By now there are a couple of things you know about me.
1. I will do everything I can to help a Veteran in need.
2. Before I reach out for help from anyone else I'm going to check out that Veteran, his claim, and the degree to which I think he is seeing reality.
3. As much as the psychiatric establishment wants to be the source of help for those veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, it's the veterans themselves who are the best providers of aid and comfort to each other.
4. When it comes to the Greening of America I'm a conservationist's worst nightmare. Indifference best characterizes my attitude towards the many green schemes presented at Daily Kos. It's not that I don't care - it's that I have my hands full with Veterans issues. However, when you can show me something that combines helping veterans deal with Posttraumatic Stress with a great and cost effective green scheme, I'll pay attention.
With that in mind, if you haven't met him before, let me introduce you to The Veterans Green Bus and its' godfather, Gordon Soderberg. Gordon is a pioneer in employing cost effective Biodiesel, Solar, and Geothermal energy conservation. When he and his crew aren't providing disaster relief [more about that in a minute], they are showing people alternative and cheaper sources of energy. That's not what brought my attention to The Veterans Green Bus.
But first, the disaster relief business.Last December when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas was Far Rockaway, NY. Among the first people to show up as volunteers to help with the disaster relief were veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. They were Team Rubicon. Gordon drove The Green Bus filled with veterans and about $50,000 in tools, rakes, shovels and brooms donated by Home Depot from Chicago to New York and joined Team Rubicon. After a month of hard work, Team Rubicon turned the cleanup over to AmeriCorps, and AmeriCorps turned its' cleanup of Far Rockaway over to New York Cares. Each organization relied on The Veterans Green Bus to provide the command post. Gordon Soderberg and the Veterans working with him stayed and worked hard for 5 months.
Be sure to go to full screen when watching this.
I talked with Freddie Piscina [if you are a Harley biker, you will love Freddie's story] a Far Rockway, NY, resident and motorcycle shop owner, about Gordon and his team. Freddie's shop had 5 1/2 feet of water in it when he met Gordon and Jake Kimmel. They led a team of veterans who, according to Piscina, "had the biggest hearts and most amazing work ethic I have ever seen. They waded into deep, black water to retrieve some of my best tools - stuff I can't replace." For 5 months - long after the cameras left - Team Rubicon working out of The Veterans Green Bus continued to help the people of Far Rockaway.
. . . and this is what about The Veteran's Green Bus caught my attention.Last week I talked with Team Rubicon founder William McNulty. According to McNulty, Gordon immediately responded to McNulty's request for help. The volunteers Gordon brought with him are now home. While they were there, they had a sense of purpose, and they worked themselves to complete exhaustion day after day. Post Traumatic Stress never had a chance to control them.
Being together with other veterans provides them with a sense of community, and the adrenalin rush seems to combat PTSD. According to McNulty without work to do with other veterans Team Rubicon at home reverts to a bunch of guys who drink too much, smoke too much, and don't accomplish much else. You know that has to stop.
The Veteran's Green Bus had an electrical fire and had nothing to do with the Green application - but it's almost ready to roll
Go to details about the fire here.
Message this AM from Gordon Soderberg:Then the tires need to be replaced. Cost $400 - $600 X 10 = $3,000 to $3,600.
The Veterans Green Bus is running, the repairs and maintenance has been completed. Now, to pay the bill of $4,875.00. It was cheaper than replacing her.
To date we have raised a little over $3,000. We are very close to being on the road we just need a little push over this last hill.
That gets The Veterans Green Bus rolling again. Last week I sent an e-mail to Michelin Tires appealing for a set of tires for Large Marg. So far, no answer.
Meanwhile, Gordon has a video update [actually begins at :30]:
"We are a 501.C3 non profit so any donations will be tax deductible. Checks can also be sent to: United Peace Relief P. O. Box 591 Ukiah, CA 95482 remember to put the Veterans Green Bus in the memo. Direct donations start here:
United Peace Relief
The Veterans Green Bus Project
One last thing: If you have a touring bus like those used by country / country western bands, Gordon can convert that vehicle to a Green - or should I say grease - energy bus. The conversion cost is roughly $8,000.00 - $10,000. It will pay for itself in 2,500 to 5,000 miles.