I guess I have a little announcement. *Smiley Face*
I can’t even put into words how honored I am to be this week’s Boot Campaign “Celebrity Supporter”.
I am still giddy about it.
I know, I know…y’all don’t give me too much crap about the “celebrity” thing. We all know that is a bit of a stretch.
If you have been a reader of my obnoxious blog for a while, you know that I have been pretty open about my father’s suicide in the past year or so, but what I haven’t written much about is how after his death, I threw myself into learning as much as I possibly could about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in older veterans. After my father took his life, we learned from his VA doctors that he was suffering from and seeking treatment for PTSD, which was likely the reason for his suicide. He just wanted to end his emotional pain. We knew he was seeing a physiatrist, but after I learned about his diagnosis and his prescription drug abuse, studying about the disease was the only way I knew how to mourn not only his death, but his life…especially about why certain normal things like movies, fireworks, his insomnia or watching the nightly news could instantly turn him into another person; an angry, abusive person that was full of rage.
When you are a kid, you just automatically assume “you were bad” and that is what made your parents angry. I can distinctly remember my mom telling us things like “please be good”, “please don’t wake up your dad”, “please be quiet” or “please don’t upset your dad.” I know now that the constant state of anxiety my mother, brother and I felt and how we always made sure not to do or say anything to set off my father’s temper was/is normal for families living with PTSD. As a child that grew up with this constant pressure to “be good” when I didn’t even understand what that meant, to say that pressure hasn’t affected me as an adult would just be silly because of course it has and it continues to do so. That’s the thing about PTSD, it doesn’t just affect the victims, it affects everyone that is close to them.
Learning about PTSD helped me realize why my father WAS the way he was and how this disease and its symptoms manifested years after his wartime experience in Vietnam. My father was a solider until the day he died. He spent 30 years in the Army and it was his accomplishments as an officer in the military that made him the most proud, but they were also the things that caused him the most guilt and shame. My dad never spoke about his time in Vietnam until close to the end of his life, but when I was younger I remember him telling us stories about the way he was treated…even as soon as when he stepped off of the airplane after both of his tours in Vietnam. He told us about being spit on while wearing his uniform and being called horrible names, but I never really “got” it until I was an adult. I can’t imagine how that must have felt, just like I can’t imagine the shame he carried around with him the rest of his life for the things he not only witnessed, but had to do personally to serve his country. Men like my father couldn’t and wouldn’t seek help because of the social stigma. He was a solider. He was strong. He didn’t need help…until it was much too late.
Well, it does not HAVE to be that way anymore. We don’t have to repeat all of the mistakes of the past. The research shows that for every soldier killed in war, 25 veterans kill themselves. In Iraq and Afghanistan a soldier dies on average every day and a half. In America, a veteran kills themselves every 80 minutes. Think about those numbers. The horrors that these men and women go through are things that we as civilians will never be able to understand. As Americans we are all proud of the troops and the job they did overseas, but when the welcome home parades are over and all of the yellow ribbons are taken down, THAT is the time we need to really show our appreciation…and take care of them!
I couldn’t even begin to write about all the things the Boot Campaign does for the military and their families, especially for the returning soldiers, but one of the six charitable organizations that the Boot Campaign is involved with is Not Alone. Not Alone is a national organization that provides free programs and counseling services to soldiers AND their families that have been impacted by PTSD. Being a Texas Music junkie, of course I had seen the Boot Campaign’s cute pictures of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Wade Bowen, Kevin Fowler, etc in their clunky combat boots but I never really paid them much attention. It wasn’t until I ran across the Not Alone organization during my own research that I became aware of the Boot Campaign and their own amazing story.
So really long story short, the rest is history. I am naked in a bathtub.
Damn, enough with all that serious stuff…I need a drink!
Lone Star-ita anyone???
Beginning this Independence Day, SKYY® Vodka is giving Texans a chance to give back to those who protect our freedom 365 days a year. SKYY introduces the Lone Star Limited Edition Bottle, designed to pay homage to the great state of Texas and to help Texans support our dedicated U.S. service men and women.
Beginning July 4th, Texans will have the opportunity to give back to their returning troops by purchasing the SKYY Vodka Lone Star Limited Edition Bottle at their local liquor store. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle purchased will benefit the Boot Campaign, a Texas-based charity dedicated to military appreciation and veteran issues awareness, which boasts a roster of Texas supporters like Pat Green, Troy Aikman and Deborah Duncan. Available for a limited time this summer only in Texas, the SKYY Vodka charity bottle is easy to spot, as it proudly features the famous Lone Star of Texas on the brand’s iconic cobalt blue bottle.
“As an American-made vodka, we understand the importance of giving back to those who protect our freedom day in and day out,” said Jason Daniel, Brand Director, SKYY Vodka. “The SKYY Vodka Lone Star Limited Edition Bottle is a great opportunity for Texans to help us provide funding to the Boot Campaign’s efforts to make sure our U.S. service men and women get the recognition, respect and support they rightly deserve.”
As part of the limited edition launch, SKYY mixologists have created two refreshing Texas-inspired cocktails perfect for summer sipping:
SKYY Vodka Lone Star-ita
Made especially for a pitcher
2 parts SKYY Vodka
1 part Lime Juice
Half part Agave Nectar
Mix ingredients in pitcher and add cucumber slices. Let it sit for approximately 15-20 minutes, add ice and serve. If you don’t have time to let it steep then give the cucumbers a little “muddle,” add ice and serve in salt-rimmed martini glass.
Texas Kick SKYY Gimlet
2 oz. SKYY Vodka
1 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
3 dashes Tabasco
Shake all ingredients. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
The SKYY Vodka Lone Star Limited Edition Bottle can be found at your local liquor store for a suggested retail price of 750 ml ($18.49). For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/SKYYVodka or Twitter: @SKYYVodka.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. Again, I really can’t put into words how honored I am to be involved with this organization and I can promise y’all this isn’t a one time thing for me for a little positive publicity or a cute photo-op. You can expect to be hearing much more out of me about the Boot Campaign.
I know that I am just the vulgar blog girl that “spreads hate” and talks shit about everyone in the Texas Music Scene on her mean little website, but for some crazy reason that I still can’t wrap my brain around this whole Rita Ballou thing is still around. If I can use my evil powers to spread hate, I don’t see why I can’t use those same evil powers to cultivate some awareness about the problems for these returning heros and their families…in the memory of Ret. Major Archie Ray Cox….at least between twatwaffle jokes.
(This feels so pretentious because I didn’t win a damn Oscar or anything, but I just want to thank Mr. Larry for dealing with my crazy ass and thank Crystal, Kara and Todd because we ALL know this isn’t how I look in real life! You just can’t really go wrong with an awesome photographer, lots of bubbles and one heck of a glam squad. Love y’all! )