let us take this time and talk about what makes us thankful. What makes Thanksgiving so special? Do we exactly know the reasons why we even celebrate it? Do we simply celebrate the holiday because, traditionally, Americans like to consume large amounts of food while having that post-guilt caused by overeating?
As my girlfriend and I were prepping for Thanksgiving last week, I couldn’t help but to reflect on all of the things that I’ve been blessed with. I had one of those moments when we were sitting down eating at the dinner table at my roommate’s family home. They welcomed us with open arms. As I looked around the table, I couldn’t help thinking the number of times I’ve had a Thanksgiving meal with different friends or families throughout the years. I remembered being stationed in Hawaii back in 2007, we recently returned from a combat deployment from Iraq, and none of my roommates had plans to return to the stateside for Thanksgiving. This was probably my 3rd or 4th time away from my family for the holiday while serving in military, and I anticipated another frozen dinner I would normally purchase at the commissary. But that year it was special; my roommate decided to have a Friend’s Giving meal instead, where everyone had to cook a dish of their choice. The four of us whipped up a whole turkey, cranberry sauce, collard greens, mac n’ cheese, candy yams, and pumpkin pie! We feasted like kings from medieval times, and definitely felt the itis afterward. It was moments like these that made me appreciate having people like my roommate who understand how difficult it could be to spend the holiday away from our family. We all served in the same unit and overseas together, and having comradery made us a become a tight-knit family. The Friend’s Giving meal that year would have a special place in my heart because that was our last time breaking bread together as one.
It was a moment of reflection, like looking from the outside in, and it reminded me of an old phrase, “age is just a number”. I never realized at the age of 31 I would reflect and ask myself, what have I accomplished up to this point? I thought about this crazy journey I’ve decided to take on when I enlisted in the U.S. Army after I graduated from high school in 2004. From doing all the crazy things the military has to offer, then serving in Iraq for 15 months and coming home without a scratch, I have to say I had a guarding angel watching over me, and some people to thank along the way.
The moment I lost my leg in the motorcycle accident made me realize I am lucky to be alive, and even more thankful to the people I encountered who helped me to become who I am today. Now I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but being thankful is not something you should consider doing once a year, but instead it should be something you think about daily. People I’m always thankful for are fellows like my former CrossFit coaches, Mike and Angelina Martinez. I met Mike and his wife, Anji, in 2010 at a CrossFit box called Alamo CrossFit. They started an adaptive CrossFit program for wounded and injured service members who were looking to find a more stimulating way to push themselves than a normal rehab routine program assigned by their physical therapist.
Their goal is to help the service members to become fully functional in their movements despite their physical injuries or limitations. They never charged any wounded warriors to train at their gym, and all they asked is to be always positive, and give 110% every time. Another person I’m always thankful for is one of the most heartwarming people I’ve ever crossed paths with, Mrs. Janis Roznowski. I met Janis back in 2009 while I was rehabbing in San Antonio, Texas. She is a retired American Airline flight attendant who decided she wanted to help wounded and injured service members by supporting them recreationally and financially.
She created a non-profit organization called, Operation Comfort in San Antonio for service members recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center and Audie Murphy VA Hospital. Because of her adaptive sports program, I was introduced to sled hockey, in which I later exceled to become a Paralympic athlete. Then, I’d have to be thankful for my boss, Eric Basek, who granted me an internship when I needed it most. I am less than 9 credit hours from obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management, and an internship is a requirement for my degree plan to graduate.
I met Eric when he was working for another organization back in 2014, and I’m thankful every day that him and I have crossed paths. Because of him, I am on schedule to graduate by Spring of 2018.
As I’m getting closer to the end of my fall semester, my internship with Stay Safe Foundation is coming to an end as well. I really hope all of you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoyed writing it, and sharing my personal stories to you all. When Eric asked me what my role would be I realized it would be here, at Stay Safe Foundation. I told him my words of encouragement, and the way I looked at life in a different perspective due to my personal experience, and how I could possibly mentor anyone who is having difficulty figuring out who they really are. No matter how tough the situation, you must have the will to fight because in the end it’s up to you. We all have the willpower within us to do great things for one another, but we must step out of our comfort zone, and help each other without an expectation of anything in return. Be thankful for the current situation you’re in, and always have a positive mindset because someone will always be there for you. I want to wish everyone a happy late Thanksgiving and a safe holiday. Make sure to thank a veteran, police officers, or a service member for their service and their sacrifice for our freedom!
P.S. I also want to thank my girlfriend Erica who is my main Editor in Chief for all the blogs that I’ve done. Without her, this would not be a such a charming blog.