Monday, January 04, 2016

Reflection: 2015 Semper Fidelis All American Bowl

One year ago, on Sunday night January 4th  2015, Jamie and I had the incredible privilege of being VIP guests and representatives of Nuru International at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, hosted by the United States Marine Corps at the StubHub Arena in Carson, CA.

The Semper Fi Bowl is a unique bowl experience for these All-American athletes. Not only must they excel on the field, but also, they must exemplify courage, commitment, and service off the field. In fact, as part of bowl week, these high school students organized drills and games for kids in some of the primary and middle-schools around Carson to encourage young people to live lives of service and integrity.

It was a distinct honor to be guests of Lieutenant Colonel Raphael Hernandez of the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Command. In the past, he had shared with me how he had discovered Nuru and was really impressed by the great example my friend Jake had demonstrated by continuing a life committed to service after leaving the Marine Corps. Lt. Col. Hernandez has helped share Nuru’s story with millions of people via social media, and, while it was an honor to see top notch athletes on the grid-iron, the highest honor was finally meeting face-to-face a man who has become a good friend, fellow advocate, brother-in-arms, and fellow #warriorforgood.

Lt Col. Hernandez also introduced Jamie and myself to Ryan and Amanda Burke from Team Rubicon. If you don’t know about Team Rubicon, do yourself a favor and check these folks out. They are committed to taking the training that they and other veterans acquired and converting that into volunteer service and organization when disaster strikes. One of the greatest needs in the event of a disaster is leadership that can organize and deploy volunteers for the most impact. Check them out and join the team!

While attending the game, a gentleman that served with Jake and Alex Martin in Force Recon, Byron Owen, saw my Nuru shirt, and said, “Nuru is doing incredible stuff. While we miss Jake and Alex at Force Recon, we are incredibly proud of the work you guys are doing on the ground to make an impact and help make the world a little safer and more stable for everyone.” I always get stoked when I see people who are part of this movement that I have yet to meet. It inspires me and renews my own commitment to keep telling this story and invite people to join us in ending the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation.

I also had the privilege of meeting and talking at length with Sergeant Major Irvin Howard among others. While I talked to quite a few Marines, Seargeant Major Howard stayed with us the entire evening and went out of his way to serve us and make us feel welcome. We had incredible conversation about family, about the Marine Corps, about society, about Nuru, and even about his future when he retires. We talked about the need for people to become more actively involved in good citizenship to mentor the youth, and to serve as role models as best as we can. I look forward to what is in store for him in the next chapter of his life!

Thank you Lt Col Hernandez, and thank you United States Marine Corps, for your commitment to service and for making us feel welcome at the Semper Fi Bowl.

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