Episode 349 Donald Dunn Elevating Heroes’ Voices Transcript

This transcript is from episode 349 with guest Donald Dunn.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

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Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Today my guest is Donald Dunn. Donald is an army veteran who runs a non profit called Heroes Voices Media Foundation, and they work with veterans who are musicians, podcasters, and authors to promote their work and help with training in their field.

[00:02:00] Um, we’re gonna Talk a little more about that in just a minute, but first, welcome to the show, Donald. I’m glad to have you here.

Donald Dunn: Hey, I’m glad to be here, man. I


Scott DeLuzio: bet. Um, for the listeners who aren’t familiar with you and, and the stuff that you do, um, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Donald Dunn: So, I went in the military straight out of the, uh, high school, you know, 1994. Decided, you know, high school’s over, let’s just change everything, so I got married and Went straight in the army and, uh, spent 20 years in the military. I did, uh, 68 months between, uh, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I did 10 years in the special ops community, so I kind of seen a little bit of all sorts of different sides, sides of the military.

Um, you know, no different than probably any other soldier. Every, every, every enlistment, I said, I’m getting out. I’m

done with this. And then it was I, Donald Dunn, do solemnly swear to uphold and defend, [00:03:00] you know? So, um, I think that’s pretty common for, for everybody. And, uh, I, uh, for different reasons, whatever, I found myself in the desire to, to reenlist.

And, and, uh, I can’t regret a minute of it because, uh, You know, that path is what has led me to where I am sitting in this chair today. So I think it’s a,

uh, awesome adventure with the ups and downs and, and everything else that came with it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I think everybody has those ups and downs in their military service where, you know, They, one day they’re, they’re re enlisting, and they’re all, you know, gung ho about it, and they, they, they’re all about it, and the next day, they’re like, What the hell did I do? Right? So, you know, and those ups and downs, I think it just comes with the territory, and we have these things that, um, that we get through, but they, [00:04:00] like you said, they make us who we are, and it’s the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing today.

And the reason why you’re sitting here talking with me today to, uh, get the word out about, uh, the, the work that you do. So, um, I’d love to hear a little bit about your, your, your time in the military as far as, um, you know, the deployments, anything interesting that stands out, anything like that, that, uh, that you might want to, uh, kind of

Donald Dunn: So, you know, I came in at an interesting time. Um, and, and I say that because 94 is, is when I actually came in and there was nothing really going on. You know, the, the Gulf war was over with and, uh. The amount of people that actually experienced that was still kind of slim in, you know, it wasn’t like it is now where if you didn’t have a combat patch, you’re like, where have you been, you know, but, uh, back in those times, you know, when you did find some old crusty E5 or something [00:05:00] that, that had a combat patch, he was kind of like, Ooh, you

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: and talk to him about it.

And so I came in because I was looking for a job. I had gotten married and. You know, I was right out of high school and didn’t have the grades for college or the money and I, uh, didn’t really have the maturity either. And so, I decided, you know, to go in the military and, uh, me and my wife started our life at that point, you know.

So, we, uh, my first duty station was Korea. And, uh, you know, the funny part about that, and I always kind of laugh because it’s crazy how life puts these little, you know, weird anonymies on you and you’re like, how the hell did that happen? But, uh, so my wife, I met in seventh grade and, uh, we dated all through junior high and high school and then got married, her mom is Korean and her dad is American and, uh.

My first duty station

was Korea, and I happened to [00:06:00] got stationed in her mom’s hometown.

Scott DeLuzio: wow.

Donald Dunn: I have met family members of hers that she has never met, right? My wife has never been to Korea. I speak more Korean than my wife does. And so, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, really, really kind of funny in that aspect, but it was cool that I got to see some of her, her culture and everything, but it was not how I wanted to start the career.

You know, I didn’t want to be away from family right out the get go for a year when everything is now new. We didn’t know anything about the benefits and how to do this and how to do that. So when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I got my orders and they sent me to Fort Bliss. And, uh, I found out that it can be worse in the States than Korea.

So, you know, I was a private and, and we were struggling just to make ends meet. And, uh, you know, my wife couldn’t even get a job at McDonald’s cause she [00:07:00] didn’t speak Spanish. So it was, it was brutal in, in that aspects. And, uh, I was like, I’m getting out, I’m, we’re done with this. But I hated it so much that if I wanted to get out, I had to stay there in like another 18 months or I could just reenlist the leave.

And I was like, well, I don’t hate the army that much. let’s, so I reenlisted out. So I, you know, I kind of credit, um, Fort Bliss for, for getting me to my retirement because I was, I was bent about getting out and I was still immature as hell. And so.

Um, I think I would have gotten out had, had my ETS date been a little bit closer.

But, uh, um, so I went to Germany from there is where we went and that’s where I got to experience my first deployment. So, you know, now I’m thinking, you know, and I’m talking to some of these Gulf War veterans, you know, and they’re telling me what they experienced. So, I’m picking who to be. Like [00:08:00] that and it’s nothing like that, you know, and so I kind of you know in the book that I wrote for my kids I uh, I kind of credit that Bosnia was kind of like a False sense of security I guess because there was not much going on in Bosnia.

It was a peacekeeping mission And, and the worst thing that you had to watch out for was, you know, landmines and stuff like that, that had been eroded and the rain had washed down into your roadways and, you know, kids, you know, kids trying to be, uh, helpful, but they would, like, pick up live ordnance and grenades and stuff and try to bring them to you versus trying to come and get you to take you to them.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Donald Dunn: So we had a few of those scares where, you know, we, we’ve had some young kids bring, you know, live grenades to the, to the gate and we’re like yelling for them to stop and, you know, but for the most part, it did not prepare you for [00:09:00] what was coming after, you know, 9

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: And so I kind of tell everybody, you know, that was, that was kind of like a a false sense of training because that was my only experience up to that point.

And then I got an opportunity that I just, I find amazing because that was the best, this, this next part is the best 10 years of my military career. Um, I volunteered to go into the 160th. Um, the 160th SOAR is a Special Operations Aviation Regiment. And, um, You know, we kind of all joke and we say, you know, we’re, we are the Uber for the special ops community. Um, I got to work with some really cool, you know, guys and organizations and meet some really cool people. And, uh, it changes, the military changes when you’re in a unit where, yes, everybody volunteered to be in the army, but when you have to volunteer to put [00:10:00] yourself through hell, knowing that there’s a chance you won’t even get selected, and you may get sent off somewhere else, um, and then you make it, and what’s left is left in that unit, That’s it. It’s a whole different level of, you know, the big boy program. Everybody now wants to be there. And, you know, I, I still laugh cause when I was, when I got there and I hadn’t been through selection yet, they put you in what’s called a holding platoon because everything’s classified. So you’re not allowed to go in any of the buildings or work with any of the people.

And I got put on this detail and the person that I’m working with had was just in his brown t shirt. He didn’t have his top on. We’re loading these flight pallets. To be sent out for uh, missions. That dude was a master saint. It was just me and him,

you know. And that’s the way that whole unit was. It didn’t matter your rank.

Everybody was first name Jesus.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Donald Dunn: And I didn’t know he was in E8 until he [00:11:00] put his top on because he introduced me by his first name. And I love, I mean, I absolutely loved it. It was the, it was literally the best 10 years of my life. And uh, You know, the, the downfall to that was, that was the unit I was in when 9 11 happened. And so, you know, some people on the outside, they, they look at that and they say, Man, you were so lucky, you only had to do 3 or 4 months or 5 months or whatever. on your deployments and, and what they didn’t realize was we were a battalion asset that was in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States, Colombia, Philippines, Korea, all at the same time.

We had five, five theaters that we were supporting and we were so thin. That they ended up activating the, the Iowa National Guard to come and run, um, our day to day activities in the United States. There was so much [00:12:00] in Havana, because we didn’t have the people. So, you know, we would go to, like, I didn’t speak Spanish, so I never went to the Colombian missions.

Um, And it was mostly crew chiefs and stuff that went to the Philippine side, but I, I would do three months in Iraq, three months in Afghanistan, three months in Iraq, you know, and it was just back and forth. And when you were in the States, you were supporting the 75th or, you know, special forces or anybody else that was doing.

