Episode 319 Wendy Shackley Empowering Military Families through The Ripple Effect Transcript

This transcript is from episode 319 with guest Wendy Shackley.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And this episode, I just want to give a little bit of a warning to the listeners and the audience here. This episode will cover topics like death and suicide. So I want to provide that warning to the audience before we get into it. Um, if that’s not something that you’re ready to listen to, uh, please turn the episode off and tune into the next episode.

Um, and we’ll, we’ll, you know, continue from there. But today my guest is Wendy Shackley. Wendy is the creator of the ripple effect, helping veterans and families heal, uh, which is a nonprofit geared towards helping veterans and their families heal from the traumas that they’ve experienced, uh, during their, their military service.

Um, Her son, Joel, uh, served in the army and tragically lost, uh, was lost to suicide. Um, and so we’re going to talk about, uh, her story, her son’s story and, and how she got into, uh, doing what she’s doing now with, uh, with her [00:01:00] nonprofit. So welcome to the show, Wendy. I’m really glad to have you here.

Wendy Shackley: Well, thank you so much.

I really appreciate your time, Scott. And um, yes, I’ll, I’d love to introduce myself. My name is Wendy Shackley. I am, um, a. I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I also went back to school later in life and got a bachelor’s in psychology. And also, um, I’m a writer. I published my first book. It’s called Living It is Loving It.

I’m holding up my book right here. Uh, Tools To Release The Power Within You After My First Husband Died Of A, Um, A Terminal Illness Called Huntington’s Disease. Uh, Ended Up Raising My Children, Um, Basically By Myself Over A 18 Year Period While He Was Sick. And I Also, Uh, Am Writing My Second Book And That Second Book Will Be My, My [00:02:00] Son’s Poems When He Went Through Reintegration.

And this will be me as a Gold Star mom working to understand what he wrote in his poems about reintegration. And I will be doing an interpretation and then giving my readers the chance to interpret. And I wanted to kind of clarify what a gold star mom was. Um, a gold star mom is someone who starts out there, there’s behind me, I have a, uh, a gold star flag and it is a blue gold star inside of a blue star.

And I started out as a Blue Star mom, which meant that my son went overseas and after, after he enlisted and I became a Blue Star mom and I supported him from here. And then when he came back, [00:03:00] a lot of times they don’t come back and they die overseas. But when he came back, he had the hidden wounds of war.

And what ended up happening is that he could not reintegrate, and he ended up, uh, completing suicide. And I became a Gold Star Mom because the very first thing that happened was, uh, his PTSD, and then he also had a traumatic brain injury. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: And so having those, those issues coming back, uh, from, uh, from combat, uh, are…

Unfortunately, a reality of, um, military service and something that happens to people. Um, you can’t necessarily predict it, uh, going into it. Um, I wish we could, I wish we had the, these ways of, of saying, Hey, this is going to happen to you while you’re over there and we should prepare you for this. Um, you know, [00:04:00] we can obviously, you know, do better work at preparing for the mental health side of things, but, but when you deal with other, uh, physical injuries, uh, like a TBI from.

You know, any number of things, explosions and things along those lines, uh, those are Something that you can’t really prepare for. Um, you don’t know if those are going to happen or not. And, um, and if they do, um, there’s not really much that you can do as far as I know that you can prepare for beforehand.

But, um, I want to talk a little bit more about you and your background, your story, uh, and your son’s story, uh, a little bit more, but, uh, we’re going to cut to a quick commercial break here. So stay tuned. Everybody. Shackley, who. Uh, runs the nonprofit, The Ripple Effect, helping veterans and families heal. Um, Wendy lost her son, uh, to suicide a few years ago.

And, um, Wendy, I want to ask you if you, if you don’t mind, if you could [00:05:00] share with us a story. of your, your son’s military service and the challenges that he faced after returning from deployment.

Wendy Shackley: Well, I sure can, Scott. And, um, I’m going to show a picture and I’ll explain. Uh, this is my son after he came back from deployment.

And that’s his wife in this picture. Um, they went to a mil they went to a military ball. And the one thing that I noticed when my son did come back is his eyes changed. Um, Joel started… when he was 24, he was older than a lot of most, um, that went overseas. And, uh, he actually served in the U S, um, army with the 4th battalion, 42nd field artillery regiment.

