If you have been reading my blog you know that I have tried to share with you the impact that the book FEARLESS has had on me. There are so many great stories of heroism coming out of these latest conflicts that have come about because of the War on Terror. All of these stories are inspirational in one way or another. The life of Adam Brown and what he went through to get to the Tip of the Spear keeps FEARLESS at the top of my list. That is why I have titled this series of posts, My FEARLESS Adventure. I maybe have taken things to an extreme when it comes to this book but if you read it you might understand why.
If you have been following along you have heard me state that as much as I love professional sports, my real heroes wear camouflage. I own a Kindle and the list of books that I have read about members of the Special Operations community continues to grow. I am a veteran, although I did not serve in combat. The character that these guys possess and the training they receive set them apart in a class all by themselves. They are extra-ordinary in my book. I’m a big fan!
Do you remember my reaction after reading the book FEARLESS? I had seen it in a book store and read the back cover. I actually put it back on the shelf, because I was hesitant to read it. I bought a different book instead. However, once I did read it I was truly amazed by Adam and his family’s story. I still remember sitting in front of my computer wondering how I would go about getting ahold of these people to tell them how truly inspired I was by what I had read, and to thank them.
As it turns out, it is not as hard as I thought. It was through Fearless Rock – The Adam Brown Underwater Memorial page that I learned about the 5K run that is held in Hot Springs each year to honor Adam. I was unable to attend in 2014, but visited Hot Springs with my family in June of that year when I dove Fearless Rock for the first time. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet the Browns on that trip.
So fast forward to early 2015. I knew that the next 5K was just a short time away and so I approached my wife Rosie about the prospect of me going. I told her that I could work the extra overtime needed to help pay for the trip. Do you think that a person named Rosie would say no to such a request? Of course not. And yes, she thought that that would be okay.
I was excited that I was going to meet Adam's family and have the opportunity to express my appreciation for them telling his story. I was also going to be able to spend more time with Will and the Fearless Rock team and dive the memorial one more time.
So again, there is always the usual preparation involved in traveling. Once again it was cold flu season and staying well was a priority. Everything went well as the day approached. Then it was like the day before it was time to go and central Arkansas was hit with inclement weather. Snow and Ice and travel advisories, oh my! My reservations were set and I decided to go for it. The trip was on!
The flight to Hot Springs went without a hitch. I brought my Kindle with me on the trip. At the time I was reading the book titled, A Warrior’s Faith. The book was about a Navy SEAL named Ryan Job. He served alongside Chris Kyle, the American Sniper. Ryan lost his eyesight as a result of an injury sustained from a sniper’s bullet while he was in Iraq. It was authored by a man named Robert Vera. The book is about both Ryan’s life after the injury and the relationship that developed with him and Robert. I have often compared this book to FEARLESS because of its spiritual content, and thought of it as a companion to Adam’s story. I have to say, after rereading A Warrior’s Faith, that the story of Ryan and Robert really stands on its own. The book is a must read. Another incredible story.
The trip to Hot Springs from the airport in Little Rock was a little bit sketchy because there was still a lot of ice and snow on and around the roads. It was during the dark hours of the evening that I made the drive, however I made it safely to my room. I stayed at the Country Inn Lake Resort which is right on the edge of Lake Hamilton. It is also right next to the famous I-70 bridge that Adam jumped from out of a moving vehicle. Read FEARLESS! I was later told by Will Stevens that this is the same Inn that SEAL team six stayed at when they attended Adam’s memorial service. It was at that time that they all jumped from the I-70 as a show of solidarity with their fallen brother. According to Will, they stayed in the very block of rooms that included my room, which was room number 7. I think that is pretty cool. Don’t you?
Friday morning started with having breakfast at the Cracker Barrel with my good friend Rose Anne Davis. I love the Cracker Barrel and my friend Rose Anne as well. After breakfast I headed to Lake Hamilton High school where they were setting up for the 5K run that would take place the following day. And that is when I finally got to meet Janice and Larry Brown. Oh my gosh! We had a short conversation and had our picture taken together by Will. It’s the Little things like this that are a big deal to a regular guy like me! I would have more opportunity to speak with them in the evening during the registration for the race.
As evening time rolled around, it was time for registration, it was time to register for the race. My running days are over of course, but I ran in spirit. I was planning on diving the memorial the next day and that was my focus. This gave me more time to be with Larry and Janice and to meet other people as well. I got to meet Adam’s brother Shawn and we had a good conversation. Shawn is an awesome guy of course. I met Adam’s twin sister Manda. How neat! I also got to meet Adam’s friend Jeff Buschmann who at the time was still serving in the navy and held the rank of commander. Very cool!