You know, stateside training. So you were, you were still literally no, you’re never home. And, uh, you know, my wife was just like in awe because when she went to the family support groups, you know, and, and the wives there introduced themselves, they told her, you know, we need to start handing out in the welcome packets for all the wives, dildos, because you’ll never going to see your husband and we were, we were on the road so much, I was.

To either TDY or deployed probably, you know, 200 and some odd [00:13:00] days out of the year. And so

even though I still loved it, it was hard on the family. And, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: And I think the reason

why I wanted to kind of hear a little bit about this side of it is because a lot of people who might be listening to this, I mean, obviously there’s, there’s some veterans and service members and stuff who listen to this, but, uh, um, there’s other people too, who listened to it, who just aren’t interested in stories like this.

Um, just letting people know, like, it’s, it’s not all, um, you know, Oh, a three, four month deployment. Oh, okay, great. Uh, and, and then you get to come home and you get to, you know, have cookouts in the backyard and barbecues and birthday parties and all that stuff. No, you’re still doing other stuff, or you’re going someplace else.

Um, you know, while that one deployment might have been three or four months, the next one’s going to be And, um, there’s only so many months in a [00:14:00] year, so, you know, where are you going to put all that time?

Donald Dunn: you know, in order for you to get dwell time, you have to do at least nine months. So, you know, for you to be exempt from deployment when you come back, um, or go to your next duty station, you, you know, dwell time is what we call the, okay, I deployed for nine months, so you can’t deploy me for a year or whatever their policy is.

Well, when you’re doing three months there and then three months back home, three months that you don’t get dwell time because you’ve never accumulated nine consecutive months. And, uh, so. It does become hard because you don’t get that break. And then when tragedy happens, you really don’t get that break.

And, and that’s when, you know, um. That was one of the things that, that, you know, I kind of went through that bothered me because, you know, when we had, uh, when we lost some, some of [00:15:00] our friends and our, our buddies, we went straight from getting the news to eight hours later, starting to practice for funeral detail, waiting for the bodies to get back from Afghanistan.

And, you know, I had only been back from Afghanistan now for a couple of weeks, and now we’re doing funeral details. And as that whole process goes along, you know, It is now focused on the ceremony and, and the logistics of where we’re going to be, you know, we’re talking, we were doing funerals for, um, potentially up to eight people that we had eight, um, that was killed at the same time.

And so if they, if they, if the families did not choose for Arlington, then we were performing the funerals. And so, you know, I performed three of them myself. And, uh, then shortly after the funeral was over, it was my turn to deploy again. So, it’s, it’s, you know, you’re, there’s no grieving time or there’s no opportunity to [00:16:00] really digest it.

You go straight from that to, and now I start getting prepared, hopefully, and physically for deployments. Oh, and by the way, Reality has just sat in. And I’ve watched family members now packing their stuff up because they have to move because their source of income is now gone. And it becomes, your outlook becomes different.

Your, your mentality of when you’re deploying now thinks, now you’re thinking, shit, that could be my family. And so it changes a lot of things, but you don’t get to that time to digest it and, and

understand it because the tempo is just insanely moving.

Scott DeLuzio: so you’re constantly, you’re on to the next thing before the thing that’s going on is even really over. And so you’re constantly going, going, going, going. Now, I gotta imagine at some point, like, when you got transitioned out of [00:17:00] the military, when you got out, you did all that stuff. Did all that stuff kind of catch up to you at that point?

Was it, was it kind of like, just like this big snowball rolling down the hill, getting bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, and then all of a sudden it just stops, and it crashes into something, and uh, or how did that look for you?

Donald Dunn: yeah, so absolutely. So, you know, that was where I kind of wrote this book for my, my family because, you know, I was that guy that loved to joke around and laugh and, and be the center. I was the comedian. And, uh, as the deployments happened, that just slowly changed. And, uh, I slowly started pushing my family away.

And by this time, my kids are now getting in that puberty teenage years to where they’re observant and understanding of what’s going around. And they kind of were still young enough to where they remember what their dad was like when they were little, but now dad’s not that way, but dad doesn’t see that dad doesn’t even see that [00:18:00] he’s changed.

You know, and uh, when your whole home front changes, but then you go to work and you can’t tell anybody that things are not good at home because you don’t want to tell them that you’re fucked up from the, um, the, uh, um, war because then that’s going to affect your career.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay.

Donald Dunn: You know, nobody wants, nobody wants to admit that you’re

broke and, and be different from, uh, the next soldier.

And, and, you know, we’ve all, especially as leaders, we’ve seen how some of these soldiers can get isolated, you know, if the, if the chain of command doesn’t validate your reasoning for Having problems. And so I never said nothing. I never told my wife, you know, I would lie about it. You know, for two years, my wife didn’t even sleep in the same bed with me because she got tired of getting elbowed and punched and me yelling and, [00:19:00] and stuff like that.

And she would ask me what I was dreaming about. And I would tell her, I don’t remember, you know, I knew what they were, but. I didn’t want to share that stuff and bring that stuff from there to here,

Scott DeLuzio: Mm hmm.

Donald Dunn: and I thought I was doing them a favor. But the reality was I was just bottle capping it, you know, I was just pushing it down, pushing it down.

And, uh, at the same time, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve been going through some group therapy and, and I’ve really gotten down, you know, I’ve gotten this last year, I’ve gotten a lot of good work in as far as being able to kind of pinpoint. Problems, you know, and I really myself, you know, I felt I didn’t really want to deploy anymore.

Um, because I was afraid of losing my family and losing myself, you know, I was kind of disgraced with myself because. I was getting to that point where I was like, you know, I felt like I did my time. Why can’t it be somebody else’s turn? You know, the closer I got to retirement, the more [00:20:00] nervous and scared that I was getting. So, you know, and this went all the way up to retirement. When I left, uh, the 160th, I retired out of Fort Stewart and I, uh, um, I ended up, uh, going on another deployment with them to, uh, Ramadi, you know, and I didn’t, I didn’t want to do that either. uh, You know, I was supposed to go to Al Assad, and that’s kind of what I was telling myself.

Look, Al Assad’s, you know, a cakewalk compared to Afghanistan. And, uh, then I get there and I know you’re going to take five guys, and you’re going to go to Ramadi, and you’re going to be the guy in charge of setting up the maintenance program there. And, oh, by the way, you’re going to drive to Fallujah three times a week, and you’re going to be training Iraqis in logistics there.

You know, so now, you know, now my life is being put in convoys repeatedly. And And everything else. And,

you know, it just helped push me [00:21:00] down into that deeper, dark hole. And, uh, you know, by the time I got over, I, I had hated myself so much that I didn’t even want to live anymore. You know, so, you know, mentally I was, you know, not, you know, subconsciously I didn’t want to die. Mentally, I didn’t want to live either. And so, you know, that affected my family. And when I would come back, I would literally walk in the house, sit down, eat dinner with the family, and

then I would get up and go to the bedroom. And I stayed there until the next day. It was the only place I felt normal,

Scott DeLuzio: Mm hmm.

Donald Dunn: you know, and I had completely isolated my whole family.

And when I retired, I did the worst thing. I couldn’t find a job. Um, and, uh, I was so depressed and internally [00:22:00] focused internally on myself that, uh, about how bad things were, you know, that I couldn’t even help myself. Make the best decisions. So, you know, I started a company and I found a job for myself by creating and I started a trucking company.

And so I bought a semi truck and I put myself in a truck driving 11 hours a day, sleeping in a truck by myself six weeks out of the time and only home for a week, which just helped me isolate myself and helped me push myself further away from my family.

And in 11 hours of driving, trust me, you can get in your head.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of time alone with your thoughts, and that could be, that could be scary, depending on What kind of thoughts you might be having? And in this case, uh, it seems like they weren’t the best, right?

Donald Dunn: No, absolutely not. And, and so, you know, this is, believe it or not, that’s actually really normal. You know, when you, when you start looking at what soldiers do, [00:23:00] they, they end up, a lot of them move out and end up becoming truck drivers. And, and it’s because they don’t want to be around people. It’s a, it’s a job where they can be by themselves and not have to deal with. And, uh, it’s just, it’s, they don’t even realize it, but that’s just another symptom of PTSD, know, the isolation. And, uh, the, the part that, that was really bad about this is, you know, this is shortly before, you know, I only held the company for six years before I shut it down and I hadn’t gotten any help.