And this included tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, OIF, [00:06:00] and then he came back, uh, and that was 2008, by the way. And when he came back, he trained and went back for Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF. in 2010. And when he came back from the very first tour, what ended up happening is he had very bad P. T. S. And the reason he had bad P.

T. S. is because he actually, uh, his unit had to, had to kill a Uh, a young man about his son’s age who was a bomber and it just tore him up, but what ended up happening is he came back from this tour and he told them about it. And so they medicated him. trained him for [00:07:00] Afghanistan, and a year later sent him back on medication, which I really didn’t like.

I didn’t like that at all because I didn’t think that that was, that was the proper thing to do. And I guess, I guess I have mixed feelings about the military. Um, I, I, I appreciate. everyone who served. And I mean, that’s my son really kept my freedom. And that’s, that’s a beautiful thing. And we have to have people serve yet.

What happens when they go over there is some of the challenges that Joel came back with, you know, he came back with PTS and I don’t say PTSD because. Veterans don’t like that. You know, they don’t, they don’t have a disorder. They have post traumatic stress. And that’s it. [00:08:00] And he also came back with a traumatic brain injury.

And that was never fully, um, taken care of. So he suffered from that. And he would also have sleepless nights, um, he would have flashbacks, um, he lost comrades overseas, so he had survivor’s guilt. There were so many things he had, and it was really tough for him to operate. And, I guess one of the, go ahead.

Go ahead, what were you going to say?

Scott DeLuzio: No, I was going to, I was just going to comment on, um, you know, this seems like a perfect storm of all of these situations coming together. Um, Like, you know, obviously hindsight’s 20 20 and we can look back and say, well, you know, yeah, he went through a lot of stuff and, you know, we probably should have, you know, looked at it [00:09:00] from a different point of view, probably paid a little more closer attention to his mental health, maybe not sent him on that second deployment.

Um, and, you know, made sure that he was, uh, you know, made whole again before we decided whether or not to send him back. Um, you know, obviously that didn’t happen. Right. And that, that just seems like, like such a shame looking back at it now, like, Warning signs were clearly there, right?

Wendy Shackley: Yes, yes. And you know, you know, when he did come back, um, you know, he was, uh, they had him go through so many things that tore him apart.

You know, um, he did ECT treatments that took his memory away. Um, and, uh, and he was on so many medications, you know, that, you know, he couldn’t get up in the morning. There was, there was just so many things, and that takes a strain on relationships, and it [00:10:00] also, it really, um, it really does, uh, not help, you know, where he’s at.

in life and trying very hard to be with his family when he comes back. Now, um, I know that I know that there’s, there’s a lot that the military is doing now, you know, in healthcare. Um, and I believe that some of the changes and improvements, um, to the mental health system that I’ve been working with. I mean, Joel.

Um, and I’m glad to see that 10 years later that it’s getting a little bit better, but, you know, there are 22 veterans still a day that end up completing suicide. And that is, that’s just heartbreaking for me. That’s heartbreaking [00:11:00] for me because, you know, these wonderful servicemen and women, you know, are taking their lives.

There’s more now that have taken their lives. That actually have served over in Iraq, and that’s, that’s unacceptable. That’s, that’s unacceptable. Um,

Scott DeLuzio: it, it is. And that number, um, you know, I, I’ve heard different numbers. I’ve heard 22, I’ve heard up to 44. So, you know, that number I, I think is, is kind of a, you know, Just the catchy number that, that everyone kind of refers to.

Um, whatever the number is, it’s too many, whatever it is. Um, and it just way, way too many. Uh, I know you mentioned, you know, there’s been some improvements to the healthcare system and things like that. And I know Joel’s struggles with mental health and the challenges that he faced with the healthcare system that was kind of in place at the time, um, were.

just unfortunately not uncommon. Um, what changes or improvements to the system do you [00:12:00] think are needed in order, uh, in order to help support the veterans throughout, you know, the healthcare, the mental health support system in general?

Wendy Shackley: Well, there’s, there’s really a lot. The number, the number one thing is, um, listen to their stories.

