a warriors voice|Spartan race, fitness event, wounded veteran|oew, military work out, veteran recovery|oew, men drinking, wounded vets
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Warrior's Voice: Dale Haines Jr.

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
March 14, 2017
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A Warrior’s Voice is brought to you by Operation Enduring Warrior, an organization dedicated to honoring, empowering, and motivating wounded veterans. In 2012 I was looking for something; I did not know what, but I needed to find it. My kids were no longer “kids” and my wife and I had spent almost 2 decades volunteering and spending our time with them at our church. We were burned out and decided that all the talk about living your faith, setting a good example, and doing good in the world was not happening if we never ventured out beyond the church campus.

We began the process of getting off all the committees and looking for that something. Little did I know at the time, that search would impact my life in ways I had not imagined.I loved being a Marine and felt a need to focus on veteran causes. I was searching on the internet and found an organization that really seemed too good to be true. I had been working off the "dad bod," and wanted to get active; here was group focused on helping wounded veterans get active again, by getting them out and being active with them!

As I thought about it and researched the group, their mission, and more about what was happening with our veterans, I began to understand what it was I had not realized was missing in my life all along. I loved my family and they were my focus and drive; however, after being disconnected from the Marines and military in general, I had a void that just was not being filled… Suddenly it was right here in my face and was starting a fire in my soul that I quickly recognized: Mission.I quickly joined.Since then, as a part of OEW, I have done everything I can to learn about issues veterans face. Many of those veterans, like me, had faced being alone after separation from service. Now I do what I can to raise awareness, funds, and reaching out virtually and in person whenever I can, to help lend a hand, a shoulder, an ear or provide direction for resources. Ultimately, I'm making sure our veterans are not forgotten and helping them plug into the veteran community and find a new mission to focus on.

I live in Arizona, so it was not easy to get “face time” with my fellow teammates. My first team experience with OEW and the MAT was three years later at the Spartan Super in Temecula, CA in 2015. That day was simply incredible.


To see the MAT in action, watching and assisting the 2 honoree adaptive athletes we were taking the course with is indescribable. The comradery energized me and solidified the decision I had made; I felt like I truly belonged with a group of people, and I also felt fulfillment in accomplishing another part of our mission I had not yet experienced.I became more involved with OEW than ever before, and became an official team member.

Recently, OEW came to Arizona for its first official event here in the state; the Spartan race was a resounding success, even beyond completing the mission of taking the course with 2 of our wounded veterans. Once again, I was amazed, proud, and energized by the courage and tenacity with which our honorees attacked the course. And again, the comradery and sense of belonging were overwhelming to this old vet.In short, OEW has helped me as much as I could ever hope to help others. I now tell other veterans about the need to find your new mission. It is vital for veterans specifically to find their mission to fulfill that sense of purpose and need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. OEW has done that for me and more. This is something I could never repay but only try to pay forward.

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