You know, I was so angry at the world that, you know, I still remember as I was out processing, I told the guy at the VA, uh, I stopped and asked him a question the day before my appointment to go fill out all my medical records and, and start my, you know, VA benefits. And he was, it was before his day started, he was standing out in the hallway talking, joking around with [00:24:00] another soldier that he knew.

And he was a civilian and, and I stopped to ask him what paperwork I was going to have to bring for tomorrow. And they had like set days that were walk ins and then they had set days that were appointments. And when I walked up to him, I said, Hey, excuse me, sir. I said, I got a question for you. And, uh, he said, uh, do you got an appointment?

And I said, no, I just have a question. I said, my appointment’s tomorrow. And he said, well, we don’t accept walk ins today, and he turned around and walked off, and it set off like that, you know, I started screaming at him, I told him to go F off, I didn’t need his effing money, you know, I didn’t file a VA for three years, you know, so I was hell bent on, to hell with you, I don’t need you, when I really

Scott DeLuzio: hmm.

Donald Dunn: these were all, these were all not normal reactions, but it was the only emotion I had, You know, 68 months of deployments and the only emotion you get to deal with stuff is [00:25:00] anger, you know, and so that’s what came out for everything.

It didn’t matter, something as simple as that, you know, a normal guy could have just said, well, whatever, and just walk in the next day and not know whether he had all this paperwork or not. Not me, I didn’t even cancel my appointment, I just didn’t show up. You know, and this was, this was me being an ass and, uh, not thinking straight and, and that same attitude also brushed off on my kids, my family, you know, um, and it all came to a boiling point.

You add in the, and it’s no excuse, but when you, you put yourself in a isolation stuff and, and then you start listening to media. And, and that whole politics came around about, you know, you had the Trump sides and you had the other sides, and then you had the, the, the vaccine COVID guys and the non vaccine COVID guys.

And, and I’m already in my head, [00:26:00] not even mentally stable. And now here I’m absorbing all this stuff too, and it’s putting me. A, a place that I’m not, I mean, it was having me do things that I am not, that’s not me.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: know, I had a, that, uh, reached out to me and me and him got into a huge argument over, over politics and, uh, um, you know, I ended up abandoning him and not even talking to him nowhere.

And that, that is not me. That I’m not that guy, you know? And, uh, it all goes back to the fact that I hadn’t seeked help. And this was now, you know, you think of it as like a thermometer. Well, now that, you know, everything has gotten to that top and it’s about ready to come out and it did, and it came out on my son and it, know, I tell people this was like the worst day of my life, but yet.

It also was the beginning of the best day. And, uh, I went back home [00:27:00] for a hurricane that came through and I got there before the hurricane and, uh, most people in Georgia live in trailers. So, you know, my son, his girlfriend, her mom, her, her, her, his girlfriend’s sister, their kids. My kids, my grandkids, my wife, my cousin, my brother, everybody’s in my house, batting down for this hurricane.

I can’t leave, I can’t go nowhere. The anxiety is just, just eating at me. Um, finally the hurricane blows over and I finally get out of the house and I try to go for a walk. Just, just trying to calm down and uh, you know, I just, I didn’t, at that time I didn’t have the skills. And when I came back, my son and my wife had gotten into an argument. And I instantly, I ended up throwing him out of the house the day after a hurricane. You [00:28:00] know, the situation almost got physical. My wife had to break it up. It caused problems.

And it was finally the point where I realized I need help,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: you know, and I still, my pride was still there. So I still didn’t go to the VA.

Um, I did try care and I found a, uh, a army buddy of mine that was seeing a civilian therapist or civilian psychiatrist. And, uh, I went to him, you know, and I didn’t want to talk about things that he at least got me on medication to where I was seeing, you know, I was stable and think through things, which kind of made things worse.

Cause now I can look around me and say, wow, what a hole I dug.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Donald Dunn: I should have never owned a business. I wasn’t mentally stable to own a business. I’m now not financially stable anymore because my business is suffering. [00:29:00] You know, my. Marriage and my relationship with my kids has become destroyed. I’ve lost all these years with my, my family and now on top of it, the one person that I should love, I can’t stand and that’s me,

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Donald Dunn: you know?

So, um, that was the beginning of the time that I, uh, um, started seeing help. And, uh, I got help for a few years from that, that, that, uh, um, psychiatrist. He was an amazing guy. Um, He, uh, was never in the military, but, uh, he wrote a lot of books about PTSD and has done a lot of research about it. And he even, uh, went through SEAL training just, just to experience it

from a researcher’s standpoint just to see the training that people go through.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:30:00] Oh, wow.

Donald Dunn: you know, it didn’t take him long to relate to what I’ve gone through. When, when he looked at my DD214 and then found out the unit I was in and how many deployments and how, how long I’ve, I’ve been deployed. And yeah, he, he knew instantly, you know, and, uh, he asked how come, uh, I didn’t have anything about TBI. My records and I, and I told him, I said, I’ve never been diagnosed with it. But you know, when he was performing on me, I failed a lot of the memory tests and I still have a lot of memory issues and stuff now. And he told me that he thought that I probably had TBI. And we didn’t understand why it wasn’t caught.

And I said, I’ll tell you why. Because I didn’t, when I got back, you know, you can’t go see your family until you complete all these assessments. So you do what you got to do to get through the assessments so you can go home and see your family


Scott DeLuzio: right. [00:31:00]

Donald Dunn: you know, and get out of having to take it all. You don’t take it, you just move on, and you sure as hell don’t tell a psychiatrist that there’s any problems that you’re seeing things, because now you, you, you didn’t get to see this, like you’ve seen the, the assistant that took that, the psychiatrist doesn’t see it until it’s all over with, so now at the end of the day, you get to sit there and wait until he gets to talk to you, so now your families are the last ones sitting out there waiting for you to To come out, because you can’t go home until he expresses that it’s safe for you to go home.

But he doesn’t want to start seeing anybody until all of the, the in process. So, no, you’re not going to say that you’re having nightmares or you’re having any bad dreams or, or you had any explosions that happened close to you and you’re having headaches and, and all these things,

you know, you just want to go home.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right. I mean, uh, [00:32:00] I have the same experience. Um, when I came back from Afghanistan, um, just the paperwork just to process me back into the country, uh, they made me, uh, I came back separate from the rest of my unit just because of the circumstances, uh, that were happening. I won’t get into all of that.

Uh, right now, but, um, I, I was on my own and they gave me like two or three days to finish all the paperwork. I think it was three days that I was supposed to have to finish all the paperwork. Um, I got it done in a day and I was like, okay, can I go home now? And they were like, I can’t believe you got it done so quickly.

You know, it, it’s crazy. So let’s talk about your, your nonprofit and what you do now, um, with the. Uh, Heroes Voices Media Foundation. Uh, what prompted you to start it and, and tell us a little bit about it.

Donald Dunn: So, [00:33:00] um, I kind of got to back up just a little bit to get you there, um, so after 9 11, um, the business was struggling and, uh, my mom was getting to the point where she needed more attention. Um, she lived in Iowa and up to this point I had been taking, uh, loads to run me through Iowa so I could stop and help her.

Do some honey do list, and then I’d go back out on the road, go back to Georgia, spend some time with the family, and this just became a cycle. Well, when COVID happened, those loads became very hard and did not pay very well. And I had just bought, you know, a new truck, um, another poor decision that should have never been made.

And, uh, um, so I ended up deciding to close the business. And, and go find a job. And this all happened again after I got help and started seeing things clearly. Um, so I, I put a, [00:34:00] I put a little lifeline out there asking anybody, Hey, anybody out there that has been applying for jobs, who do you go through?

Cause I’d never had one. I went from the army to owning my own business, so I’ve never worked for anybody but myself. And uh, my old first aunt said, Hey, if you’re looking for a job, he said, I got one for you here in Missouri. And so, I, I was struggling trying to figure out the logistics to get my mom to be able to move to Georgia because she lost so many benefits with her Medicaid because of the money that you’re allowed to make and so forth.

And so, I took that job in Missouri. And, uh, Reunited with my old first son, and we started this podcast called Two Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room. And, uh, you know, there’s two types of people. You’re either on the side where you think that’s funny and you like it, or you’re on the other side where you think I’m promoting that veterans with mental illness should go have a bunch of guns and a bunch of alcohol and you don’t [00:35:00] even look at the podcast.