You know, the, the one thing that I find so important, not just with the post 9 11, but with Vietnam War veterans and even some of the World War II veterans that are still around, listen to their stories. And what’s important about that is when someone shares their story, they And it’s part of the healing process.

So, you know, and to work together, um, there are so many organizations out there, uh, they, uh, that, that are working with, I’m, I’m a VSO, a veteran service organization, and I get to know everyone in my vicinity so that I can [00:13:00] work with them because I can’t do everything myself. So I understand that and so I over the last eight years have really learned to Work with others and if I can’t have a veteran and help him or her then I send them forward now Also, there are a couple other things I have a good friend who They just started at the Goodwill.

She is a female veteran. She was a chaplain in the army over in in Iraq and She, uh, has helped start, uh, a, a Veteran Resource Center where it’s veterans helping other veterans with the goodwill. That’s one, that’s, that’s one very good thing that has just started. I have another good friend who, a marine veteran, and she’s a power to be, uh, uh, to be dealt with, that’s for sure.[00:14:00]

And she’s, she basically started out at a behavioral center, um, and she has gone on to a very large hospital conglomerate that, that works with the, Uh, Mental Health Hospitals, and, you know, she is working with them to understand the culture. of the veteran and how to talk with them. That’s extremely important.

I mean, that, that, that in itself. Yeah, yeah. And that’s, um, to, to really relate. And another thing that has happened with, um, with it’s, uh, it’s called the, uh, HR 8247, uh, law is that. Part of that law is suicide prevention, and now a veteran who’s in crisis can go to any hospital, [00:15:00] any hospital at all. And they can get, they can get treated and the VA will pay for it.

And before that wasn’t a possibility. They had to go to the ones that the VA wanted them to go to. So there’s a lot out there that is helping positively. You know, and um, I’m not saying it’s perfect. But I know I work with the Vet Center all the time. A lot of veterans don’t like to work with the VA. So I suggest they go to the, to the Vet Center.

And, um, and I actually work there doing one of my programs. And so it’s been wonderful.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and there’s, there are, you’re, you’re absolutely right. You mentioned a few resources, uh, just in the last couple of minutes here. Uh, but there are so many resources and that’s part of what I like to do with this show is to highlight these resources that are available because like you said, sometimes veterans just don’t want to deal with the VA or they can’t for [00:16:00] one reason or another.

Um, And, or, or maybe they’ve tried the VA and they felt like they weren’t being listened to. They weren’t being treated fairly or, or well at all. And they are just so turned off. They don’t want to deal with the VA. And, um, you know, my message to those people is that don’t just give up. There are other organizations out there that have the resources available to help you.

No matter what it is that you’re going through, there’s somebody out there who was willing and able to help. And, uh, I, I feel like it’s part of my job to shed light on these organizations. Um, before we get more into that, uh, I want to take another quick commercial break here, but when we get back, um, we’re going to talk a little bit more about the journey that your son went through and then, um, you know, some, some of the goals of, of your organization and, and the initiatives that you guys are, are, uh, undertaking.

So stay tuned. Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m talking with Wendy [00:17:00] Shackley today about her, um, her nonprofit, uh, The Ripple Effect, helping veterans and families heal and, uh, the loss of her son, uh, to suicide. Um, now Wendy, the journey that your son went through from his military service to struggling with mental health issues and then his tragic death.

Passing, um, must’ve been incredibly difficult for your family. And that’s probably an understatement. Um, can you tell us about the inspiration behind creating? Uh, The Ripple Effect, uh, and how it aims to help veterans and their families. Yes.

Wendy Shackley: Yes, I sure can. And you know, um, you know, the inspiration for me is just, um, I’m going to show you a picture here and I’m going to explain it.

This actually is a picture of my son at three years old. And the reason I’m showing this, and he’s sitting in his little [00:18:00] tiger chair, you know, playing an instrument with a gold hat on. And the reason I show you that is most mothers, okay, most mothers, that’s how they see their children. They don’t see them, they don’t see them as that military person, you know, going off to war, you know, they see them as that three year old, you know, just running away from, from you and, and, and doing all these crazy things.

