Normally our Public Service Announcements come from the wise words put forth by Big Sexy. I can’t even begin to borrow his moniker, if I were to try and come up with my own name in that vein I’d be know as Round Just Okay, which isn’t nearly as catchy. So please bare with me if the words put forth here aren’t as eloquent.
It was 2 years ago today that an article was published In Honor of the Honorable that gave tribute to Army Cpl. Frank R. Gross of Charlie Troop 2nd squadron-38th Cavalry Regiment 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, an accomplished unit with a history dating back to World War II, and whose colors have since been cased (2015).
Today, July 16, 2019,marks the 8 year anniversary of the date that Frank gave what Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion for his country. That article was a humble attempt at paying homage to a man I never met, but who had inspired me, and for whom I am eternally grateful.
It is because the of the sacrifices of Frank, and others before him that have served, and continue to serve in our nation’s armed forces that I can sit here and write these words freely. It is why we can freely disagree with one another, from our most vulnerable citizen to our most emboldened public servants.
It seems every time you turn on the news, or scroll through social media now a days there is another public relations war being waged. The animosity amongst disagreeing groups feels tangible. Like the entire country is part of a Hatfields v. McCoys level feud from coast to coast.
Lost on many, if not most, is that while it feels like anger is ready to tear the country apart, it is also that very option to disagree that is what makes the country so great. Its important to remember that while the current political climate may feel oppressive, there are many places around the world still, and certainly throughout history where such public opposition would not be tolerated.
What also makes our country great is when our citizens use the freedoms bestowed upon them to give back to the community. Not because its mandated. Not because their tax dollars are going to endow welfare institutions, but because they genuinely want to provide for their fellow man who may not be as fortunate currently.
So in honor of Frank, a man who put others before himself on this day, and a public service to the You’re Ducking Right community, I want to take a few moments from your day to give thanks to others who have gone above and beyond to give back to their towns and cities, and to let you know of some charitable acts and groups that have events coming up that hit close to home to the You’re Ducking Right community.
Some of our friends back east in Maine will be hosting an open house and memorial ride
Roadside Cycles in Shapleigh Maine will be hosting an open house on Saturday July 27th. This is the 8th year of the annual event. The local bike shop will be partnering with Dog Gone Bikers to raise money for local veterans. The Michael Jones Memorial ride will begin at 11 AM following a registration that begins at 10 AM. They’ll have a pig roast, 50/50 raffle, music and more. The registration cost for the memorial ride is $25 to ride, or $40 with a passenger. They’ll have t-shirts for sale, and again, all the proceeds will go to help local vets. So if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast in Northern New England (or further, hell, maybe you just want to ride to Maine that weekend for a lobster roll and a good time), this is the place you want to be the weekend of the 27th. And even if you don’t own a motorcycle, but you want to enjoy some good times with good people, hear some live music and donate to a good cause, the open house portion of the event kicks off at 1:30 PM. For more information, or to ask questions, please look for them on Facebook at Roadside Cycles Facebook
Not on the charity front, but very much a shinning example of sacrificing for others, also on the east coast, I want to make sure to properly recognize a selfless act.
On Tuesday June 18th, just shy of 10 PM Kurt Knepshield stepped outside and saw across the street his neighbor’s house burning. Without a second thought, or maybe even without a first, Kurt, a 41 year old father of 2, ran across the street, and encountered a female resident of the home. She told him of a 57 year old man was trapped on the second floor.
Kurt put his life in danger instantly to try to (and succeed at) saving another man’s life. This wasn’t his father, brother, or son. This was Kurt helping his fellow man because it was the right thing to do. For someone who has known Kurt nearly all his life, this isn’t shocking.
Another example that heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. He’s pictured below receiving a commendation from the Abington Massachusetts police department.
Last winter we detailed the efforts of Leanna Marchese and her Fitness in Motion crew as they and she in particular went above and beyond to make sure 251 kids had presents for Christmas through the Freedom of Praise ministry. If you missed it, take a gander here: COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: LeANNA MARCHESE
Its only July, but Christmas time will be upon us before you know it. I invite anyone local to Las Vegas who’d like to contribute this December to reach out to me (you can comment on this article, or via twitter (@TopDucker), or on our Facebook page) and I will make sure to get you connected when the time comes. Even if you’re not in a financially comfortable position yourself. And I know putting two pennies together come holiday season is easier said than done sometimes, you would certainly be welcome at the wrap party (as seen in the picture) as every able body is welcome and put to use as the contributions come together, and the final organizing is done to ensure that the term Merry Christmas is available to all.
Speaking of putting together 2 pennies, and volunteering even when you yourself aren’t just living on easy street. I was given the honor of joining a group of selfless individuals on Independence Day weekend earlier this month as we volunteered at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission Food Bank. Together we helped provided 450 meals for the homeless of Las Vegas.