But the truth is, my buddy owned a little gun business, and before we started the podcast, um, I spent a lot of time in his gun room with him, drinking a few beers or some bourbon, and putting guns together, and doing some hydro dipping, and shooting, and that was our past time. We enjoyed it. It was fun. And so, out of the blue, when we realized that the VA was not satisfying what we felt we needed to do for the veteran community.

I was kind of joking, didn’t know what I was saying, but it’s kind of like the buzzword. So I said, Hey, why don’t we start a podcast? And he goes, okay, well, what would it be called? And I laugh and said, well, why don’t we just call it two drunk dudes in a gun room? And so season one, we literally filmed the whole season in his gun room.

So, I mean, there’s guns all over the place. There’s reloaders, there’s ammo everywhere, you know. And, uh, I think we’re banned on, for life, on TikTok. [00:36:00] Because of, you know, the guns in the background. Every time we tried to go live, it was just a matter of minutes and we were kicked off, you know, and it was usually for the same reason.

There was a shotgun over the wall on the top that was mounted on the wall. It was a little, uh, shockwave is all it was. And, uh, it took us a couple bannings before we figured out that’s why they were banning us because it was in the background and you could see it in the camera. But, uh, um, so, after season one, towards the end, he kind of dropped off.

The stories, you know, originally it was just to bring our soldiers back and put some camaraderie around us. And the stories were starting to get a little deeper and, uh, the people that we were bringing on. Got a little bit more and he kind of, for personal reasons, kind of dropped off. And, uh, so season two, because I’m not very good talking by myself, without somebody to feed off of, I, uh, I started reaching out and having guests come on.

And by this time, I had realized that [00:37:00] podcasting is kind of a form of therapy. I mean,

Scott DeLuzio: it is.

Donald Dunn: it gets you talking, um, especially if you can get somebody around you and you can forget that it’s being recorded. You can forget that it’s live, whatever. And you’re just having a conversation with another veteran and you just talk about things that happen.

And I found myself opening up about stuff that I’ve never even talked to my family about. And so I realized that and I got to that point where I didn’t care if one person watched my show or 10, 000 people watched it. It was about me healing at this point and it was working. Well, my Facebook, um, algorithm somehow started putting veteran musicians.

And some people put me in contact with some, and I realized they had the same problem that podcasters have is, you know, Spotify, you’re either a huge success from the get go or you get buried in the algorithms and you’re going to spend a lot of money advertising. It’s one or the other. And for me, it didn’t matter because I had a job.

[00:38:00] For them this was their job. So another just spontaneous idea I said well why don’t I just start a radio station and we’ll just play veterans music and then they won’t have no competition and you either have to be a veteran or a dependent of a veteran and if you’re a musician or if you’re just writing and singing songs in your bedroom and recording them.

We play everybody’s music. It doesn’t matter. If you give it, if you give it to me, it’s going on there. And I learned real quick that it wasn’t that simple. Um, I had to turn it into a business so I could get licensed through BMI and ASCAP and, and those companies. And that led to my podcast getting sponsored by a, a non profit called, uh, um, Operation Encore.

And so they paid for some of this licensing. And, uh, Now that the radio station’s up and running, we have three channels. We have a country station called Semper Fi Country, we have a rock station called Ranger Rockwave, [00:39:00] and we have a mix station called Vet Mix. And, uh, um, the only deciding factor is, is if we physically have enough music on a genre, I will create the station and it’ll be its own station.

Then next place, everybody. But we, we grew so fast. I couldn’t believe it that I went from one artist on the day that we launched to now we’re probably just under a hundred artists and six, seven hundred, um, songs, you know, so it got to the point where. People were only getting their songs played like once every three days because we had so many, you know, everybody’s songs got played.

There was no, you know, and this ran 24 hours a day. The first three months I played 18, 000 songs. And so, um, I realized there was good stuff coming from this, and I wanted to do a little bit more, so I, I, I started, and it hasn’t been officially, um, put as a non [00:40:00] profit, we’re, we’re, we’re now applying for the 501C and, and, uh, going through all the legality, but we started this foundation called, uh, Heroes Voices Media Foundation, and it’s three projects that are underneath it.

There’s, uh, Military United Podcast Streams, which is for podcasters and streamers. You got the Gun Room Radio, which is for the musicians. And then we’ve got a project that I’m still writing that I haven’t officially launched yet called, uh, Warrior Words. And it’s for authors, bloggers, and article writers.

Poets, and that type of stuff. Each of these projects are designed to, one, allow you to keep doing what is therapy. You’re either writing songs about stuff that are a story that you want to tell, you’re you’re telling it on podcasting, you’re writing it in a book, but all these things can get really frustrating if all you’re doing is dumping money.

And you’re not getting anything back out of it. So [00:41:00] our goal is to help you keep going until you can find some form of traditional therapy that works for you. Cause so many people go to the VA, they walk out those doors and they say, well, there’s nothing that works for me. And there is so many other things out there, but you have to keep these guys looking and trying things

until they find it. and and that’s the purpose of it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and you know, there’s, there’s all these different

ways of, um, you know, kind of alternative therapies. You were just talking about how podcasting to you would, became therapeutic. Um, it’s not stuff like if you go to a psychiatrist, it’s not in their, their menu of things that they’re going to offer to you.

It’s like, how do you start podcasting and, and give you that type of, uh, type of thing and say, hey, or go do this for a little while and see how it helps you. Um, but. There are things that you can do [00:42:00] outside of a therapist’s office that, things like podcasting, or writing, or, or, uh, writing music, or artwork, or any number of different things, gardening, ballroom dancing, you know, whatever, gets you out of your head for that minute, and in that present moment.

Moment and just being focused on whatever it is that you find yourself doing that, that helps you. Like right now we’re having this conversation and nothing else is in my mind except for this conversation. Um, you know, and I’m, I’m interested in your story. I’m, I’m asking you about things that you did and, and all that kind of stuff.

But, um, you know, if I was just sitting here by myself in the same room with no other person on the other end of this, this camera, I know we’re not physically sitting in the same room, but, We’re still talking to each other as if we were. Um, if I was sitting here by myself, [00:43:00] I’d have that opportunity to let my mind just kind of start wandering and going into places that maybe I don’t want it to go to.

And so, this is very much therapeutic, you know. For anyone out there, you want to figure out a way to Start talking to people without, without having to be in big crowds or, you know, whatever, start a damn podcast, you know, like it’s, it’s too easy to, um, I, I can’t say it’s too easy. It, when I first started this thing, it was actually embarrassing because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing as far as the technology side or any of that.

Um, I, I stumbled my way through it. It was not pretty first few episodes, but I, I got there, you know, I think I’m doing okay with it. With what I got right now, but, um, but this is great because all of these different, um, you know, programs that you have to offer between the radio station and the podcasting and the, um, you know, the writers and all that kind of stuff, um, [00:44:00] they, they benefit these, these people, which has this.

This effect where it’s going to not only benefit them, but it’ll benefit their families. It’ll benefit their, their careers and their other relationships and things like that too. So it’s while you, you may have one person who comes in, you’re not helping one person. You’re helping that whole network of people because that one person is getting better, right?

Donald Dunn: Absolutely. And, and so this kind of led to another mission. So, you know, everybody always asks me, well, is that the big picture? Is it just to get people? And. You know, our podcast literally started about highlighting veterans. We didn’t go into the mental health space when we started this. We wanted there, you could, you could Google, you know, podcasts for veterans for PTSD, and you will find, uh, there’s enough to make their own little genre, a whole chapter, you know, and, uh, You know, [00:45:00] it’s not that I don’t think I have anything to offer or that, uh, you know, there’s not room for somebody to contribute, but that’s not my subject matter expert.

I mean, I’m a, you know, what did they say? I’m not just the president, but I’m a member, you know, so I don’t, I don’t feel that I have that experience, that knowledge to go in and say, hey, this is how you should cure it and how you deal with it. But what I do know is just like any other veterans, you know, we are not the group of people that you put in a glass that says breaking case of war.

We have dreams and, and, and goals. And for some people that may be a lawyer, that some, for some people that just may be to be retired and left alone and spend the rest of their life with their family. For others, it may to be that they put their, their music dreams on hold to serve their country first.