Larry and Janice are such neat people. Anytime that I might have tried to tell them that, they would deflect the conversation to Adam. The Browns are so humble. They feel that part of their mission is to be the keepers of Adam’s story and legacy and in fact this is true, however, they are really special people. After returning from this trip I would send Larry a copy of A Warriors Faith. Inside the front cover I wrote Larry a note. I perhaps got a little too wordy but this is part of what I said. “You are every bit the man that I thought you would be…...”. Larry really is an incredible guy! I would have read FEARLESS just to read about him.
There were a couple of times that I caught myself staring at Janice from the Fearless Rock table. She looked back at me with a huge smile on her face. I was probably thinking to myself something like “how sweet is this lady?” and in fact she really is that! I told Janice that they are every other thought inside my head. I think that caught her by surprise. She said that is really sweet of me to say that, but it is really true!
There was so much going on that weekend. I was functioning on 5-hour energy drinks and little sleep. I wasn’t going to miss out on anything. It was that same evening that I got to meet Adam’s wife Kelley. What an absolute treat that was. I shook her hand and said hello. (Greg, you shook her hand and said hello? You had her right there. You could have taken her to the side, given her a hug, and told her how much her and Adam’s story means to you. And instead, you shook her hand?) She was pretty excited when she heard that I had come all the way from Oregon. Kelley’s presence was a little intimidating to me. You see she is completely attractive, and the wife of a Navy SEAL team six operator. You know what though. She was also very sweet!
Kelley, if you ever read this – I want you to know that reading FEARLESS was inspirational, to say the least, and it has had a huge impact on my life. I have read it 5 times and counting. I am looking forward to the movie coming out and to seeing you again at a future 5k event. Thank you SO much. You are just an incredible woman!
Saturday was the big event. I stood with Will Stevens and the other members of the Fearless Rock Dive Team at their display table. Will had set up a lap top with a video of diving the memorial. Spectacular! He also had all the challenge coins from the memorial on display. The team brings the coins up from the water during the winter months. Rounding up the Fearless rock display was all the items that would make up the addition to the memorial that is intended to honor the heroes of the Extortion 17 Tragedy. These brave men would include the members of Adam’s SEAL team.
The entire event is just incredible. You meet so many neat people and at the same time you experience the beauty of the southern culture. The food was awesome and the company was so sweet. So many nice people in one place. As a diver, people are usually looking forward to booking their next trip to a warm and inviting tropical place. Not this guy. I am looking forward to booking my next trip to Hot Springs for the next big event. It may be next year, or the one after that, but I will be back someday. I love it here in the Northwest because of the climate and scenery, but I also love it in the south because of the people and the culture. Hot Springs is a magical place to me. I love going there and I am always sad when I have to leave.
After that it was time to dive Fearless Rock. I hadn’t been diving in a while and was a bit of a nervous mess. Will had to be extra patient with me that day and it was very much appreciated. Because of the fact that the Spring weather was still approaching, the memorial was missing all the items and challenge coins that normally adorn the verse stone. However, it was still a sight to see! You have to be there in person to truly appreciate Adam’s underwater memorial. Just incredible. The same day we were there, a young man named Riley Perkins was there filming us. He used the video footage and more to create a short film about the memorial.
It can be viewed on YouTube. He made me look a lot more competent than I was that day. If you watch the video, you’ll see Will helping get my wetsuit zipped up. I am the last guy to submerge in the water. Later in the video I appear at the verse stone wearing my blue 3 mil. wetsuit. This footage was taken on my first trip to Hot Springs. What a great privilege this was. What a day, what a day! Just like that, it was over.
Will told me that the Browns would be speaking at their church, Hot Springs Baptist, the following day. Well I wasn’t going to miss out on that, was I?
The Browns were speaking with another couple that day at church. This couple had lost a very attractive daughter to an aggressive form of cancer. Together, Larry and Janice, and this other couple, started a new ministry to help other families that are grieving the loss of their loved ones. The ministry is called While We’re Waiting. That is what they talked about that day. It was a privilege to be there. This, once again, was a special event and a priceless memory.
Larry told me before the service that he appreciated me coming from such a great distance. I told him that I would have traveled twice that far. I guess for me to make a statement like that is a little extreme, but it definitely relayed my sentiment.