While the Rescue will certainly accept contributions in the form of money as any little bit is appreciated as they attempt to provide food, health, and safety to those less fortunate living in Las Vegas, this cost me zero dollars. It was nothing but my time and effort, and for as little of it as I gave, the reward in doing so went well beyond what I gave up.
This was my first time volunteering here, and would not hesitate to do so again. More than a couple people in the photo above give back to the local homeless, and local homeless veteran population routinely. More often than the Red Sox bullpen gets through a game without giving up the lead, which granted doesn’t feel that often, but to take time out of their busy profesionnal life days as often and consistently as they do, is just incredibly impressing, and inspiring to be around.
To learn more about the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and how you can help, check out their website Las Vegas Rescue Mission
Another friend of You’re Ducking Right spends time with a group called Critical Care Comics, based in Las Vegas. This is a group founded in 2012 with the stated mission of “To help ease the pain and create an escape, if only for 28 pages.”
While they can be found at various events around the Las Vegas valley, their primary charitable function is that they deliver books to sick children while dressed, and portraying their favorite comic book characters. A few moments that can just electrify a sick child’s otherwise downtrodden day. An absolutely wonderful cause, and a fantastic angle with which to give back to others.
To learn more about the group, or even better, to donate, you can learn more on their website: Critical Care Comics
Last but not least is an event that I’ve participated in a couple times, and my ass is still feeling the pain from, the annual 9/11 freedom ride. This will be the 7th year of the event and in the past has been found at locations and events such as Bite of Las Vegas, Container Park, and most recently at EoS Fitness.
September 11, 2019 will mark the 18th anniversary of the day the Twin Towers fell. A date that some seem to have forgotten occured, and that for others, will forever be burned into who they are today.
For a bit of background, heres a previous post about the event from 2017 REGULATORS MOUNT UP
This year, at 11:46 AM, a devoted, somewhat insane group of people, men and women, will spend up to 18 hours on a spin bike. The concept is similar to a walk-a-thon, or bowl-a-thon that you may have done as a kid. For $25 you can join in and spend an hour on the bike. For $450 you can ride the full 18 hours (or as many hours as you can/want to do, each hour costs $25). Most of the riders get donations, or sponsers to give the money for them to ride. When I reached out to the organizer of the event, she was still working to finalize where the money raised will go this year. It is thought that it will be donated to the first responders from 9/11 who are dealing with health issues since the attack. A subject particularly relevent as the first delayed fatality from complications arising from being a first responder has recently occured. The delay in the decision is simply to make sure the money is going to an organization that can perform the most good with the funds raised.
Why the 18 hours you may ask? Its to commerate the 18th anniversary. By starting at 11:46 AM on Tuesday September 10th, and going for 18 hours, they’ll cap their ride at 5:46 AM (PST), the time the first plane hit the tower and forever changed our nation.
If you’re wanting to ride, or cannot ride, but want to sponser someone who can, please reach out. As the avenue by which to donate becomes available I will reach back out to you and provide you the appropriate info. I know Mrs. TopDucker is going to ride this year, probably not the full 18 hours, but she’ll give it the ole college try. And if she books up, there are more than a few people in the rolodex who will be riding and looking for sponsors.
Or even better, come ride yourself. An 18 hour window gives you plenty of time to come down and ride after your work day ends Tuesday. Maybe you’re a night owl? Well, the fun will be going all night long. I have to tell you, it can get a bit whacky, costumes and wigs come into play. Even if you can’t ride, but want to come see what everything is about. Donations and support are accepted throughout the event.
To bring this back what this day means to me, and an article written two years ago. There are holidays up and down the calendar. Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Easter, Christmas, Larry Bird’s birthday. But July 16th will forever be a day to me where I take a moment to appreciate the goodness in others. A day to appreciate and applaud the efforts of those around me to make the world a better, safer, more decent place to live and raise a family.
I never met Frank Gross. But I’ve seen his spirit live on in those that knew him and loved him. In the selfless acts of his sister. The efforts of his parents to continue to support the country and institutions that their son gave his life for. And the devotion to good causes by those whose lives he touched.
It may seem like a simple, futile gesture, but it is given with the utmost respect and reverence in that today, July 16th, will always be a day of reflection for me. And while I don’t have the skills in my hands to carve a statue, or the stamina in my lungs to hike a mountain in reflection. I can try to provide clarity to my thoughts and feelings through the written word, and try to convey what his sacrifice and spirit have given to me.
So today’s public service announcement boils down to this. God bless America. God bless Frank Gross who died to protect us and our freedoms. And God bless those living on, making the world a better place for everyone, who by their charitable acts pay respect to our soldiers past and present who have given us this opportunity. Thank you.
- Written by Jason Sullivan
- Find us on Twitter at @TopDucker or on Facebook at You’re Ducking Right