The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By Virginia Ross, Special For The Quill
This is the beginning of a new day.
What you do with it is important.
You have exchanged a day in your life for it.
Today,Veterans' Day, I spent it wisely and am humble to say I met a hero when I caught up with Jack McIlwain who will be finished with his walk across Illinois by the time you read this.
Jack, an army veteran who spent 8 years in service, comes from a farm near Marian, Indiana where his family raises corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle (sound familiar).
He served in Iraq stationed at Balad Air Force Base. (Balad Air Base is a Iraqi Air Force base located near Balad in the Sunni Triangle 40 miles (64 km) north of Baghdad, Iraq.
It was opened during the 1980s called Al-Bakr Air Base which housed Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighters, during the 2000s the base was occupied by the United States Armed Forces as part of the Iraq War and called both Balad Air Base by the United States Air Force and LSA Anaconda by the United States Army before being renamed Joint Base Balad on 15 June 2008.
The base was handed back to the Iraqi Air Force during December 2011 returning to be called Balad Air Base). During the Iraq War it was the second largest U.S. Base in Iraq and today is home to the Iraqi Air Force's General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Jack has walked through four states and wants to complete all eleven which are represented in his brigade. He says he averages about 23-26 miles per day and he had been walking 11 days carrying his 70 lbs. pack plus a large American Flag beginning on Oct. 29th when I caught up with him on the Olena Road headed for Burlington, IA before the forecasted storm hit.
Consequently, we didn't talk long. He told me people had been so welcoming and helpful offering food and places to stay (he stayed with Dan and Carol Kane the night before).
Why is he dedicating himself to such punishment? He wants to reach out to every veteran and thank them for their service and make you and me aware of the problem of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). He said that 22 veterans take their life every day and he wants all veterans to know that Warrior Pointe is there for them.
He has walked 770 miles since June 1st and plans to continue next year. He does have two sponsors: Bass Pro and Merrell shoes. (I did ask about the shoes and he said a new pair was on its way.)
His flag was one flown by his former Commander and when that man stepped down, he, being 1st Sergeant, was selected Commander for his brigade. He is committed and hopes all will look at the web site: www.warriorpointe.org to learn about the organization and refer former veterans to that site for help.
Warrior Pointe's Mission
Warrior Pointe, Inc. was created to be the number one rallying point for any and all veterans who have honorably served this great nation.
It does not matter whether you served your time during peacetime, wartime, or if you are still serving. If you served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or National Guard, you are welcome as member of Warrior Pointe.
Every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman, each a hero in their own right, joins our ranks to buttress one another, and to help raise awareness of the issues we face as defenders of our nation. We are dedicated to maintaining the brotherhood we shared when we served.
Warrior Pointe, Inc. is a unique non-profit organization for veterans because our mission is simple and effective. We strive to recreate the brotherhood that all veterans shared while in the service of our nation.
Through this brotherhood and because of the bonds we share, our members act as a safety net, not only for each other but also for those who are lost and searching for that missing connection with their brothers-in-arms, to ensure they do not fall and are not forgotten.
This basic offer of friendship and camaraderie can end the veteran isolation that often leads to joblessness, homelessness, and even suicide.
We are a nation wide all veteran, all volunteer organization and since day one our focus has been, and will always be, helping the veterans who need us the most and doing so in the communities our members call home.
Our local chapters provide a safe place for our veterans to meet, connect, network, and assist their fellow warriors.
Their members direct the focus of our outreach events based on the specific needs of the veterans in their geographical locations.
We know that each Region, State, and Chapter faces its own challenges, the fiercest fight to assist our warriors in one city is not always the same as the one being fought in another.
There are no membership fees to join Warrior Pointe. We believe that you, our brothers and sisters, paid your dues when you raised your right hand and swore to serve this nation. Our oath has no expiration date, our enlistment or commission may have ended, but our oath has not.
We are the uncommon few that share the common bond of duty, honor, and country. Join us.
Warrior Pointe is a tax-exempt organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible according to IRS regulation. We are dedicated to helping our veteran community in any shape or form.
How do we help? With the creation of chapters across the nation we are able to have a safe haven meeting place where veterans can meet and be a support group for each other. How do the chapters help? The chapters are designed to be a network, a system that we can rely on when we need it.
Donate to Warrior Pointe( How does Warrior Pointe benefit from donations? Warrior Pointe benefits in many forms from donations from wonderful people like you. Your contributions help keep this website up, our forums where we can discuss on a national level the issues facing our veterans today.
The cost of doing business such as business cards, flyers for missing veterans, banners for events etc... Donations are used to help our own community. Food gift cards for families that need to put food on the table. Gas card for the individual that needs to fill his car up for gas to be able to go to work. Necessities for veterans that are unable to pay for them.( Where do we see Warrior Pointe in 5 years? Within 5 years we would like to see permanent homes for our chapter meetings, and this will cost rent money. The ability to reach out and help our brothers and sisters as needed. Where do we see Warrior Pointe in 10 years? Within 10 years, the goal will be infrastructure owned by Warrior Pointe, land owned by Warrior Pointe where we can help retrain veterans that need some kind of vocational training to get back to being a civilian again. Land to grow food as a therapeutic means. For our brothers and sisters that need it. Where do we see Warrior Pointe in 20 years? To be the household name, to be the advocate for ALL of our war fighter community. To be the one stop for all outgoing members of the armed forces.( Warrior Pointe pledges now and here on forth, not to be profit driven. As of now, all members including the President of the organization are on volunteer basis. We do understand where there will be a time where full time paid positions will be available but no one shall be paid in excessive amounts of money like other so called non-profit organizations. We do appreciate your donation to this organization, regardless of the amount. Every penny helps, every dime is accounted for. Every dollar goes to helping ALL our veterans! From the bottom of our hearts... Thank you!