I had the opportunity once again at the end of the service to shake Larry’s hand and to give Janice a hug. What an incredible time and we weren’t done yet!
I have been told that I a good group singer. My voice really carries. I fill up the space I inhabit. So during the singing portion at the beginning of the service, I was being my usual obnoxious self, lol. We were near the front on the left hand side. As we were leaving I turned to my immediate right and who would be standing there by their seats but none other than Adam’s siblings Shawn and Manda.
I could see that Manda had been moved emotionally by the service. After all, we’re talking about her twin brother Adam. I shook her and Shawn’s hand and told them how nice it was to meet them. And it truly was!
There was one stop that I hadn’t made yet. That was to see the statue of Adam that was formed by an artist to honor him. I googled the location to the veteran’s memorial park and found my way there. There was nobody there that day. I was there in complete solitude as I viewed this wonderful work of art that portrayed Adam’s image in such a moving and spectacular way. Adam is holding his bible in one hand close to his chest. In the other hand he is holding a pair of children’s shoes. Why children’s shoes?
Adam Brown was a Navy SEAL known to be a tender warrior. In the book FEARLESS, we have the example of Shoes. Shoes? Yes, Shoes! It’s recorded that Adam was asked by his wife Kelley what he would like in a Thanksgiving care package and he said nothing for himself. Rather, he requested that she buy children’s sizes of shoes and socks and send them instead. You see he noticed, as it was getting colder, that all the kids that he was around at this time of his deployment were either barefoot or had flip-flop type shoes. By the time word passed from family members to different church congregations in the community, the amount of pairs of shoes and socks swelled into the hundreds. While Adam’s teammates were stuffing their rucksacks with extra grenades and ammo, Adam was stuffing his with shoes and socks for kids. So here was a Navy SEAL down on his knees with his rifle slung around his neck, teaching kids how to tie their new shoes! Read it for yourself. Read FEARLESS!
Finally, it was time to head back to Little Rock. My morning flight was early and so I stayed there overnight. As I was leaving my boss texted me from Oregon to tell me that he had just finished reading FEARLESS. He knew where I was at and he wanted me to give his regards to the Browns. He was just a little late. Unfortunately, I was leaving. I decided to pull over and send Janice a message. I gave her my boss’ regards and included a picture of Adam’s statue to show her that it was my last stop. She expressed her appreciation for both Mike’s comments and for me traveling the distance. She is so sweet!
This weekend, which was to be my second trip to Hot Springs, was the fulfillment of a desire that I had from the moment I finished reading FEARLESS for the first time. That is to show my appreciation to Kelley and the entire Brown family for sharing theirs and Adam’s story with all of us. What a great privilege it was to be there!
No regrets. None!
Where do I begin? If you have been following my blog posts you are aware of what led me to this point in my story. It all began with a book titled SEAL of GOD. It sparked a renewed interest in the Special Operations community and it eventually led me to read a book named FEARLESS by Eric Blehm. It is quite possible that I may have never read the book. Once I did, My FEARLESS Adventure began.
It was after reading FEARLESS that I discovered a page on Facebook called
R.I.P. Adam L. Brown. You could join the group and pay tribute to Adam and leave well wishes and comments for Adam’s family. The administrator is Adam’s wife Kelley.
I joined in. I was on the page one day when I saw a reference to another page called, Fearless Rock – The Adam Brown Underwater Memorial. I began to follow this page as well.
The page was being run by a man named Will Stevens. He lived in Little Rock but was a native of Hot Springs, which is where Adam Brown grew up. I sent Will a friend’s request and he accepted! At that time Will was in the process of sharing the plan and idea of an underwater memorial that would pay tribute to Adam Brown’s service and ultimate sacrifice. He was taking the marker that would make up the most prominent part of the memorial to different places while doing public appearances.
Like many of us, Will is a veteran. He began his military service in the Arkansas Army National Guard. He would later hold a key position within the United States Air Forces. These days, he works in Human Resources and is actually taking seminary classes and wants to start a ministry to help veterans. Will is also a certified Master Diver with hundreds of dives under his dive belt.
I asked Will how the concept of the memorial came to him and he stated it this way:
“I saw the memorial in a dream where I was scuba diving at a place where I had been only a few times before, and when I asked aloud who had built what I had seen, a voice said, "You Will". I immediately woke up and I sketched what I saw. This would become the granite marker, which is the centerpiece of the memorial.”