And, uh, and that’s how I, that’s how I always visualize Joel. And so, and so I guess my inspiration was that I really didn’t want anything. I didn’t want anything. to happen to others that happened to my son. And, and one of the things that I wanted to share was that when Joel [00:19:00] came back, uh, he struggled for three years.

And he went through behaviorals. He, he checked himself into behavioral places. And he wrote and he really tried to come back. But those hidden wounds of war were so strong that he didn’t get the help that he needed. And I wish, I wish now that I, that I knew what I know now. And if I really did know what I know now, then I think that it would have been different.

It would have been maybe different. Okay. And a lot of people tell me that, Oh, if I only knew what I knew now, um, yet that’s not, that’s not entirely true. Even if I did know what I know now, he might’ve still [00:20:00] passed on. And I think that that’s, that’s, that’s so important to know because for me, if I could have done something, I would have, if I could have taken this place, I would have.

You know, but

Scott DeLuzio: and it’s interesting that you say that because, um, you know, it’s, it’s really easy to get into that trap where, where you might say, if I knew if I only had known this, uh, back then, then things would have been different. I had a psychologist on the show a few years ago. And her brother had committed suicide and he, uh, and, and so she deals with people with mental health issues all the time.

She went to school. She’s a doctor. She has all the training in the world that you can get on, uh, this type of, of, uh, of situation and, uh, still ended up in, in the same, uh, Same boat. And looking back, it’s like, [00:21:00] how, if I couldn’t fix this, you know, in, in her, in her case, if she couldn’t fix this, um, or, or help her brother out in that situation, then, you know, who could, right.

And so, um, you know, I, I, um, I only say that just for the, the listeners who might be out there in a similar situation. Um, even somebody with all the training in the world, uh, with this still. Right. Has that, uh, that, that, uh, situation come up where they weren’t able to, uh, necessarily stop that from happening either.

Um, now, sure. Could you have done something differently? Yep. Probably. Um, could somebody else have, have stepped in and done something differently? Yep, probably. But, but you know, the past is, is also in the past and we can’t change the past no matter how much we might want to. I mean, I would love to change certain things from my past as well, but we can’t change that.

But what we can do is, you know, listen to stories like yours and, and your families and learn and grow from those. So that way we can help other people going forward. Right, right,

Wendy Shackley: [00:22:00] right. Exactly. And you know, um, Thank you. I wanted to share with you also that,

you know, I, I, I even, I even went to Fort Carson and talked with, you know, the chaplain and talked with different people and became really involved at the request of my daughter in law. And, you know, it just, it just didn’t seem to help. The military is so big, and there’s so many people, um, and for me, I don’t know.

It just seemed like, um, I tried to do everything I could, and I believe that I did.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I think the name of your organization, um, or the first part of the name of your organization, The Ripple Effect. Part of that is [00:23:00] that while you may be just one person who might be talking to one room of people and trying to affect some sort of change in those people Those people there’s by the nature of how the military works Those people are gonna move on and they’re gonna go to different posts and they’re gonna take little pieces of what you said And they’re gonna hopefully apply that to something in their their next Next place that they go to.

And hopefully that next group of people that they talk to will then take some of that information and move it on to, uh, you know, wherever it is that they move off to and, um, the, the ripple effect, just like, you know, throwing a stone in a lake and watching the ripple. kind of expand out and move from there.

Um, to me is like, that’s a perfect analogy, a perfect metaphor, whatever, uh, for what it is that you just described. You know, you went in, you know, maybe it seems like you’re just a small pebble being tossed into, uh, you know, a huge [00:24:00] lake of, that is the, the military. Right. But, um, but those ripples that come after it, um, they, they go on and on and on and may continue depending on the size of the lake.

They may continue. far beyond what your eye can see, and so you’re, you may continuing, maybe continuing to help people without even realizing it. Just like those ripples may continue to be expanding out, um, you know, over the horizon, uh, and you may not even realize it.

Wendy Shackley: Yeah, and, and you know, I’ve actually found, found that out, Scott, because I’ve had people come back to me and say that, you know, what you said to me, what you said to me, and I, I was even talking with this, uh, gentleman, a few years ago, he was, um Vietnam War Vet.

