Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Bull Aggie Story....

Got a little story for ya Ags!

This is a bit long, but please bear with me because it truly highlights why Aggies are such a special group of people. Prior to departing for my first overseas assignment (Syria), my family had a going away party for me in Austin and invited my friends from college. All of us had worked together as medics at Texas A&M EMS and had become quite close over the years.

Little did I know that my mom had e-mailed all of my friends ahead of time and asked each of them to bring a memento or a little something to remember them by. People brought something different and unique and my mom put them all together in an album. There was one item in particular that was too big to go in an album. It was a glass jar covered in milk cows with a clear, glass Christmas ornament in it wrapped in paper towel. It looked a bit dusty on the outside when I went to open it. Too my surprise, the ornament was filled with ashes and on the outside it said “’94 Aggie Bonfire.” I had just been entrusted with the remains of one of the most sacred traditions at Texas A&M. Since the 1999 Bonfire tragedy, which took the lives of 12 students, A&M has not had an officially sanctioned Bonfire. For those that had the opportunity to participate in Bonfire know that it was a monumental undertaking that brought students from all walks of life together for a common cause. No other university event built the kind of camaraderie that Bonfire did.

Knowing that I had such a personal treasure, I did my best to protect it knowing that some day I would return it. I made the decision to take some of the ashes out and put them in something a little smaller and easier to carry. I took 2 little Tabasco bottles from a MRE and replaced the sauce with Bonfire ashes.

Most of you know I have the opportunity to travel quite a bit with my job, sometimes a lot more than I want. Not only did I take these ashes with me to Syria, but these two little bottles have traveled all over the world with me to over 30 different countries.

Jennifer Johnson ‘98, known to most of us as Jenn Carr, was the person who entrusted me with something very special to her and sacred to all of us. I carried two Tabasco bottles with me so I could keep one and give one to Jenn when I returned the ashes back to her. Jenn, I’ve had these ashes for 8 years now and I think its time I give them back to you. Thank you so much for giving me such an extraordinary keepsake that has been with me through thick and thin.

Truly Good Bull. Thanks and Gig’em!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Asharq Al-Awsat Reveals Details behind the Attack on Arms Smugglers in Sudan

London, Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat- At a time of continued uncertainty surrounding the details of the attacks which targeted an arms-smuggled operation – described as Iranian – to the Palestinian Hamas movement via Sudan, credible sources have revealed new information to Asharq Al-Awsat regarding this attack. The sources revealed that the Sudanese government received a warning from the US prior to the attack; the warning stated that a third-party was monitoring the operation which aimed at smuggling weapons from Sudan to the Gaza Strip through the Sinai Desert, and warned the Sudanese authorities to cease any such operations. One source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that an American official had telephoned a Sudanese official and delivered a warning, stressing the importance of this warning reaching the highest authorities in Khartoum, and stressing that any [arms smuggling] operation cease immediately. According to Asharq Al-Awsat sources, the [smuggled] arms were flown from Khartoum to Port Sudan, where they were transferred onto 4 boats which would smuggle them via sea, while the rest where placed upon the 17 vehicle convoy which would travel by land. The "unknown" aircrafts, which were later described as being Israeli, attacked the boats sinking them; while the convoy of vehicles was attacked by laser-guided missiles destroying them completely. Dozens of people were killed in the attacks. There is still uncertainly regarding the actual death toll of the attacks, with some estimating the death toll at around 39, while others indicating that the number is much larger than this. A Sudanese official last week claimed that the true figure lay at more than 100 dead, although Asharq Al-Awsat sources ruled out the death-toll being more than 100.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Reaction

Good Morning Everyone,

Most of you will be waking up to the news that Barack Obama has been elected as the 44th President of the United States. This is a historic moment for our country considering the fact that we have elected the first African American President. People here and elsewhere in Africa are ecstatic, especially in Kenya where Obama still has relatives.

I know that this news is exciting for some of you and disappointing for others. Regardless of how you voted or how you feel about the outcome, one thing that this election did was get Americans involved again in our political process and that's something to be proud of. I remember election day in Iraq when scores of people lined up to vote, many for the first time, at the risk of being killed or seriously injured. Their turn out was far bigger than any election that we've had in recent times, which is pretty sad considering we are supposed to be the role model for democracy in the world.

The American people have been apathetic and uninvolved in our political process for too long. We've allowed our politicians to inflect their will on us and get us into some very troubling situations. I know that it's very easy to go about our daily lives and not worry too much about what the folks are doing in Washington, but people it's about time we start holding our politicians accountable for their actions. We put them there and we can easily oust them only if we stay involved.

Our country is facing some very tough times and no doubt, Senator Obama and his administration have some big challenges ahead. We will be experiencing changes in our country over the next four years. I ask that each of you, regardless of your political party, do the following: Pray for our country and it's leadership. I've seen first hand the toll that running our great country has on its leaders. It's no easy task and our leaders can use all the help that they can get. Get involved and stay involved. If there is something being done in our government that you don't agree with, do something, don't just sit on your butt and whine about it. The beauty of our democracy is that we have the right to speak out against things we disagree with.

We as Americans take so much for granted. We are so fortunate to live in a place where we have the freedom to choose the people that govern us. Sudan is ruled by a military dictator. Syria "elects" their President only because he's the only one on the ballot and jails his opposition. I am just glad to have had the chance to cast my vote for the candidate of my choice. Many in the world aren't afforded such a precious opportunity.

So while some of you are toasting and others are roasting, just remember this is our country and each of us has a duty to stand up for what we believe in and fight for what is right. Even to this day it gives me goose bumps when I see a blue/white airplane with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA land in a foreign place because I know that I live in the greatest country in the world.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget 9-11-01

I just wanted to share this picture of the stadium at Texas A&M on September 22, 2001. For one game every year, we do a maroon out of the stadium. Someone came up with this idea after 9/11. This entire event was organized by students in just 11 days. They printed over 100,000 t-shirts and raised over $150,000 for the victims of the attacks. I was working EMS and standing on the field most of this game. It was an amazing sight and experience. Never forget!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Around town...

My new home....

My bedroom, living room, office, and a view from my bed. So far, only one mosquito has made it past the defenses and lost his life as a result.