I would eventually get a chance to meet him. He actually pulled the sketch out of his wallet and showed it to me. Do you believe things like that actually happen? You need to read FEARLESS. I am thinking of the string of 24s in the chapter called AFTERWORD. Um…you would have to read it for yourself.
I have followed Fearless Rock pretty much from the beginning of the project. I had several conversations with Will via Facebook chat and there were several times that he would end the conversation with the words “Be Fearless”. One day, I was looking at the logo for Fearless Rock. It is the Crusader’s Cross and shield. Adam and some of his teammates wore this patch or similar on their uniforms. I have never gotten a tattoo of any kind but all of a sudden an idea “just” came to me. What if I was to get the FR logo tattooed on my arm and have “Be Fearless” placed above it. I could put a suitable bible verse at the bottom. Will reminded me that Adam’s life verse was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” This is actually my wife’s favorite verse. That was a big selling point to Rosie for getting the tattoo.
The tattoo artist that I picked has a master’s degree in art and is incredibly talented. He was asking things like “um, so you like go to church every Sunday?”
Something to that effect anyhow, lol.
Will loved my tattoo and shared it on the Fearless Rock page. I was so proud of it and still am today! I am also proud to say that Will is my brother and a friend of mine. He is one of my heroes.
I received the most spectacular gift from him in the mail. It is the first Navy flag to be flown at the memorial. Flown under water! I opened the envelope and thought, “how cool”, I’ll run down to Wal-Mart or somewhere to get a frame to throw it in some day. The envelope that it came in sat on the kitchen table. Some days later, I picked up the envelope that it came in, which hadn’t been thrown away yet, and looked inside. What I found was a certificate of authenticity that Will had sent with it. It had two pictures of “My” flag underwater. Underneath the picture in type it reads, “This is the original US Navy flag that flew over the Fearless Rock Underwater Memorial in 2013”. Below that in Will’s handwriting it says:
“Greg, Thank you for all your support of Fearless Rock over the last year. Since you are a Navy Vet, I wanted you to have the original US Navy flag to fly over the memorial”. This included his signature!
My thoughts when I saw this were that I needed to have this all framed and matted professionally, and so I did. It is a priceless treasure! And yes, I am SO glad the envelope hadn’t been thrown away.
I have mentioned in previous posts that Adam Brown became known as the Tender Warrior. That name stuck to him after he read and shared a book with some of his teammates. The book titled Tender Warrior was written by a man named Stu Weber. Stu is a former Special Forces Green Beret officer who served in Vietnam. He went on to pastor a church here, close to the area I live, and has since retired from that position.
I was sitting in church one day during the announcements when it was said that there is a men’s conference coming up at another church just blocks away. The speaker was to be none other than Stu Weber. You just know, I was all over that! Stu is a very impressive man in both speech and stature.
We had the opportunity to stand in line and meet him. I made sure that I was wearing my Fearless Rock shirt that day. As I approached Stu, I could see that he immediately spotted the design of the shirt. I told him all about the memorial and Will Stevens. I told him that I had heard about his book by reading FEARLESS. We discussed that Kelley Brown and the kids had visited his church. We talked about Kelley and both agreed that she is an amazing woman. I had him sign a copy of Tender Warrior for Will, which I mailed to him and he was happy to receive it.
Later, I was looking at my Fearless tattoo and thinking that my left arm looked kind of empty. Actually, I was inspired by the title and content of one of the chapters in Stu’s Book. The chapter is titled “The Four Marks of a Finisher”. In the opening sentence he mentions former basketballs stars to the likes of Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler. These guys were the people that you could count on to finish the game for you. The point he wanted to convey was that good great people Finish Strong. The chapter has references to biblical characters that are finishers. So I am thinking that I have made a ton load of mistakes in my life but I want to finish strong. Adam Brown made some mistakes that he overcame to reach the tip of the spear. I want to give my all like Adam and all these other people have. So the tattoo on my left arm says at the top “Finish Strong”. I had the same tattoo artist put 1st Corinthians 9:24 in its entirety under that. Here is what it says:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”
Do I live up to these markings that I have on my arms every single day. I would have to admit that I do not, but they are something to strive for. In essence, both of my tattoos were inspired by Navy SEAL Adam Brown of Hot Springs Arkansas. Would Stu Weber approve? I hope that he at least wouldn’t mind!
