I didn’t expect it to go like this. 5 months ago, we instituted a new initiative where every GORUCK Challenge class organized a “Service Action” - something that made their community a little better. GORUCK Nation has spearheaded gravestone cleaning operations, food donations to homeless shelters, stuff like that that nobody at the end of their days says man, I did too much of that.
It’s been really feelgood to watch it unfold.
But I didn’t expect Spokane. It was my first time as Cadre for a Challenge with a Service Action - a bunch of us were in town to meet with Joe and his team. If you own a piece of GORUCK’s USA Built Apparel, they built it. Now they wanted a piece of the Challenge and fair is fair.
Yeah, yeah get to the point.
Christine from Joe’s team organized the Service Action - I saw a bunch of collected stuff at their offices the day before and she had a shelter all picked out. “Cool” I thought. Actions are not supposed to involve guilting or otherwise asking people for whatever $$ they have in their wallet, we’re supposed to meet people and do something, together. Her plan looked good.
By morning the Challenge was going great - ask them they’ll tell you - and the team leader followed the plan and got us where we needed to drop off the stuff. The team had piles of diapers and wipes and clothes and formula, stuff like that, and they’re dropping it off inside in the living room of a house with a lot of moms and a lot of kids.
Emily and I have three kids 5 and under at home, all of this stuff is a part of our daily lives - but this story isn’t about my kids so much as my past.
So then we meet the gracious lady who runs the place. She’s ecstatic with the donations, and everyone can hear the moms inside sounding like it’s Christmas morning. She explained what they do:
We provide housing and resources for single mothers who are under the age of 20. We bring them and their child in, give them a place to stay that’s safe, and help them out with stuff they need to get back on their feet. What you’ve brought here makes a huge difference in their lives. Thank you.
She had me at moms under the age of 20. You see, my mom was 18 when she had me. I can only imagine how hard it was, or would be. She graduated early from high school and went into hiding until I was born. That doesn’t sound easy at any age, let alone 18.
I’m glad I was wearing sunglasses so nobody could see me tear up. I asked the moms gathered around if anyone wanted to watch the class get hosed off and sing God Bless the USA. They all - kids included - seemed eager for the entertainment. And I can relate to that with a fist bump no less, just like I do with my lil’ Jack back home.
Singing and hosing and smiles all around as our worlds collided for a few moments in time, for the better.
Before we left, I pulled the class in and thanked them for organizing this. I told them it hit home especially because way back when, who knows, if this or that went just a little differently, my mom could’ve been at a place just like this. That little boy with the big smile and the fist to bump could’ve been me, and the more of stuff like this we all do, the greater his opportunity to do something meaningful with his life will be.
So thanks for this, it means more than you’ll ever know.
And then we were off. As is to be expected, those doing the giving got more than they gave. I’m first on that list.
So if you do a GORUCK Challenge, you never know what you’ll get to do, who you’ll get to meet, or the little bit of good you’ll get to be a part of.
And don’t forget your sunglasses, just in case.
GORUCK Tough, Class 2386 & GORUCK Light, Class 1611