CENTURY 21 Atwood shares the #relentless story of Master Sergeant Ted Johnson, Duluth, MN.
The feeling of community and support that Wounded Warriors United MN provides is probably incomprehensible to most. Most civilians, that is. Ted Johnson understands the importance and need of creating this community, and how it has dramatically and positively impacted Veterans in Minnesota. This is the beginning of the story and why Ted is our #relentlessneighbor.
“Sharing stories helps. Understanding is so important. Getting together and being in each other’s company makes us understand that we are not alone.”
Ted is a Duluth, MN native, and is active in the military, full-time today. He is in the 148th Fighter Wing, Weapons Loader. He left for the Marine Corps Boot Camp 10 days after his high school graduation. Duluth, born and raised, Ted has experienced much in military life including being deployed to Iraq. Right after boot camp, Ted came to get to know someone from that boot camp closely. Shortly after, that person tried to take his life.
“Civilians do not go through or share the same intense experiences we do. Leaving your family, unsafe environments, responsibility to what you do, what you see that others cannot imagine”.
Deployment revealed the unimaginable, and shortly after, Ted had another close friend take his life. Those life experiences led him and some close fellow veterans to start the Wounded Warriors United Minnesota chapter in 2016.
“Only vets understand what other vets know.” Ted is relentless because he wants to help other veterans have positive options for their future lives and to help them have better outcomes emotionally. WWUMN takes veterans on outdoor excursions 10 to 12 times a year and is active through a lot of word-of-mouth promotion. “All are welcome – veterans we know, people that reach out through social media, word of mouth, active, retired, medically retired. All are welcome”. In one of those first outings, Ted remembers a participant telling him, “My brother has not smiled in I don’t even know how long. To see him laughing and enjoying himself and not worrying about anything else, is awesome.” That, right there, is what a community like this can do.
WWUMN covers all costs for the participants. The goal is to leave everything behind with no worry, and not a concern about a single financial aspect. “Everything is better when you get in nature with fellow veterans. We can understand each other without having to tell the whole story.” Ice fishing trips, goose hunts, wake boating, hunting, anything outdoors! As Ted describes – the comradery that is built within a couple of hours of meeting people is impressive.
“Being able to provide that experience of sharing without judgment. That leads to understanding and better emotional health. That is awesome. Through shared understanding, life will have a positive trajectory again. Getting through the highs and lows of each person’s unique experience and building momentum to have more highs together. It is ok if you make a phone call to help your mental and emotional health”
This #relentless neighbor post might help us all understand veterans, even though we may never share the same experience.
If you would like to learn more or donate to the Wounded Warriors United Minnesota chapter please visit their website at www.wwumn.org and make sure to follow them on Facebook @woundedwarriorsunitedminnesota. Spread the word to and share their posts with all of the fellow veterans in your life.
Please help us in honoring Major Sergeant Ted Jonhson, our outstanding CENTURY 21 Atwood Relentless Neighbor of the Month.