It was exiting enough to me to be involved long distance but I wanted to do more. We are a single income family and long distance vacations are usually out of the question. When something is important to you, you take action. I took action, I sold my house! Let’s be realistic here. If we were talking about a house that is close to being paid for. or one that was a significant source of income, things might have been different. After all, I have responsibilities. This house was one that we had moved out of due to a job change. At the time, we were renting it out and living in a rental house ourselves here near Salem. I can't lie, there was a certain amount of sacrifice involved but I decided that I was going to do something outside of the box. I wanted to go meet these people and dive Fearless Rock.
I discussed it with my wife, Rosemarie. I told her that we could sell the place and fly the three of us to Arkansas for a short vacation. I could take diving lessons and dive Fearless Rock with Will Stevens. We could see this place for ourselves. You know, breath the air so to speak. She said yes!
I was hesitant to include the sale of the house because I didn't want to inject ME into the conversation. I felt, though, that this was part of the story and discovered that leaving it out would make the story incomplete. Diving Fearless Rock and meeting Will Stevens was that important. I Didn't want to sit on the couch and miss out on what I thought would be the opportunity of a lifetime. These folks became so important to me and the opportunity warranted this type of action. I felt like I needed to go the extra mile in order and do something that is outside the box. I am so glad that I did!
In almost 35 years of marriage we had never really been on a vacation, or even a real honeymoon for that matter. My dad paid for us to take the kids to Disneyland when they were younger and there were a couple of long trips to visit family, but that was it. Here it was, year 2014, and we were going to travel from Oregon to Hot Springs to dive Fearless Rock. I don’t think that I had ever been more excited.
There was, of course, a lot of preparation that had to take place. The timeline was a tight one. Everything had to fall into place. The house had to close escrow at a certain time and I had to make it through dive school. The plan was to go in June and I planned on taking diving lessons in April. We had to purchase Airline tickets and new luggage, as well as, make hotel reservations. I hadn’t swum in years so I hit a local pool to practice.
As dive school began, we had a time of orientation and greeting. Blake Fry is a great guy and the owner of Salem Scuba. He has been associated with the shop for almost thirty years and has owned it for well over twenty years. He began the class by asking people what they did for a living and why it is that they are taking up Scuba. People gave their vocations and reasons for taking up the hobby. Most people stated that they were taking it up because they wanted to go somewhere exotic for a diving vacation or perhaps because they wanted to go with a family member that was already certified. When it came time for me, I told everyone that I was taking Scuba classes because I wanted to travel to Arkansas and dive an underwater memorial that was built to honor a fallen Navy SEAL. I also mentioned the book FEARLESS. When I gave my reason for diving to Blake, he said that he had never heard anything like that in all his years of owning the shop. I believe him on that. In general, people thought that it was pretty cool!
My biggest fear in all this was that it was cold flu season. I was on pins and needles all the way up to the time we got to Arkansas. If you’re a diver and get sick, you can’t always equalize your ears underwater. After all, we had plane and hotel reservations!
Everything went as planned and the trip was on. This was Benjamin’s first airplane ride ever. We told him that he was going to ride on the bus with wings and he did an awesome job of flying. We flew 2300 miles and there we were, in Little Rock. Will met us at the airport and presented us each with our own Arkansas Razorback Hat. The significance of mine was that it was the same one that was worn by Adam Brown while he was on deployment. Prior to the trip Will had recommended that we stay the first night in Benton. It is essentially the halfway point between Little Rock and Hot Springs. We had breakfast at the Waffle House in Benton the next morning because it is mentioned in FEARLESS. That may sound silly to you, but hey, we were there. Why not? Finally, it was time to head to Hot Springs. How excited do you think I was about this? I stepped outside the box and received an opportunity I will never forget. Never! Before I knew it, Saturday arrived and that meant Fearless Rock!
All the preparation that took place. Swimming in the pool and then dive classes. Open Water weekend in Hoodsport Washington, performing the dive skills, you learned in the pool. Only now, you were in a Bay that is connected to the Pacific Ocean. All the concern with staying well, and then, it was time!
Prior to diving the memorial, Will took me to Lake Hamilton High school and to Wolf Stadium where Adam played Football. Will took a most spectacular photo of me on the side of one of the end zones where there lies a marker in the turf that is dedicated to Hot Springs home town hero Adam Brown. He also took a picture of me under a street sign that bares Adam’s name. The sign has become somewhat famous.