And, and when they get out, they want to pursue. To finish that dream.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: Think about this, if you were 40 years [00:46:00] old, and when you got out of the military after 15, 20 years. You know, do you think Sony Records is looking for you? I mean, there’s not much time for them to make a lot of money off of you. Your music career is over, your voice is starting to change, your vocals are getting tougher, you know?

And so the, the likelihood that you’re going to be the next Garth Brooks is, is going to be very slim. And you add that to somebody that is using something that is their dream. That is also their therapy. And you crush all that at the same time. Now they’re no longer doing any therapy. Their dreams have been crushed.

Probably pretty brutally, you know, because most times, you know, it’s a business. It’s not personal. They don’t hate you, they just didn’t like what you’re doing. You know? And, uh, That becomes even tougher because we don’t even understand how the civilian world works when we walk out. So, [00:47:00] the big picture for us is that we want to partner with groups and we want to change a few things.

We want a few categories that, you know, kind of focus on giving some time back to these veterans and putting some of these dreams. And I’ve always wondered why there’s not a category for the top 100 veteran podcasters. You know, why is there not, you know, we got the CMAs, but why is there not the VMAs? You know, a lot of people don’t know this. I didn’t know until I had them on my show.

But did you know that there’s a Miss America Veterans Paget?

Scott DeLuzio: I did actually. I found that out, I think just earlier this year, I found that out. Yeah.

Donald Dunn: And I, you know, I find that amazing. And, and, you know, when you find out what it’s really about, it becomes even more amazing. Right? So, the Miss America Paget is, you know, each of these contestants have their own platform that they’re You know, their own [00:48:00] nonprofits they’re working for, right? The whole pageant supports homeless veteran women with children, because there isn’t any shelters that will take women with children.

They will take women, but they’re not set up to safely handle. Homeless children with their mothers. So they focus strictly on that and it’s a pageant that can get some attention. It’s not about just beauty and, you know, you know, it’s about you are a veteran, you know, and if you go to their website, it’s so amazing.

I don’t know who the designer was, but I would love to shake their hand because it’s got these, these women in dresses. But it looks like they just low crawled through a mud pit, you know, and it looked like soldiers, you know, but the feminine is still there. And it’s amazing because you can have both. You can be a female and you can be a warrior. [00:49:00] You don’t have to decide. And so I think that’s amazing what they’re doing. So I want the VMAs. You know, before, before I walk away from this and I turn it over and I just become part of an alumni and I let board members handle the rest of it. And I finally can sit back and say, it’s complete. I want the veteran music awards.

I want one day where veterans who have made it already. Hey, are hosting it and these guys that are grinding and playing at VFWs and American Legions and these little fairgrounds and in any bar that will have them, you know We can get there, you know between my radio station and hopefully other people out there will start radio stations and and and start, you know Publicizing their music and we can get enough people to start voting to where we can have a day where we’re inviting these guys to come And there’s [00:50:00] red carpet and there’s the, the real media press there to, to highlight them and get interviews.

And you got people like George Strait that’s on the stage calling their names out and, and it means probably nothing in the big picture. But maybe it raises money for a category similar to like what Miss America did. It reunites veterans that, that went through hard times and were drafted or, or came in during, uh, tough times and still made it and become, um, Amazing musicians and artists, and they worked their ass off, they earned every bit of it, and these upcoming artists that are working their butts off can see that, and we can, we can unite the veteran side of that.

It’s no longer about celebrity versus, you know, you didn’t make yours, you have to earn yours, and we can bring that camaraderie back between veterans, and uh, um, we can get the people to see that it’s, it’s, you know, maybe the guy that’s getting that award ain’t gonna be the next Garth Brooks. [00:51:00] But he was for that day,

you know, and that’s,

Scott DeLuzio: That, that, that’s, that’s such a huge, uh, thing too. You know, I, I was, I was just thinking about the benefits that, you know, getting that, that their name out there on the, the radio station and, and getting help with the podcast and the, the writing and all the, these kind of things. Um, I think that that’s.

Super awesome, but then you’re taking it a step further with this, uh, the way, the way you just described it. Um, and yeah, if you can get some celebrity veteran, uh, you know, musicians who can, you know, host it or, you know, at least be, you know, a part of it in some way, um, And give these folks the red carpet treatment where they’re now, they’re the stars.

And you have these other, other people there who are celebrating them and celebrating their work, and we can listen to their music and [00:52:00] enjoy the, the songs that they put together. Um, because. they’re, they’re they’re pouring their, their heart and soul into some of this music. Right. Um, I, I’ve, I’ve talked to other artists of, you know, from a variety of different mediums, whether they’re sculptors or painters or, you know, and you name it, like a variety of different artists.

And a lot of times they, they feel like they can’t just have a conversation, like. Like you and I are having right now and just say what it is that is on their mind or whatever, but they can put it into their artwork, whatever that artwork, and music is a form of artwork too, and so that’s, it’s just a different form, right?

Um, and so they, they pour that in all of the, the emotions, all the things that they had bottled up for all those years, they’re putting it into their artwork and that allows them to, um, that [00:53:00] allows them to Express themselves and get that off their, their chest and uncork that bottle. So it’s, it’s not, you know, like, like a can of soda that you’ve shaken up, ready to explode.

It’s now, you know, kind of settling down and they’re able to do that. That just, um, you know, and then everybody gets to listen to that and you sort of get to hear a piece of this person’s life that you otherwise probably never would have been able to hear because the person maybe wasn’t able to just talk about it.

Right. And so. think it’s important, uh, to do stuff like this so that we can learn and understand what’s going on with these people, you know, because people sometimes they just feel like, oh, veterans are, you know, they got PTSD and, oh, we got to be hands off, we can’t talk to these people, we can’t, you know, let’s stay away from that person, they might be a little crazy or whatever, but it’s not that, it’s just they don’t have an outlet to express themselves and sometimes that’s all they need, right?[00:54:00]

Donald Dunn: Yeah. you know, and, and that’s the other part of this. I just want to change that stigma. You know, I don’t want, you know, and I’m learning this even more so too. I had a gentleman on my show. Uh, his name is Tim Heal. Uh, he’s a British, uh, army, uh, veteran, and, uh, he spent time as an infantryman and then finished the rest of his career in the PsyOps world.

And I had the most amazing conversation with him. I really did. I don’t know if you’ve ever had him on your show. But, uh, he, uh, he woke me up to something I never thought about, you know, have you ever sat there and thought about, I wonder if our allies that fought, you know, cause I mean, I, I served with some Russian troops.

I served with some Canadian troops. I’ve served with some British troops. Um, I’ve ate chow with some French guys. They are just as stuck up as you’d believe,

but, uh, pilots in their defense, our pilots are pretty stuck up too.

Scott DeLuzio: I mean, I think, I don’t think it [00:55:00] matters what, what

flag is on their uniform

if they’re, if they’re a pilot, right? Just kidding.

Donald Dunn: it’s true. So, but uh, um, but I never really sat back and wondered, you know, I wonder how the war affected their soldiers.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Donald Dunn: Did they ever go through PTSD or do they have a 22 a day, you know? And when I talked to him, he made a statement in there and it just hit me like a brick, you know, uh, when he was talking about his podcast and the mental health he’s doing because so many of his buddies are killing themselves.

And I said, wow, that’s not an American soldier thing. That’s a, that’s a soldier thing,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: you know, and then you can take it a step further if you can get through your anger, you know, I still struggle with this part of it, but you can look at, you know, our enemies and, and if you can separate the, the government stuff and, and, uh, the [00:56:00] anger that you may carry for something that happened to somebody, or even something to yourself and ask yourself that person that was on the other side of that.

Were they just a soldier doing a job like you were, or were they just really evil? You know? And when you start asking those questions, man, then you have to ask yourself, what mental health situation were they in? And that, that rabbit hole can get pretty deep when you, when you open it up and you start really asking yourself.

Was any of

this worth it?

Scott DeLuzio: It’s, that’s a tough, tough question. It’s a tough, um, and it’s a tough way to look at it too, because, you know, when you are training, and this is, this is stuff that has happened for Years and years, this is not unique to, you know, current conflicts or more recent conflicts. Um, when you’re training You’re training to fight an enemy, uh, a faceless, a nameless enemy.

