If you can believe it, we are already in our second week of Warped Tour. This summer marks the sixteenth year of Warped and the crew has once again done an outstanding job bringing us a dynamic line-up of bands, vendors and non-profits. We are so fortunate to be able to set up every day at this festival.
Emily and I are holding down the fort (tent) right now. We’ve also had some great volunteers, which helps so much. It is so good to see some familiar faces at the festival already. Thank you to you guys who have come up to talk and who support TWLOHA. It fuels us and helps us make it through every day of this tour.
And while we meet so many supporters who believe in our message, we also meet some who are skeptical. Last week, a younger man named Scott came asking about our organization. He walked up to the booth, read our mission statement, and asked, “I can see this (the mission statement on an info card) but I want to know what you really do to help?” After I explained to him what the organization does, he immediately opened up and shared some of his story. Once, in a moment of desperation, he was very close to attempting suicide. The only thing that kept him alive had been his wife coming home. Perfect timing. He is now seeking therapy and professional help.
At the Warped Tour stop in Ventura, all of the security guards were volunteers. And not just any volunteers, but military. A whole battalion had given up their time on a Sunday to make sure that the people at Warped were safe and having a good time. I ended up striking a conversation with one guard named Kevin. Kevin was short and had red hair. He looked young and his face was burnt from the long day. I pointed out his sunburn and we just started chatting from there. I explained the mission of TWLOHA and why we want to be at events like this, and he explained to me how he has suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He has been deployed to Iraq twice, and is now at home seeking help for his PTSD and spending time with his family.
Both of these young men share at least three things in common: they are both military veterans, they have seen the dark places that hurt and are hard to get out of, and both of them are seeking help to lift them out of those places. The reason I share both of these with you is because both of the stories of these young men are so hopeful. They both provide hope and show stories of redemption.
The government has a program called Military One Source for anyone who has served and is struggling that will assist and help pay for help. Both of these men have utilized these programs and found help. If you are struggling and feel like you need some assistance, I hope Kevin and Scott’s stories have given you some encouragement to seek it out.
I want to thank all of you again for coming to the tent to show support or curiosity. And thank you to Scott and Kevin for sharing some personal things. Kevin’s wife is pregnant with their first child, and he finds out soon whether it is a boy or girl.
Good luck Scott and Kevin. You made my day.
PS: CLICK HERE to see all upcoming Warped Tour dates.