It was time to dive. I had followed Fearless Rock pretty much from the beginning and had seen all the photos and videos that had been posted. It is impossible to fully appreciate the memorial unless you see it in person. The effect that magnification has on it underwater is just spectacular! We were there in June so all the challenge coins sent by people from all over sat there on the verse stone. The entire thing was just breathtaking. The granite marker that includes a famous picture of Adam is embedded in a large flat rock. It makes up the center piece of the memorial. Looking at that just fills you with emotion. What a sight! Again, one I will never forget. I would be back again one day soon and I plan on being there a third time someday. Such a fitting tribute to such an inspirational life.
Will said that he just stacks rocks but God is the one that created the memorial. I am sure that he is glad that he was chosen to be a big part of the process. Such a humble guy! He filled out my dive log in a spectacular way and that makes it a treasured item.
Will and the Fearless Rock team have since built an addition that honors Adam’s teammates and the other heroes that gave their lives for their country during the Extortion 17 tragedy. I am going back to see it someday.
Last, but not least, we visited Adam’s grave site. Such a beautiful place. So peaceful. What a privilege to be able to pay respect to Adam in person.
The entire day was just sensory overload to the max.
After that, we went and picked up Rosie and Benjamin and headed to Stubby’s BBQ for lunch. At a time when Adam Brown was down and out because of his addiction, a friend helped him to get a job at Stubby’s. The food there is awesome and it stands on its own. It is true, however, that Stubby’s now has extra notoriety because of its connection to Adam. They now have a wall inside that honors Fearless Navy SEAL Adam Brown.
While we were there, another friend dropped in to say hello. Rose Anne Davis is a retired English teacher who I connected with through a mutual FEARLESS fan. We have since become good friends and it was so neat to meet her. We would attend church with Rose Anne the next day. She goes to a great church! Just like home! We also would get to visit with her and some of her beautiful lady friends after church. Great memories!
Rose Anne said that we were the first long distance Facebook friends that she has been able to meet in person. She is such a neat lady in so many ways and I really value her friendship. I would actually get to introduce her to Adam’s parents one day. Small things can be big thrills to this regular guy!
It was sad for me to have to say good bye, but most good things have to come to an end. This was a whirlwind trip, however, it was truly an amazing experience. I will never forget it! It wouldn’t be that long until I would return. That would be too much for me to tell right now.
I am a Pacific Northwest recreational diver. I just completed my 30th dive. That’s not a lot of dives, but it’s a good start. I plan on diving as long as this body of mine will allow me to. I had never considered diving before. I always thought that it would be kind of creepy. Now, I love it. I didn’t start until I turned 54 years of age. Diving is an outside the box activity.
This is all because I read a book that I may have never read. Reading it brought me through a series of events that led me to Fearless Rock and Will Stevens. That is why I dive today!
It is funny how one life event leads to another. I saw a book called SEAL of God which sparked a renewed interest in the Special Ops community. I would eventually read FEARLESS, find RIP Adam Brown and Fearless Rock on Facebook. I would get to scuba dive and see the most spectacular tribute to the most incredible warrior, while meeting the man chosen to be its creator. All because I read a book that I had originally put back on the shelf and may have never read.
I hope that you don’t mind me sharing My FEARLESS Adventure with you. Thanks for your time!
I was questioned this week about what my vision was for writing this blog. I guess there are several reasons why I started it and there are several topics that I want to cover in it. There are things that I am passionate about, and that I want to share with my readers. As time goes on, the viewership of my blog is increasing. I do not have a ton of people that look at my blog, but from the statistics that are provided, I am seeing it to be in the low hundreds at times. I do not know who all these people are, but I know some of them and their viewership is greatly appreciated.
This blog is not being done for profit. Although I have entertained the prospect of writing for supplementing my family’s income, I am not doing so at this time. If I ever do write for profit it will be done so in complete compliance with any laws concerning Trademark and Copy Write. This blog is simply being done to share with my readers the people and things that I am passionate about. I want to give people a glimpse of what makes me tick, what drives me, what is important to me. Even now, I want to apply laws and standards to this blog as if it was for profit. If you know me, you know that I am conscientious to a fault. Above all else, I want to draw attention not to myself but to those who have had a big impact on my life. I want to honor my heroes.
Those heroes can be tiny people with rare diseases, or big people with disabilities, or just normal people that have done great things. Most certainly, this blog exists to honor the brave and selfless individuals who have sacrificed their health and well being to serve this great country “outside the wire”. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice and they will never be forgotten by this regular guy.
