Air Force veteran, Shawn D. Fore, shares his thoughts on why he participates in #Movember
Movember and the Good Men Project thank our Veterans for their service and for the support they continue to give to men’s health and staying connected to each other.
I served in the Air Force for five years and got out nearly 17 years ago now.
It seems like it was just yesterday. I was a young man and thought I had the world by the tail! I knew it all.
Years later I realized just how little I knew about life. From my time in the military I learned many things. However, two things stand out. They are the reasons I Mo.
The military has a lot of phrases and military specific jargon, but the one I like the most is “Embrace the Suck.”
I certainly did not have the most terrible experience while serving. It was peacetime and I was stationed on a beautiful tropical island. I was learning a great trade as an electrician, studying Japanese, and less than four months from getting out when 9-11 happened.
Suddenly I went from being an electrician to standing post, checking under cars for bombs, and trading in my trusty voltmeter for a rifle. Everyone was restricted to base and I remember they brought MRE’s (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) to the barracks. It was nothing but MRE’s and Fox News Coverage of the attacks 24-7.
We worked 12 hour shifts and were spread throughout the base at various checkpoints. The weather was terrible. We had just gone through a typhoon and the rain just kept coming. The long shifts were not leaving much time for anything much less drying out my rain gear. It stunk so bad. I was wet, cold, hungry, and dare I say smelly….I was miserable.
Looking back though, it is one of my favorite memories and proudest moments. I should have “embraced the suck” more. If you can just get through it, you’ll be glad you did. It’s always worth it! Getting through it though was definitely made easier by my friends I was serving side by side with.
Friends…I don’t even know if that is the right word for them. They were my family. One of the hardest things for me since getting out is missing the comradery and fellowship you have in the military. When I first got stationed at Kadena there was a huge shop party.
I had not been there very long, but everyone made sure that I was invited. I was just a young awkward 20-year-old kid from Colorado, but they made sure I was invited. Not only was I invited, I was made to feel welcome. During my time there I was never married nor had family around, but I never missed a holiday meal. Somebody always took me in and supported me.
I loved that about the military. There was always someone there for me. My support network was spectacular. I still talk with many of them today, and I know in my heart if I called on any one of them they would be here for me in a heartbeat.
So why do I Mo?
I Mo for the ones that are going through “the suck.”
I Mo to be the support network for the awkward ones.
I Mo for the 22.
Photo Credit: Movember (with permission)
Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys began in 2015 with an investment by Movember to support diverse communities working to improve mental health and wellbeing among men and boys of color, or military service members, veterans and their families. This initiative is built on strong evidence that prevention and early intervention can help improve mental health, and it focuses on upstream interventions that strengthen social connections and address stigma. Five years into the initiative, the Making Connections communities have shown that peer-to-peer support and shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration have the power to support mental wellbeing and build resilience.
One of these communities, Resilience Grows Here, is a veteran-focused mental health initiative. The program engages veterans, their families, and members of the broader community in efforts to prevent suicide among veterans by reducing veterans’ isolation, destigmatizing mental illness, building resilience in boys and men, and creating safe spaces for veterans to connect with each other.
Donate now to help them continue their work in mental health and suicide prevention.