He said, You know, Wendy, for the last few years, I have been walking out to my garage and I have a noose that’s hanging and my dog follows me [00:25:00] and I look at that noose and I look at my dog and I walk back out. He said, You know, your talk, your talk today really made an impact on me and I don’t think I’m going to need that noose anymore.

He said, But I’ve always wondered if I, if I really make a difference. You know, and that really touched me, you know, when he said that, and I’ve had other people share different things too. So I know what you’re saying about the ripple is, that’s why I named it that because, um, my one girlfriend who’s also a gold star mom, she lost her son when he was 21 to suicide.

And, and she said that, you know, I can’t start an organization. I just can’t do it, but I, I’m going to help where I can and I’m going to make a ripple. And I said, can I use that? And she said, you can. Yeah,

that’s perfect. This is my good friend, Tammy, which I know, I think you [00:26:00] know her. And, uh, so she has just been wonderful. And so that’s how the ripple effect was born. In that regard, and, uh, I’d like to share a little bit more about it

Scott DeLuzio: if you’d like. Yeah, I was actually just going to ask if you could share some of the, you know, maybe the goals or the initiatives of the organization and what it is specifically that you guys do.

Wendy Shackley: Okay. Well, I’m going to share my mission statement first. And that kind of puts it all in a nutshell, but then I will, I will expand on that. My mission statement is to prevent suicide by assisting with the reintegration among veterans by connecting them with resources, organizations, and other veterans that help the veteran and their family heal.

And that’s, that’s a really powerful statement. It took me a few years to hone it down and get it to where I wanted it to be. But [00:27:00] that’s, that’s basically, um, why I created it. I wanted to, I wanted to stop suicide. Now, that’s almost an impossible task, yet one person at a time, one person at a time. And in the eight years that I have worked with the Ripple Effect, and I’ve learned a lot about veterans and their culture.

Now, that might sound funny, but the veterans have their own culture. And yeah, and, and, you know, I’m not going to help anybody. I’m not going to help any veteran because number one, I’m not a veteran, but what I can do is I have three things. I can educate the public to, to share with them what the veteran does.

Okay. I can also, whatever resources they need, if I can’t get it to them, I collaborate with other organizations so that we can [00:28:00] help that veteran and family get what they need. And then the last thing is follow through and connecting veteran to veteran, because only another veteran can really help another veteran.

And that’s really important. That’s important to, to acknowledge that. And I’ve, I’ve put together some programs that I feel will really be helpful for my little corner of the world, my little corner of the world. I know that if a veteran has, um, sustained trauma, it’s going to be very hard for them to heal.

So what I do, I, I do a program called TRE, Trauma Releasing Exercises. And you can look it up under TRE4ALL. I’m a certified instructor and I do these exercises, [00:29:00] help the veteran and their family release even some trauma. And my goal with that is even some trauma might help them go. to the next level so they can get other modalities.

And also doing TRE, this, I can teach them to do it themselves so they don’t need me all the time, which is another ripple, because if they tell somebody else and then somebody else comes to me and then, you know, we can keep going out there, then, then allowing someone to. Release their trauma. That’s very, very important.


Scott DeLuzio: another, it’s absolutely, yeah. Mm-hmm. , no. Um, I just wanted to, um, just take a, a minute here, uh, to cut to a, a, a quick commercial break, but I do wanna get more into, uh, what it is that you, you guys do, and, uh, and kind of. Uh, follow up on that after the break. So stay tuned. Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On.

Uh, we were just [00:30:00] chatting before the break about, uh, some of the, uh, initiatives, some of the things that the ripple effect is doing to support veterans and their families. And Wendy, um, if you don’t mind, uh, kind of picking back up where, where you left off there, uh, before the break.

Wendy Shackley: Okay, and what I was talking about first was TRE, Trauma Releasing Exercises, just to, to say that, and then the second thing that I work with is, um, a Women Who Lead, and what that is, is we have a, uh, every month we meet on Zoom, And we, uh, it’s myself and two other veteran women, and our goal is to produce leadership between women veterans and civilian women.