As I write this blog entry today, it’s Memorial Day weekend. That means we have an extra day to spend time with friends and family, and also to rest and have fun. Please, DO NOT forget the brave men and women that have given their very lives in the name of freedom for our entire civilization. Honor and Respect!!
I was talking with one of my co-workers who is sort of a history buff. In between his time in the military and coming back to aviation, he worked in a saw mill. He was telling me about some of the stories that he had heard from some of the older guys that may have either served in World War II, or were affected by it in some way. He noted that the course of their lives had been altered by a single small event. One event after another built upon that first event and their lives were changed as a result forever. I have felt that as of late for myself, except on a smaller scale of course.
This is my last blog entry about what I have titled My FEARLESS Advaenture. I have told you how I was in a Christian bookstore one day with my family and saw a book about a Navy SEAL. I devoured that book in a couple of days and became hungry for more. My reading continued, and the more I read, the more intense my desire to learn about the Warrior Class grew. The training that is involved, and the mental and physical toughness required to complete it, sets these people apart from all others.
I eventually discovered a book that ran I into in a book store called FEARLESS which was written by a man named Eric Blehm. He is an excellent author. I have read other books by him and they are all exceptional. I at first picked up FEARLESS and looked at the back cover. Something made me put it back down but I would later go on to read it. Upon doing so, I was just stunned that a story like this could have actually taken place. It was just that incredible. Like a teenage girl at a Beatle’s concert in the 60s, I have a tendency to idolize people that I am awed by. I definitely was in awe of Adam Brown after reading the book.
I think that social media is a great thing if it is used properly and so I am on Facebook. Through Facebook, I found Adam’s R.I.P. page. Through that page I picked up new friends who are followers of Adam. By that I mean people that have been impacted by his life. It was through that page that I found out about
Fearless Rock – The Adam L. Brown Underwater Memorial. I became friends with its creator and that friendship has become a very important part of my life. I will talk more about this friendship in a bit.
Can you tell that I have written on the topic of this series with passion? I have read a lot of great books about the warrior class. All of these individuals deserve our complete respect and admiration. Adam’s life and the details concerning his family set FEARLESS apart in my mind. As I have said before, there are other things and people that have left me feeling connected to the state of Arkansas. It’s like my adopted state. I love the southern culture for a variety of reasons. As beautiful as it is here in Oregon, Arkansas has its own beauty and I wouldn’t mind calling it home.
If you have been following along you know that I have made two trips to Hot Springs. The first trip was to meet Will Stevens and members of the Fearless Rock team, as well as to dive Fearless Rock. I brought my little family and connections were made along with memories that will never be forgotten. We made the sacrifices that we thought were necessary to make it happen and I will never regret having done so.
Seeing Fearless Rock in June, in all its glory was just spectacular. The challenge coins that adorn the verse stone during the summer months, and the granite marker that makes up the center piece of the memorial were breathtaking to see in person. Imagine following the project from the very start and then getting to travel the distance to see it in person. The only way to experience the magnifying effects of the water on Adam’s memorial is to see it in person. The trip went flawlessly and the only thing that I missed out on was meeting Adam’s parents. That would come later.
Will has told me that there was some opposition to him and his team building the memorial, but that most people thought it was an exceptional way to honor their hometown hero. He pressed on and did what he felt he was called to do. That is to achieve what he had envisioned for honoring Adam Brown. He had a Never Quit attitude that any Special Operator would have appreciated. The memorial continues to pick up notoriety and people from all over come to see it. You have to be a diver though and Fearless Rock is the reason I dive today! Will has encouraged me in my blogging. I lost sleep this week. It was hard for me. As I was at work yesterday my FB chat notified me of a message. It was Will. He sent me a message that said in part:
“Remain focused on the reason why you started this blog in the first place and don't let anyone try to change who you are or what you write. You have a good heart and a beautiful spirit. I look forward to being able to read more from you. “
Do you know how much that means to a regular guy like me? He is my brother and my friend. I have NO regrets for anything that I have had to give up to establish this bond.
Meeting Adam’s family on the second trip was the realization of a desire that I had from the moment I finished reading FEARLESS for the first time. They were everything that I thought that they would be. Hot Springs is where all the sweet people hang out. Meeting Kelley Brown was an experience I will never forget. She is beautiful yet unpretentious. Like I said last time, I wish that I had done a better job of expressing in word my appreciation for her although I think that she knew by the miles that I had traveled. You couldn’t pay me to travel that far to meet some of Hollywood’s elite, but I was so happy to have the opportunity to meet her. She is incredible! The entire event was something to see but the day would not have been complete without another trip to pay my respects to Adam at Fearless Rock.