You, [00:57:00] a lot of times people would give, give nicknames to the enemy, just to dehumanize, humanize them, um, to, to make them seem less human so it’s easier to kill them, you know, if you think of it. That person as a, just a inanimate object or as just an animal or something like that. It’s much easier to kill than it is another human.

That’s why they’re, you know, they had nicknames like Krauts and, you know, back in World War II and stuff like that for the Germans. And, you know, they had all these different names going all throughout time. And it just dehumanizes people. And it’s a, it’s a very effective way to just not think of that.

person that you’re about to pull the trigger and blow their brains out. a very, uh, effective way to just think of them as just another target. You know, that’s, that’s another pop up target on the range that, you know, one of the,

Donald Dunn: That’s why we don’t use circle bullseyes for qualification, we use black silhouettes.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And that, that’s, [00:58:00] that’s what we were trained to do and are trained our mind to do. I don’t care what that person’s family life is like. I didn’t care what that, that person, you know, was that person have a good day? Were they, were they feeling depressed today? I don’t really care.

They got a gun. They’re pointing it in my direction. I’m going to pull the trigger, you know, and I’m going to end them. Um, you know, and that’s, that’s the, the thought process. Um, it’s actually pretty amazing that, uh, what was it back in World War, I think it was World War I when, um, on Christmas day, they, um, The two sides stopped fighting and they went out and they met in the middle of the battlefield and, you know, they played soccer, they sang songs, they shared, uh, you know, food and drinks and cigarettes and all that kind of stuff.

They came together and they actually treat each other as human. Um, the thing to me that is the most crazy about this whole situation is that Then they went back to their [00:59:00] foxholes, and they went back down, and the next day they were shooting at each other again. How do you turn that on and off that quickly?

Like, one day, would have been like, That’s a guy I was playing soccer with, and singing songs with, and that’s, how could I do that? You know, but that’s what they did. It was just, I don’t know. It’s crazy to think about, but, um, anyways, um. We’re, I think, maybe going down a bit of a rabbit hole with that, but that’s okay.

Um, so you’re, you talked a little bit about your podcast, The Two Drunk Dudes in the Gun Room, which I think, uh, you said people take it one, one of two ways. And, uh, I think when you introduced that, um, my laughter probably indicated which way I was taking it. So, um, you know, but I, I could see it, like, if this sounds like a really bad idea.

Uh, to some people or a ton of fun to other people and so, um, yeah, I, I don’t, I don’t know. Um, so, um, [01:00:00] so the podcast, you, you said you, you now have, uh, interviews with people and talk about, uh, you know, various things. Uh, what, what kind of topics do you discuss and what can people expect when they check out the show?

Donald Dunn: So, you know, up to probably halfway through season two, um, it was all about 501c’s and veteran stuff. It was the veteran community and 501c’s. And, uh You know, I think part of that was because I was healing and I was looking for things and now that I’ve kind of gotten to that point because like I said, I established, you know, this podcast, when you, when you watch my show, you’re getting me, you know, when I walk away from this, the same guy that walks away is the same guy because I really don’t care if one person watches or 10, 000 people watch, um, you know, I enjoy doing it and it’s, it’s fun.

And so, now that I have now expanding myself, um, there’s a few [01:01:00] things that I’m still searching for. I am, my goal is to get off the medication and I’m slowly working my way towards that. I have joined a group therapy, um, and I’m going to throw a plug out there for them. It’s called the Warrior’s Way Mindset.

Uh, an amazing program. It’s not a non profit. They’re a for business, um, program, but it has done an amazing job for me. And, uh, if you’re not a, uh, sit on the couch and talk to the VA counselor, who’s looking at their watch and telling you that when you’re really, really upset, you should sit down and write down why you’re upset at that moment.

What’s refreshing your mind. And I’m like, well, then I would have to put him down because I’m trying to punch him and I can’t write and paper and punch him at the same time, you know, and they just don’t understand the humor in that. But, uh, um, you know, this is, uh, this and it’s the other disclaimer too.

They’re also for men. They don’t, they don’t [01:02:00] have any, uh, there’s, there’s female help out there that they can direct you to, but that particular one is for males, but, uh, um. They are, they’re an amazing organization and, and they have helped me get to that point now where I feel comfortable saying, I think this time I can wean myself off this medication.

Um, I have trained myself to, to deal with some things and I think I’m okay. And then now feel bad days and good days and not just that straight line of, you know, the same guy. So, um, on my podcast, I do still kind of search out things like psychedelics and alternative, uh, therapy, but for the most part, um, if I find somebody that’s just got a really cool story, I don’t care if they’re a veteran anymore or, or what they do, um, I invite them on to hear their story.

Um, I, I’m getting ready to release an episode with a lady [01:03:00] named Amanda Blackwood. And I learned a whole bunch about human trafficking and what, um, what human trafficking really is, not the buzzwords, social media, newsflash, catch your eye. Term human trafficking and I think that type of stuff where you get real talk and and real Conversations where you’re learning things from people without an agenda is an amazing And and I also still get a lot of people that hit me up and they they just have products that they want to sell So I you know, I will throw this out there too.

Just because it’s starting to happen a lot lately. I am NOT a I’m not a, a supporter of, uh, any particular thing. Um, I got duped once to where I thought we were going to talk about something else and it turned out to be a, uh, pyramid type scheme. Um, so [01:04:00] I quit live streaming my, my shows so that I can now, um, record them and have the option to say, nice try.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah.

Donald Dunn: to the veteran community and you, you want me to tell them about it and it’s a product, you better be prepared to send it to me. And let me try it, let me research it, and let me determine whether or not the intent is to help people or is the intent to get to their, their wallets, because I will not produce a product that is, is, or endorse something that’s questionable and that’s just going to make money.

So, if that’s what you’re looking for when you reach out to me, you probably found the wrong guy. But if you have a, a nonprofit, uh, if you have a, uh, just an amazing story, whether it be funny or, or not, um, you know, I will, uh, I will [01:05:00] gladly have you on because I’ve had, I’ve reached out to people that do, uh, their therapy is.

Firewalking, and that just sounds amazingly crazy to me, but hey, I would love to hear about it. So, you know, um, I, I came, I got invited to be on a podcast that turned into a connection that I’m, I’m hoping Um, comes through, a guy, uh, Jimmy Hendrix’s cousin, uh, Reggie Hendrix, is doing a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix and singing one of his albums, and the tour dates all seem to be pretty much on military installations.

So I am trying to get him to come on the show, cause I just think that’s amazing. So that’s, that’s the type of people I have. It’s just, you know, um, I kind of feel similar to like what Joe Rogan does, man. It just, if it’s a conversation worth having and something to talk about, cause it sounds really cool or, or interesting, you know, I’m, I’m into some of these crazy things [01:06:00] like, you know, uh, spirits and ghosts and.

Is there aliens, you know, um, stem cell research, you know, why do we not do it in, in the United States, you know, uh, hacking, you know, all these social questions. I kind of relate my podcast as, you know, you’re standing around waiting for formation to start and then the, the what if topics and the, just the, you know, what would you do for a million dollars?

Type questions start coming up and those conversations just start and that’s kind of what my podcast is, you know It’s just conversations that we’re gonna have. I don’t never know where it’s gonna go

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Let’s

Donald Dunn: if you do have a website or if you do have something that you’re trying to promote a Nonprofit we’re gonna make sure that we get that done.

But uh I’m, I’m about the story, you know, and, uh, part of that is, is, is I love telling this [01:07:00] story, uh, it was in towards the end of my military career. And, uh, some of the, some of the army stories, man, you just can’t make them up. It’s impossible. I had a commander that was, uh. In trouble. So his punishment by the battalion commander was he had to interview all of his lower enlisted and then report back to him what he learned about them.

Well, I had this one soldier. I don’t mind sharing his name. His name was Private Thompson. And, uh, the day I met him, he walked up to me and he said, Sir, uh, I don’t like the army. Can you chapter me? That was my introduction to him. He introduced himself to the first sergeant the same way. And that’s pretty much all he wanted was out of the army.

So when it was Private Thompson’s turn to be interviewed, I walked up there, sat down. [01:08:00] Commander looked at him and said, Private Thompson, why’d you join the army? He did not flinch. Did not even hesitate. All he said was, Call of Duty, sir. And, uh, the commander goes, I get that. He said you probably had family members that joined, and you probably felt that sense of urgency for your country.