And it’s been very powerful over the last three years. Anyone is invited, um, to go on and look, look at this and I can, on my [00:31:00] website, uh, I have all the information to register to that. It has really, it’s helped me a lot just to become more aware of. how veterans feel and, and how they relate to women. And that’s part of my education and collaboration and everything, because with that, then we can take that as myself, a civilian woman.

And I can understand more about how veteran women feel. And that’s been very, very powerful. Um, the third program that I’ve been doing is a suicide prevention for veteran, for, for veterans within the workplace. And I do that with. organizations, because a lot of times you have a veteran who’s working in a workplace and they might have an episode.

Well, does that organization know where to go? Nine times out of 10, they [00:32:00] don’t. And so I do, I do video, um, I do video suicide prevention and I help them find their, their places around them that they can have the veteran go. and have it all set up so that they’re not out in left field when this happens.

And I think that that’s, uh, that’s a really important aspect. And that’s one area that I don’t really see a lot of people working with, with, uh, corporations. And, um, and so it’s, it’s kind of interesting because with everything that I do, I look at. Is this a population that is not being served right now?

And, and I see in the workforce that the veteran population isn’t really being that served. There are organizations out there that are helping, but then the other thing is that [00:33:00] like with myself, when I work with women who lead, you know, I try to get people to come in and I mentor women who are, uh, you know, want to do a talk in how their leadership.

that they’ve learned works with others. And so that always teaches me something, as well as others. And, go ahead. Sure.

Scott DeLuzio: So they’re, they’re almost having that ripple effect on you as well, where they’re, they’re, they’re teaching you something, which then you’re gonna take and you’re gonna help other people with that as well, right?

Wendy Shackley: That’s exactly right. And, uh, and you know, what’s interesting too, Scott, is, you know, there’s, um, there’s a lot of places that, uh, The people can go and really work with, um,

you know, work with, uh, the reintegration of their loved ones. And I had written down a few things because I really didn’t want to, to [00:34:00] miss, um, anything that I could give them. Oh, sure. Yeah. And

Scott DeLuzio: so the next thing, the next thing I wanted to talk about a little bit was, uh, you know, military families or, you know, just people in general, like you’re saying in the workforce or people in general who might be going through a similar situation to what you and your family went through, uh, some of those challenges.

Um, and you know, where can they go? What resources are available? And, You know, how do they deal with the reintegration after deployments and all of the, uh, the issues that may come along with that? And it sounds like you, you have a few resources that are available and maybe some advice that, that might be beneficial for them, right?

Wendy Shackley: Yeah, you know, and, um, and I believe that as you keep your eyes and ears open, there’s a, there’s a lot around us that, um, It’s taken me eight years to really, to really get where I wanted to be. And I’m still not where I want to be with the resources, [00:35:00] but, um, but, you know, first I just want to say to all the, all the parents and friends of, of, um, military people coming back, men or women, just be kind and patient.

Because, you know, I don’t know what someone else has gone through, and, and it’s, it’s just so important to, you know, not, to realize that, that they’re different from when they left. And I had to really look at that with my son. You know, my son, when he came back, of course I wanted him to be exactly the way he was when he left, but, you know, life happens.

He had a lot of things happen to him. And he wasn’t the same young man that, that left. And that’s really important for, for parents and loved ones, wives and sons and daughters and everything to realize about their loved ones coming back and, and really be kind to them. [00:36:00] And then there are places to go to get help.

Um, if you are, if you’ve been a combat vet. You can go to the Vet Center. Now the reason I mention this is because at the Vet Center, uh, the family can actually go in and get counseling also. And it’s so important, I think, for the whole family to work with that because I know it’s hard for Veterans to, to, nobody’s going to say they want help.

But the Vet Center, it’s Vets Helping Vets, which I really advocate. I advocate Vets Helping Vets and, and they help the family as well. When Joel first came back, I went to the vet center and then when he passed away, I went to the vet center and I really, really learned a lot and they’ve also opened their arms up to me to do my program there.

So I’m helping other veterans and their [00:37:00] families to really heal in a place that I’ve gotten to heal. So that’s, that’s important. Now, the other thing I want to mention is the VA. Now, a lot of people say, you know, I don’t want to go to the VA. But you know what? There are a lot of good people at the VA and they have changed a lot.