Since I am in humility mode at this time I have a little self-deprecating humor to share with you. Both trips to Hot Springs were action packed for sure. I didn’t get a lot of sleep on the second trip. Most of my energy came from bottles of 5-Hour. Get it? Max caffeine.
So we were off to dive. My mission was to get a head start and head back to my room, get my gear in my car and wait at the ready. I did that but made one mistake. As Will showed up with a row of cars containing other people, I made the mistake of heading back to my room to double check things. To make sure that I had left nothing on the floor. When I got back to the car everybody was gone. Oh no! What do I do now? Will called. This line of cars had to pull over on the side of the highway to wait for Greg from Oregon to catch up. I headed out the drive way and traveled towards town. Wrong! The highway is in the other direction. So I turned around and eventually caught up. How embarrassing!
As we got to the dive site, I really wasn’t prepared the way that I should have been. I was kind of a nervous mess that day and I think that Will wasn’t feeling all that well either. I got chewed out a little bit by one of my heroes due to my actions, lol. It was an honor and a privilege. I needed a lot of help getting in the water that day. Footage for a short YouTube video was being taken and, thankfully, I was made to look better than I was on that occasion.
I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I had borrowed something from Will for the dive. After I was finished getting dressed I went to put it in the back seat of his truck. As I opened the door I was alarmed by the fact that the Extortion 17 granite marker, that is now underwater, was perched on the edge of the seat pointing down towards the asphalt road. Yikes. Can you imagine how my personal history would have changed that day if that marker would have tumbled out of the truck and on to the ground? I wonder what award I would have received (Posthumously) for losing my life at Fearless Rock that day, lol? I sheepishly placed it in the middle of the seat and closed the door. True story! Needless to say I made it through the day. That trip was awesome!
On the first trip, Will had taken a picture of me while I was standing under a famous street sign that is near Lake Hamilton high school. It is the sign for Adam Brown Road. I have seen pictures of both Kelley and Adam’s parents standing under this sign. And now, it was my turn. I made it my Profile picture on Facebook for this Memorial Day weekend. As I write this blog entry, it has received 87 likes. I had tagged Janice Brown and Will so it would appear on their pages. Hopefully I’ll get a hundred likes before the weekend is over. I don’t think that people like my picture because of Greg from Oregon. I think they are clicking on Like because of Adam and I’m fine with that!
When it comes to Adam, there are throngs of people that appreciate his life and service. I showed you my tattoos that were both inspired by my FEARLESS adventure. I know that I am not alone in this. Many others have shown the same commitment to honoring Adam’s life. I am just one person of many but you know what? When it comes to honoring Adam and the Warrior Princess and their families, I have given it my best, my all. I have held nothing back. I know that I am a bit obnoxious. But I like it that way.
This blogging stuff is hard work. I have the utmost respect for people that write for a living. It is time consuming and mentally taxing. I prepare notes during the week and write on Saturday. When it has come to telling you about My FEARLESS Adventure, I hardly have had to refer to my notes. The memories just flow onto the page.
We have been at war now for well over a decade and there are so many that have given their lives, or at least have faced the horrors of war with strength and courage in the name of freedom. Let’s honor them all. There are some that stand out to me because I have read their stories. Chris Kyle, the American Sniper. He survived numerous deployments only to have his life taken by someone he was trying to help. Ryan Job who in spite of his blindness, never lost his vision or the heart of a SEAL. Jason Redman, a commissioned SEAL officer, who faced himself while he picked up cigarette butts while in “Ranger Jail”. He would recover and go on to join an exclusive club along with Ryan. These are only a small few that I am thinking about this weekend.
Adam Brown, there will never be another one like you. The things you overcame to achieve the very best. The way you lived your life as an example for others to follow. What can’t we overcome in achieving our goals. I thank you for your service and ultimate Sacrifice (John 15:13). You will never be forgotten. Never!
Thanks for taking the time and for showing your kindness and appreciation towards my story.
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Highlighting a previous blog that might interest you:
Journey Unexpected - The Rich Family
One child in a family with a rare disease is a challenge. What if there is two? Heartbreak multiplied you pick up the pieces and will yourself to do your very best. A love that is profound and a bond that is stronger than any other is formed. Two little beauties in one family is two, too many but you seek to make a difference! A journey unexpected...