Mission Accomplished in Castle Rock, Colorado (Video Tells the Story)
The energy in the air was ecstatic. The anticipation of awaiting the unfurling sight of an American Flag rising above the horizon was imminent. Around the five o’clock hour, the expected time of Michael’s arrival to the at The Whiskey Lodge in Castle Rock, Colorado, his destination at the end of his ruck march, I sojourned up on the grassy hill facing Meadows Boulevard. As I awaited in anticipation, preparing my ‘Live Feed’ on the CRCO – Living & Loving Local Facebook page, I caught a glimpse. Yes, the American Flag was the first thing I saw. Below, carrying the flag after a twenty-five mile ‘ruck march’, Staff Sergeant (Retired) Michael Conners appears. I could almost see a smile on his face, still 200 yards out. In spite of the previous evening’s setback, the journey was complete. Mission Accomplished!
This past week I received a message from Michael Conners. Michael was filling me in on an event he was holding for Veterans Mental Health. His participation was a 30 Mile Ruck March; a flag-carry walk around the town of Castle Rock, Colorado. Of course, the goal was to raise monies for his non-profit, “Bodhi Battalion”, but more importantly, awareness of rising suicides related to mental health in our American Military Veterans Community in Colorado. During the past year during our shutdowns and restrictions, suicide rates according to Michael have doubled, believing this being contributed to by the isolation created during the pandemic.
What many do not know is Michael Conners posted this on his personal Facebook page the night before. I will let you read his own words for yourself: “Well boys and girls, it’s been a night. Was in the emergency room until 0100 getting checked out for what they thought was a stroke. Due to inconclusive results, they’ve referred me to a neurology specialist. I will still be conducting the ruck march for veteran mental health today but will be starting at the Red Hawk location at 1100 rather than the hospital at 0800. This is so I can hopefully get some fluids back into me this morning before the ruck march begins and ensure completion. Hopefully all will understand this change. Be sure to be at The Whiskey Lodge later today!”
Michael never waivered. He still started and completed the ruck march. Due to his late night, early morning hours in the hospital, the start time had to be postponed to begin around 11:00 AM, and covered twenty-five miles rather than the scheduled thirty. This was a feat in itself. What determination! What a soldier! Staff Sergeant Michael Conners deserves more than an applause. He and his non-profit foundation deserve all our support.
In conclusion, I wish to say how fortunate I feel to have been a small part of this journey, Saturday April 17, 2021. Thank you, Staff Sergeant Michael Conners for the invitation to follow along and help cover this amazing testimonial to your devotion for helping veterans in their struggles with PTSD and mental health rehabilitation.
Bodhi Battalion – PTSD Redefined: Bodhi [Bo-Dee] Means To Become Aware, To Notice Or Understand; To Awaken – Ensuring Our Veterans Get the Care They Deserve
Mission: Fighting for those who fought for us
Vision: A future where all soldiers can access the type of care and support they need, when they need it.
Purpose: To foster independence for veterans struggling with PTSD, TBI, and substance abuse.
The Bodhi Battalion was established in 2015 to provide support to veterans who are struggling with mental/behavioral health issues, addiction, positive social support systems, and community engagement.
Article/Video: Gary Godfrey