There really are a lot of good people. And what I found is there’s really a couple things you really have to look at. You know, if you were a combat vet, you need to get rated in order to receive compensation. So that’s, that’s important for your health. That’s important for your family. That’s important for your education.

So to do that sooner than later is, is best. And I know it’s kind of hard to navigate, you know, the VA, but there are a lot of people that can help you with that. And I really, really, really want to stress that. There really, there really are. And, and I guess, you know, [00:38:00] looking at that, I just think that, uh, getting to know the VSOs around you and if anybody wants to get ahold of me in that regard, I can, I can find out people in your area.

And that’s, that’s really important too, because a lot of people are more, are more into, um, wanting to deal with somebody other than the VA or the Vet Center. They would rather deal, they’d rather work with, with an organization that might be all veterans, but doesn’t have anything to do with the government.

And I, I get it. I get it. And, uh, and I think that’s why I’ve worked so hard at, at really getting my resource list together.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and that’s a good point that you just made, that people may not want to work with the VA at all. Uh, however, there are certain things that If you want these certain benefits, you don’t have a choice, but to go through the VA.

Like you mentioned the disability benefits [00:39:00] and things like that. Like you’re not going to getting disability benefits outside of the VA, uh, with respect to, you know, like a monthly compensation type of thing. Um, as far as I know, that doesn’t exist outside of the VA. Um, and so, uh, like in some cases you may have to, you may just have to.

You know, grin and bear it and be like, you know, I, I, I know I’m, um, I have this disability and I have this issue from my service. Um, I’ll work with the VA through this issue, but maybe other issues you feel like, okay, well, I’ll find some other organization. Um, sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with that, um, in order to get those benefits.

And it can be, it can be kind of significant too, depending on what your, your rating is. Um, we’re talking, you know, maybe possibly several thousand dollars a month. Uh, that you, you could be getting in disability benefits, uh, depending on your rating and your, your family structure and all that kind of stuff.

So it’s, it’s significant. So you may want to look into that, right?

Wendy Shackley: Yeah. And, and also [00:40:00] with, with veterans that have not served overseas, but have served in ways here or in other countries, um, in other aspects, they can still get benefits. They just have to work with the different, the different aspects that the VA has for them.

And I’ve worked with a couple people with that, um, just recently and they’ve been able to get some benefits. So it’s, it’s just important to get, you know, you know, I’ll tell you for those of you who have served in the military, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And you deserve everything that you get. And I want to see you get it.

So, um, so I don’t care whether you’re a post 9 11 or Vietnam War veteran, get in there and get your benefits because you deserve them. You work for them and [00:41:00] you really helped our country. And I really appreciate

Scott DeLuzio: you. Yes. Yeah. And, and sometimes it’s not the, um. You know, thinking back to the Vietnam era, it’s not the, the service member, the individual service members themselves that are, you know, the, the bad guy that, that a lot of people were, you know, they were out against the military back, you know, in the Vietnam era, um, it wasn’t the individual, you know, the private or the sergeant or the, you know, whoever, um, really it was the, the government, the, the, the people who are sending them out to war that were, yeah.

Maybe the, the boogeyman, if you will, who you have a person that you want to, you want to point your finger at and put some blame on, on those people. Um, but it wasn’t the individual soldiers who were fighting and dying over overseas and coming back home wounded or, you know, other, having other issues when they come back home, um, And so those people are the ones who [00:42:00] need the support, and those are the ones that we’re talking about here, and we’re looking to help these people as best as we can, and in whatever ways that we can, um, and that includes things like the disability benefits, and once when you write it at a certain percentage, there’s um, It’s, it’s, I kind of think of it almost as a video game after, after you hit a certain level, then other things unlock and you get other, other potential benefits as you, as you go on.

Right. So it’s, it’s kind of a silly way to think of it, but, um, it, it’s like, if, if you don’t at least give the, the system the opportunity to help you out, um, then it never.