And this kid had the dumbest look on his face. And he looked at me, and I looked at him, and I said, Sir, I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the video game. And he goes, Yes, sir. I was thinking it was like Call of Duty, but it’s not. Can you chapter me? And he looked at me, the commander looked at me, and I said, You invited him up here, sir.

And he said, Well, Private Thompson.

You are dismissed.

Scott DeLuzio: Wow.

Donald Dunn: is over.

Scott DeLuzio: Wow. Yeah, I guess there’s not too many

latrines that need to be mopped in, uh, in Call of Duty, you know, [01:09:00] or any other stupid details that you might have to do, like pulling the weeds out of the lawn or whatever. I don’t know.

Donald Dunn: Rainey Padilla was worried about Private Thompson. He finally got his wish. We did chapter him. He is happily living somewhere in the United States. There was no harm done to any Private Thompsons on this episode. So

Scott DeLuzio: That’s funny. That is funny. Um, so for the listeners who, Maybe are interested in what Heroes Voices Media Foundation is going to, uh, be able to offer as far as maybe their, their musicians, they want to get their music out there, or they have podcasts that they need help with, or, um, uh, you know, writing and any, anything like that.

Uh, where can they go to find out more information about, uh, what you’re doing and, uh, how they can get involved with that?

Donald Dunn: So The easiest way, I have, I have made all my websites [01:10:00] kind of linked together, so if you go to the podcast website, which is easiest usually for people to remember, is twodrunkdudesinagunroom. com, um, and you can go there, you can also, there’ll be links to get you to any of the other websites. Um, but the, the non profit is, uh, HeroesVoiceMediaFoundation.

org, and then there’s also, each of the projects have their own page. Um, so you got MilitaryUnitedPodcastStreams. org, and then you’ve got GunroomRadio. com. for the radio station. And then, like I said, we haven’t launched the, uh, the one for the authors yet, but it’ll, it’ll be warriorswords. com or org when it comes out.

And, uh, you can go to any of those and, and reach us. You can reach me via my email. It’s ddunn at two drunk dudes in a gunroom dot beer. Dot com. So, [01:11:00] um, you can reach me through that way, or, or just my name [email protected]. Either way. And, uh, you can reach me out and, you know, there’s no requirements to, uh, um, as far as, uh, you know, we may ask you some questions just to verify you were military or a dependent, um, just general topics.

You know, there’s no, we don’t have any system set up to where you have to show DD two fourteens or any personal information to prove you’re a veteran. Um. You know, we just, if you’re using stolen value, we just hope that you have explosive diarrhea and a traffic jam, but for the most part, you know, um, that’s all it takes.

And then, you know, the only thing you have to do on your part is to send me a bio, a picture to put up on our website. Um, we have a little video clip of your, your picture with a link, um, with your bio and it’ll link them back to your [01:12:00] Spotify or, or wherever you’re posting your music so people can get, one, it gets you a little bit more recognition, people can get other tastes of your music and, uh, then send me the, uh, the songs that you want on the station in an MP3 format and, uh, that’s it, that’s, and we will upload it and I will promote the hell out of it.

I will. Put it all over social media with welcome sites. I will tag you and your, your music page and, and everything in it. Um, I will set it up to get you on my podcast to, to get you out there and known as an artist, not just a veteran. Um, we can set it up for you to do, uh, call in, um, radio talk, um, whatever you need.

If you’ve got a song that’s coming out and you want some extra publicity, you know, none of this, you don’t have to pay for any of this. There’s nothing, there’s no charges, there’s no membership fees. The listeners can, can download, uh, Two [01:13:00] Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room app. On, uh, Apple or on, uh, um, Google,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah.

Donald Dunn: and get to, uh, um, the radio station that way.

Um, I have tried to get Gun Room Radio it’s own app under it’s own name. You can find it on Android. Me and Apple are having disagreements, but, uh, um, not over the name.

Their disagreements is, uh, the, the coding that was done on it. So

Scott DeLuzio: I was actually thinking that it was probably something to do with the name that they, they just objected to the fact that you’re using gun in the name or whatever, but

Donald Dunn: no, I, I took a shortcut and tried to use a no code site, uh, to build it. And, and they’re, they’re objecting the, the, that using a third party, I guess they don’t want people using third party coding uploaded under their development account. So now I have to [01:14:00] take the time and actually go code it myself and.

I do it. I was just trying to take the shortcut, but it’ll be coming. I just haven’t had time. And there is one other thing that is coming that I forgot to mention. Um, so here and hopefully about two to three weeks, we’ll have a TV channel starting as well for, uh, it’ll be on Roku at first and then, uh, it’ll move over into Apple TV as well.

Uh, but it’s going to, we’re going to have two channels. One is going to be for the podcasters. And then we’re also, if you remember MTV and you’re old like me and you just, Enjoyed having fun watching music videos without all the other stuff. We’re gonna have what’s called MM, MTV Military Music Television.

So, and all these artists that already have, you can go on YouTube, you can go to gun room radio.com and click on mm TV and I have a list of links. They’re YouTube links to all these music videos that these artists have paid all the way up to like $8,000 to have, uh, directed and promoted. And they’re giving them out for [01:15:00] free just to get their music out.

That’s how much these guys are passionate about this stuff, you know? And, uh, they don’t want to be known as. like my music because I’m a veteran. They want you to like their music because you like their music or that it reached you in a way. They’re an artist, no different than, than, you know, Garth Brooks or anybody else.

They, at the end of the day, an artist really just wants you to like their art. And if you don’t, they want you to go like another artist that you can relate to. They’re not upset about that. You know, I’m not a country guy and I work with a lot of country people and they’re, you know, sometimes I have to tell them, yeah, it sounds pretty good.

I’m just not a country guy, you know, but we’ll play it. I love rock and roll. I love the 80s, 90s metal, the older metal, you know, and so I relate. Personally, to some of the other artists that are on there, you know, I listen to Ranger Rockwave. I don’t listen to Semper Fi Country as much. [01:16:00] That’s the personal choices.

And, and, you know, some of these artists forget that, you know, being an artist is also about being who you are. You are a veteran. That is part of who you are. You’re not using a cheat code. It’s not A, A, B, B, start, select, left, right, left, right. And now you’re an artist because you’re a veteran and that was your cheat code.

That’s who you are. Um, so, you have to accept some of that too. Um, that, you know, people are going to come to you and, and having your own platform that’s for veterans and not for other people is, is no different than being able to cheat the system with, with Spotify because you have 10, 000 advertisement budgets, you know?

Um, so you use what you have. If it’s money, if it’s a story, if it’s passion, whatever, that’s what’s in your life. And so all of these things are coming. Um, the Roku channel, the Apple TV, the, [01:17:00] the, the apps are, are out there. Um, any of those websites will link you to any of the other websites. Any of those names that I just mentioned, Heroes Voices, uh, Military United, uh, Two Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room, all those are on Facebook and any of the social medias under their names.

Uh, my personal podcast page is not Two Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room, it’s Donald Dunn. Um, and I did that because I had You know, just under, what, 8 or 9, 000 followers on, on Facebook, so I donated my 2 Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room page to the Military United Podcast Streams page, and we changed the name to, to match that, so if you, if you look for 2 Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room, you won’t find it.

I, I combined it, and 2 Drunk Dudes in a Gun Room is a podcast that is under. Military United Podcast Streams.

Scott DeLuzio: Got it. Okay.

Donald Dunn: so I’m no different than any of the other guys. I’m a veteran artist, veteran content creator, and my [01:18:00] podcast fits underneath them. I don’t have any other special benefits. If you want to be a part of it, building this, um, I’ve made it really super easy.

Um, my podcast is, is kind of promoting it. And, uh, we need to raise 1, 800 to cover all the lawyer fees and the money to get the 501c going and everything. Um, everything right now, I pay for everything. You know, um, I put money in the bank every two weeks to go towards those lawyer fees. I pay for all the airtime for all the radio stations.

I pay for all the podcasting stuff. I pay for all the website stuff, you know. Um, and I do it because I love it. I don’t do it because I expect to get money or anything. However, with things growing, um, you know, just to give people an idea of what things cost, it’s gonna run me 100 a month just for the TV channels.

It’s gonna, you know, it runs me [01:19:00] 39. 95 a month per radio station for the radio stations. Um, it runs me 400 a year for all the website hostings. You know, and you know as well as I do what podcasts cost you.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Donald Dunn: So, you know, I do it because this is my, this is my extracurricular, you know. I go to work, I come home, and I work on this.

