How Team RWB helps
May 19, 2016
Team Red, White & Blue’s mission is “to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.”
In other words, the organization’s objective is to ease the transition of veterans from military life to civilian life by creating bonds between veterans and volunteers through athletic and communal events.
Each chapter has different small scale events, weekly run groups are very common. These events allow veterans to create new bonds, while also maintaining physical fitness that could be lost otherwise.
Lucy Del Gaudio, Army veteran and Northern New Jersey chapter captain, organizes run groups in Saddle Brook Park and Brookvale Park. Joe Quinn also participates in weekly runs in Central Park.
Team Red, White & Blue also sponsors Crossfit teams. CrossFit is a fitness program founded by Greg Glassman. It is a high intensity workout that tests your strength, speed, and endurance. But, CrossFit isn’t just about fitness, it’s about creating a community and bonding people through physical fitness.
Omar Iglesias, a Navy veteran, works with Team Red, White & Blue, and participates on a CrossFit team. He does hour long workouts that consists of a warm-up, a 20 minute strength section, and 20 minute workout. CrossFit allowed Iglesias to become more physically and emotionally stable and also led him to creating important relationships that eventually helped him create a successful career for himself.
Community service is also a big part of Team Red, White & Blue. Giving back to people in need fills the sense of purpose that is lost, while also creating bonds with people you might not expect.
Del Gaudio and members of her chapter work with Meals on Wheels, a national organization that provides food and safety checks to senior citizens. Every month, they visit a transition home in Garfield, New Jersey for homeless veterans. They provide a themed dinner for them. Not only do they prepare meals, they also spend time with them. They play games and talk to them to support the homeless veterans.
For Del Gaudio this is an incredible experience. Helping people that are just like herself, and meeting veterans from other eras is her favorite part of Team Red, White & Blue. Overseas, she was protecting and helping people, and community service allows her to bring that home too.
In addition, Team Red, White & Blue has a more social aspect. They will take members to sporting events, movies, and bowling alleys so veterans have a chance to create friendships with other veterans and civilians. They also have chapter barbeques where almost 100 members have dinner together.
Team Red, White & Blue also participates in several runs to raise awareness for their organization. In addition to wearing their trademark “We are the Eagle” apparel, they stand out by running with an American flag. In every race the organization takes part in the carry the flag so everyone knows it is them. They have competed in the VEThack Ruck March To End Veteran Suicide, the JFK 50 Mile, Minnesota Twin Cities Marathon, Detroit Marathon, the Run as One, the Special Olympics Marathons, and hundreds of other. Participating in these runs not only raises awareness and increases donations, but also allows members to bond by training together.
Team Red, White & Blue also hosts large scale events that are sponsored by huge corporations such as Nike and Johnson & Johnson.
The Old Glory Relay is a Team Red, White & Blue run event that is sponsored by Microsoft, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and many others. A single flag is carried across the country by hundreds of people over a span of about 60 days. The past two years, the run started on September 11 in California, across the country, until Veterans’ Day when they finished in Washington D.C. This year however, it will begin in Seattle, down the west coast, and then across country, finishing in the Team Red, White & Blue national headquarters in Tampa, FL. The last Old Glory Relay ran over 3,500 miles. Athletes endured temperatures up to 110 degrees and below freezing. They relay raised $436,000 and increased memberships by 19 percent. This event allows over a thousand of members from chapters all over the country to join together and create new relationships and spread awareness for veteran issues and Team Red, White & Blue.
Trail Running Camps are also a huge event. Based out of Texas, each chapter sends a few members to take part in the program. Professional athletes come to mentor. It’s not all running though, mentors teach about trail running techniques, training plans, gear, nutrition, injury prevention and first aid, and trail etiquette.
Team Red, White & Blue also helps with non-military problems.
Joe Quinn lost his brother, James Quinn, on September 11, to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial service firm that was located on the 102 to 104 floors of the North Tower. James was one of the 650 Cantor employees that lost their life that day.
Joe Quinn was a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point when he found out. He had a lot of trouble dealing with the news. For the first 12 years, he kept it to himself most of the time, keeping his emotions bottled up inside of him. Team Red, White & Blue helped him reconcile with it and become more open. It taught him that one can use tragic moments to become a leader and help others.