Um, I want to talk a little bit more about, um, you know, kind of where people can go to get involved with the ripple effect in a little bit, but we’re going to cut to a quick commercial here. So stay tuned. Everybody welcome back to Drive On. Uh, we’ve been talking today with Wendy Shackley, um, who has been talking about, um, Uh, [00:43:00] the ripple effect, uh, helping veterans and families heal, uh, her nonprofit organization, uh, Wendy, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today and hearing your story, um, and, and everything that you are doing to help out veterans, uh, where can people go to find out more about the organization, either to make a donation or volunteer, or even get assistance if it’s something that they need?

Wendy Shackley: Okay. Well, thank you so much, Scott. Um, you know, uh, I’m going to hold up a business card here for those of you who can see it. And those of you who can’t, let’s see if I can pull this back a little bit. There we go. Um, you know, I am a person that really likes to talk on the phone. So if you just want to give me a call, at 260 312 3756 and ask me whatever questions you want, whether it is getting a resource, whether it’s [00:44:00] how to do something, whatever you need, I will take the time and talk with you.

And that’s, that, that is, that is where my heart is. My heart is in helping others. And um, and if you are. a veteran spouse, if you are a mother, if you’re a child, whatever, and you want some information from me, I will give it to you. You can also go on My website, which is The Ripple Effect, and it’s T H E R I P P L E E F F E C T A Z, make sure you put that A Z on the end, org.

And you can go on that, and you can see what I’m offering. And then you can also go to my Facebook, and that’s the Facebook. com backslash the ripple effect AZ. And I have a lot of things on my Facebook [00:45:00] that, uh, that could be of interest to you. And you know, one of my things is that I really don’t want any veteran or family member to fall through the cracks.

So I will be there for you, and, and it’s, it’s just so important that you know that. And also, I do have, um, three ways that you can help the Ripple Effect. One, if you want to volunteer, call me up and I’ll put you to work. And you can help me, you can help me, uh, help veterans and their families. I am currently work, looking for two people for my board of directors.

And my board of directors are very important because I don’t do anything without asking them. Thank you. If I can, because that’s how a non profit works. Yeah, I have a lot of ideas, but if they tell me, No, you can’t do that, you know, I have to listen to them. So I have some accountability there. So if there’s anyone who wants to be a board of directors, I’m, I’m doing interviews for that.

And then the [00:46:00] other thing is you can donate to our mission and I have a donation site right on, right on the website, also on my Facebook, and I will immediately send you a receipt for your taxes because we are a non profit and, um, so that, uh, that also can help. So those are, those are, um, a few of the ways that you can help us.

And, and, you know, one way that I think is most important is. Be that ripple. Be the ripple. If you can go out there and, if you can take a veteran out to lunch, if you can, uh, pick up something for the family, if you can just talk and listen to the story that the veteran that you know is going through, whether it be your loved one or someone else.

That is so important and that’s what I ask everyone [00:47:00] to do because you can be that ripple. You can be that ripple, right, Scott?

Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. You certainly could. Um, so I will have links to all of that in the show notes for the listeners who want to check all of that out. Um, and now for the listeners who haven’t caught the last few episodes, sometimes the topics that we cover on this show can be sort of heavy.

And this episode, uh… Could have been especially heavy for, for some people, especially talking about, you know, death and suicide, that type of thing. Um, and so I want to end each episode with a little bit of humor, um, and something just to get you to crack a smile, maybe even laugh a little. Um, it isn’t that I want to hide from these difficult topics.

Clearly we discuss them, but I just want to make it feel okay to be able to laugh and live life despite the challenges that we all face. So here’s a quick little joke, uh, for everyone to hopefully. Uh, get them to, to laugh a little bit. So it’s a military related joke. So a company commander and the first sergeant were out in the field and they, they’re going to bed for the [00:48:00] night.

And the first sergeant said, uh, sorry, look up into the sky and tell me what you see. And the commander said, I see millions of stars. The first sergeant said, and what does that tell you, sir? And the commander said, astronomically, it tells me that there’s millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.

Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we’re small and. Insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells us that we’ll probably have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, First Sergeant? The First Sergeant says, Well, sir, it tells me that someone stole our tent.

Wendy Shackley: That’s good, Scott.

Scott DeLuzio: Anyways, thank you again, Wendy, for taking the time to join us. I really do appreciate you taking this time and for everything that you do.

Wendy Shackley: Thank you. Thank you, Scott.

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