That’s my life. I don’t do anything else. Um, so, I did create Um, on my page, what’s called the, on the twodrunkdudesinagunroom. com page, the Wall of Fame. If you go to that, um, there’s several different options you can donate, um, money to. If you’re a business and you want some airtime and you want to cover a year’s worth of airtime at 39.

95 a month, um, for a radio station, that’s what it’ll cost you to advertise for a year [01:20:00] on those, on that radio station is 39. 95 a month. You know, I’m not making anything off of it. You are covering the cost for these veterans to get played. In return, you’re going to get played several times throughout the day during the rush hour time for your advertisements.

You know, you will be the only one that is on there being advertised. So you’re not going to be competing with anybody. If there’s another radio station out there that can offer you a better deal, let me know. I want to advertise too. You know,

um, but those are the things that help, you know, if you want your name on the wall, um, as the wall of fame, what that’s going to be is once we get to the 1800 mark, I’m going to take that page down and I’m going to have a plaque built that looks like a wall with all those names on it.

And it will be kept with Heroes, uh, Heroes Voice Media Foundation as the foundation building of this wall. Cause you were, those are the names that helped [01:21:00] us and, and show you the dedication. If you go to that wall, I paid 10 on top of the hundred dollars every two weeks that I donate to, to getting this done for my dog to be a part of building this.

And if you look on the wall, there’s a name that says little Anne and she helped, she paid her 10 to be on that wall, to, to help be a part. You know, um, anybody that has bought a hat, uh, bought any memorabilia in the past, their name’s on that wall. Um, I, nobody gets paid for this. None of my board members, no, no, no people that work with me.

Um, my graphic designer is not part of, of this. She has a business and I pay for the graphic designing. Um, you know, she, she gives me a super heck of a deal and I promote the hell out of her in return because she charges me 25. A month to manage the website and she [01:22:00] charges me 100 to build

the website. Um, so

Scott DeLuzio: smokin deal.

Donald Dunn: you can’t

Scott DeLuzio: could find someone to do that, like, for that price.

And, you know, assuming it’s good work too, which, you know, I’ve taken a look at the site and everything. It’s, you know, it’s not like you just got some, you know, someone who’s hacking their way around who doesn’t know what they’re doing, right?

But you got a smokin deal on that one. So,

Donald Dunn: And that’s her college degree. I mean, that’s, that’s what she does. She’s done all my low, um, she charges me 50 for a logo and she’s done. 90 percent of all my logos. Um, she’s designing, um, the season three covers for each of the episodes,

you know, so, and she’s a veteran

of mine. She was a soldier of mine,

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, okay. That’s awesome. Keeping it, keeping it in the family, right?

Donald Dunn: so,

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Well, so I’ll have all those links in the show notes for folks to go check out. Um, if you [01:23:00] are an artist, um, in any of those, uh, you know, forms and you want to get your, your stuff out there, um, you know, definitely check that out. Um, if you want to make a donation to help, Fund this project and, um, you know, anything like that, check out the website again, and you can do that.

You’ll be part of, uh, part of this, um. know, 1800 dollars, uh, is the goal. I’m sure we get a few people putting some, putting a little bit of money together. We can get there pretty quick. So, um, so even if you think it’s not that much, um, you know, it’s. You know, only a few bucks, it’s probably not going to help.

Well, it’ll help, you know, because it all adds up. And so, so definitely go, go check it out and, um, you know, do what you can to, to help out this, this project.

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Before we wrap up this episode. Um, I, I want to do a segment, uh, on this, this show, uh, that I like to call, Is It Service Connected? Um, and it’s kind of a little bit of a way to end the episode with a little bit of humor.

Um, for the viewers who are maybe not familiar, uh, who haven’t been tuning in to the last few episodes for the last few months here, um, Is It Service Connected? is sort of like America’s Funniest Home Videos, uh, Military Edition, where we, Take a look at a video of a service member doing something stupid and then we, first off, we laugh about it.

Because, you know, it’s funny. Uh, but, uh, then we, then we try to, we joke about whether or not the VA would, uh, cover that for disability somewhere down the line, if it’s service connected, where the name for the segment comes from. So, um, for the. [01:26:00] Podcast listeners who can’t view the screen, um, because you listen to the audio only version, I’ll try to describe it as best as I can, but, uh, definitely go check out the show on YouTube and Twitter and everywhere else that the, uh, the video gets posted.

Um, so with that, I’m going to pull up this video here and, um, oops, screen’s been a little funky for me here. All right, so I got the video here, um, right now for the, the. Uh, listeners who can’t view this, looks like there’s a soldier probably downrange somewhere. It’s really sandy, you know, in the area. He’s riding a bike though.

And, um. I don’t know. Let’s, let’s see how this goes. It’s probably not gonna end, it’s probably not gonna end the way he thought it was going to end, uh, at the beginning of this, but we’ll see. He’s riding on the bike, he’s going, picking up some speed, doing a jump, and eats it. He’s face first in the dirt. [01:27:00] Um, yeah, he, he, uh, did not Do as well as he thought he was going to do with that, I don’t think.

Um, that was, that was him trying to show off. Probably back in the day he was able to do some jumps. But, you know, like anything, we get a little bit older and we’re not quite as good as we, as we What’s that song? I’m, I’m not as good as I once was, but

Donald Dunn: yep.

Scott DeLuzio: He’s not.

Um, so anyways, um, yeah, I’m, I’m thinking He probably ended up okay on, uh, after that he maybe, maybe, uh, got his clock wrong a little bit, but I think he’ll be okay. I don’t, I don’t think there’s anything too serious, uh, going on with that. You probably would’ve been a little better if he had a helmet of some sort on , you know, protect his head as he got a mouthful of dirt.

But other than that, I think he’ll be okay.

Donald Dunn: I, I definitely don’t think, just so you know,

the VA is not going to cover that. He, he wasn’t wearing any headgear.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that, that [01:28:00] was, that I think that was on him. That was his

fault for doing, doing that. And, uh, I don’t know if, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen, uh. You know, the, the bike being authorized, uh, you know, as a mode of transportation for, for military service. So, I don’t know, I was never issued a bike.

Donald Dunn: had to guess, that looked more like it was a moderner version

of Tent City there in Kuwait. That’s what it looked like.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. That, that, I kind of got that sense too. It, it did have that, that feel to it. Um, with the dust everywhere and you never get that out of

Donald Dunn: had their vehicle parked, all those, all those vehicles lined


Scott DeLuzio: That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Anyways, thank you again for taking the time to join us. I appreciate you sharing your stories and everything that you’re doing now to help out other veterans and their, you know, dependents and everything like that because [01:29:00] without people like you, these folks would Be struggling to do it on their own.

And like we got done saying earlier, um, you know, you can’t really do it all on your own and just isolate yourself and try to figure these things out. You know, it. You know, it really does take a team of people to come together, put their minds together, and figure out, how are we going to do this? And once you got that platform set up, now it’s just feeding the new songs, the new music, you know, everything like that.

Feeding it into there, and it’s getting that exposure. And, you know, one of these days, you know, some of these people are going to You know, maybe see some benefits from that and get, get their, their work out there. Maybe it’ll pay off monetarily, but maybe, maybe not. And, but maybe it’ll, maybe it’ll pay off in getting their message heard and getting their songs heard and things like that.

And, and I think that’s what most, most of these people are looking for, right?

Donald Dunn: Yeah, absolutely. And, and one other thing too, if people or anybody’s out there that’s, that wants to give it a shot. We are looking for DJs for [01:30:00] the radio stations.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, awesome. Okay.

Donald Dunn: If anybody, you know, have them reach out to me and I will show them how they do it and they can pick what show, what channel and, and what time frames they want to do it.

All I ask is that you play the music that is on there and you can promote. If you’re a podcast, you can promote your podcast. I don’t care. Just make sure you’re playing the veterans music and that it doesn’t become a three hour talk show and none of the veterans are

getting any exposure. That’s all I ask.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s awesome. All right. Well. Again, for the listeners, the links will be in the show notes. Check it out if you’re interested. And, uh, Donald, thank you again for coming on the show.

Donald Dunn: I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.[01:31:00]

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