Saturday, August 6, 2011

Turning heartbreak into motivation...

If you were following along with the Fight Gone Bad voting, you may have noticed at the close of the voting that Operation Ward 57 was in first place.  You may have also noticed however, I did not write a huge celebratory blog.  I'm sure you also noticed that that's because we did not win.  When they closed the voting, we were stoked! We were excited, and we were ready to celebrate and figure out what exactly we could do with such a huge donation.  The website had said that the winner would be announced on Monday.  I realized that after nominating us, I had never given them any contact information for the organization.  I emailed SportsGrants and gave them the information I assumed they would need.  Then Monday came. 

No announcement was made.  We sat on pins and needles.  Then around 3pm EST, I got the email that nearly crushed my soul.  Sportsgrants had made the decision to disqualify us from the nomination.  The explanation we received was that, essentially, people had double voted.  Due to a loophole in the system they set up, it was possible to a) use your Facebook to vote, then go register and use an email, and also b) register multiple emails.  They had indicated to us that on our behalf, multiple users had voted multiple times giving us an unfair advantage.  At no point did the organization itself encourage the double voting, but nonetheless things did not go well for us. 

Needless to say, I was heartbroken.  Our organization has lost online voting contests so many times because someone has set up a bot to continue voting, or do something that simply decimates us in the final stages.  We really felt good about this contest.  To find out the decision of Sportsgrants in the final hours was devestating.  I was so excited about possibly having our organization be the nominated one that I didn't stop to consider how I would feel if we didn't win.  I felt like I was a balloon that someone had let all of the air out of.  My initial reaction was screw Fight Gone Bad.  I don't want to do it.  I don't want to do anything that is associated with Sportsgrants or the people that did win. 

However, after the tragedy that took place today, I realize that regardless of my feelings towards Sportsgrants and the group that did get what I will always view as "our" money, there are now 31 families that are in need of our support.  Not only does Fight Gone Bad support the nominated charity, but it's also going towards The Special Operators Foundation which supports the families of fallen special operators.  In light of the tragedy that took place this morning, I'm putting aside my temper tantrum regarding the voting, and officially beginning my fundraising for Fight Gone Bad.  In addition to the Special Operators Foundation, Fight Gone Bad will also support CrossFit Kids, specifically with regards to water safety.  It will also go to support Camp Patriot, which is a small non-profit based in Montana that has a mission to support wounded veterans through outdoor recreation. 

This has not been an easy pill to swallow, and I'm not sure it ever will be.  I feel like Sportsgrants blamed us for the fact that a loophole existed. I don't quite get that.  Regardless though, life goes on.  I'm not going to stop doing what I do just because Sportsgrants doesn't want to support it.  I have been told more times in the past 3 weeks than I can count, how awesome it is that Operation Ward 57 does what it does.  We have continued to touch people and change lives, and we have continued to be changed by the people we meet.  Someone recently wrote on my Facebook wall that I'm an angel for doing what I'm doing.  I don't think that at all.  I think I'm just a normal person, but even normal people can do good things. 

Although we may not have won Fight Gone Bad, our organization is a winner in a lot of people's books.  Recently, Dominion Power based in VA donated $1,000 to support our work.  UNFI from Washington also donated $3,000 to our organization so that we can continue to do what we do.  Speakeasy, a great t-shirt company, has agreed to donate 15% of every M16 T-shirt purchase to Operation Ward 57.  Rock the Dock Pub and Grill has worked very closely with Brittney Hamilton, our Executive Director, to organize and host "Rock and Rally for the Troops" in Tacoma, Washington.  Countless new likes and supporters have come to our Facebook page, and when it comes to selflessness, there is no greater example than that of Charles Trentelmen.  A dear friend of one of our patients, Charles is a columnist for the Standard-Examiner in Utah.  In a recent article, Charles encouraged readers to donate directly to Operation Ward 57 so that we can continue to support our wounded soldiers.  His article at last update had raised over $5,000 for our organization.  It may not rival the funds from Fight Gone Bad, but the support we have been shown over the past few weeks has been phoenomenal.  This support is support that will not exist for just a one time event either.  These organizations and people have continued to help make others aware of our organization and the work that we do.  These people have been angels in themselves. 

Although it won't be going to Operation Ward 57, please follow my link below and help contribute to my Fight Gone Bad 6 Fundraising page.  It will mean so much to the families and soldiers who will receive these funds. 

Fight Gone Bad 6- Give to those who gave their all. 

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