November 15, 2016

Veteran’s Day

Written by derekherrera

Happy Veteran’s Day!  The past two months have been a blur.

I was able to speak at the JLabs campus in Boston and Houston but wasn’t able to make it to Toronto and had to reschedule this event for the winter.  The Veteran’s crew in Houston is particularly noteworthy and I had a phenomenal time catching up with the team down there.  They have formed a networking group called Houston Veterans in Business that has has mobilized to do some great civic work, like supporting the MARSOC Foundation.  I was also able to swing by and see my grandparents and family in North Texas on the way home.

I was fortunate to see the Ride430 crew as they wrapped up another successful ride out here in Camp Pendleton.  The Ride430 team is an incredible group of patriotic Americans that have raised Millions of dollars for Veteran’s non-profit organizations.  Their founder, John Greenway, is truly inspiring and it was a great time getting to hang with this crew as they wrapped up another successful event.


I went back to my USNA 10-year reunion and got to catch up with some of my favorite people.  My classmates are amazing and I found myself so fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve alongside such great people.  One truly heroic classmate of mine, Brad Snyder, just published a book about his life titled, Fire in My Eyes.  It is the true story of Brad and his recovery from losing his eyesight after an Improvised Explosive Device detonated while he was on patrol in Afghanistan.  One year after he was injured, he won a Gold Medal in swimming at the Paralympics in 2012.  In Rio this past year he not only won gold but broke a world record that previously stood for over 30 years.


Two weeks ago I attended the annual gala for the Bob Woodruff Foundation called Stand up for Heroes.  I spoke on stage two years ago utilizing the ReWalk exoskeleton and this year was invited back to introduce Jerry Seinfeld.  Unfortunately, Maura was not able to attend and she is Jerry’s biggest fan.  Luckily, I was able to meet him backstage and he graciously signed his book for Maura.  All of the comedians, Louis CK, Jon Stewart, and Jim Gaffigan, and Bruce Springsteen were incredible.

All of the work that Bob and Lee Woodruff have done to raise awareness and funds to support Veteran’s causes is exemplary.  This year was the tenth year that they have hosted Stand up For Heroes and during this period they have helped so many people to understand what Veterans and their families endure.  Bob and Lee have gone above and beyond after Bob was injured in Iraq in 2006 and I am genuinely grateful to know them both.


Last week I celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Orange County with the November 10 Association.  It is always a great event and this year General Jim Mattis was the guest speaker.  He delivered a message of unity and strength saying ‘E Pluribus Unum – From many, one…’ and that the Marine Corps will continue to stand united despite any chaos that ensues during election season.  This is the calling of our Marine Corps, to stand most ready when our nation is least ready, and that there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the future of America.  Every time I get to hear General Mattis I am humbled, inspired and motivated, and I don’t think he could be more correct about the future of our great nation.