Veteran Voices Episode 13
“It’s hard to talk about September 11th, to be honest with you. It’s hard to talk about that time because, when we were in Iraq, I remember looking at some of the guard units and some of the things that they had written on their vehicles, were some of the names of their loved ones from New York. It’s hard because as a result, I’ve lost seven to combat and 11 to suicide. But those, those moments were also some of the best moments of my life, as you can imagine.”
-Jarrad Turner, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
In this episode of our Veteran Voices podcast, host Scott Luton welcomes Jarrad Turner to share his military experience and his work with the Warrior Alliance.
Scott Luton (00:00:00):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton with you own veteran voices. Thanks for joining us here today. On today’s show, we have the opportunity to talk with a combat veteran and a business leader that has, that has and continues to significantly give back to the veteran community. So stay tuned for that. As we learn a lot more, uh, quick programming before we get started here, uh, this program is part of the supply chain, now family of programming. So find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from type in veteran, voices will pop up and you can find the show that appeals to you. And of course we would love to have you subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing. All right, we have a special guest here today. I’ve, I’ve been fortunate to, uh, have a, have a sneak peek. I’ve seen him give keynotes earlier before, and that’s why I know that his story and his perspective is going to really, um, uh, it’s gonna be a treat for our audience. So with no further ado, I want to welcome in, uh, Jared Turner, senior director of warrior engagement with the warrior Alliance. Jared, how are you doing, sir?
Jarrad Turner (00:01:01):
Hey, how you doing today? Scott?
Scott Luton (00:01:03):
We’re doing, you know, it’s been a good week and this is a great it’s it’s, it’s not the end of the week yet, but I was looking forward to this interview and I think I’m going to be much better off after the next hour. So thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule.
Jarrad Turner (00:01:19):
No, I appreciate this opportunity. I really, uh, thank you very much.
Scott Luton (00:01:23):
All right. So, um, for starters, Jared, we want to learn more about you, right? We’re we’re going to get into, um, your military career. You can transition and all the really cool things you’re doing at the warrior lions here momentarily, but let’s get to know Jared Turner sr, a little bit better. So tell us, where did you grow up and you gotta give us the goods on your upbringing,
Jarrad Turner (00:01:45):
Right? So, uh, I’m originally from long Island, New York. Um, my, uh, I’m the youngest of three boys. My parents are from the South and, um, I actually, when I was growing up, uh, wrestled, I played football and I played lacrosse. So, uh, yeah.
Scott Luton (00:02:05):
So folks didn’t mess with you early. They don’t mess with you now probably, but back then, gosh, lacrosse football and wrestling. And you had two brothers Holy cow, but you had to fight for a place at the dinner table.
Jarrad Turner (00:02:21):
Yeah. Um, there’s a funny story. One of my brothers, my middle brother, Mike, um, you know, everybody had those cement weights in their house when we were younger. So, uh, I remember trying to get bigger and stronger and, uh, I had like 200 pounds on there and, you know, I challenged my brother to, you know, Hey, I’m, I’m mr. You know, I can wrestle I’m mr. Lacrosse player. I’m mr. Football. I had a pretty good reputation in lacrosse and football. Uh, you know, a guy who’s been five foot nine since eighth grade, you know, roughly about one 90, 200 pounds come running at, you had no earthly idea what to do, but I was just running at you with a stick, you know, yelling like I’m going to rip your head off. So a challenge, my brother one day to a bench press contest. And, uh, you know, that’s from doing all the pushups like we used to do back in the day. Then, uh, my brother, uh, after I get up with my measly 16, you know, and I’m feeling good about myself. He gets under the bar, the bar slips hit, hits a minute’s chest. He got like rep 15, 16. I go to pick it up and he was like, get the heck away from me. You lightweight? What the heck is wrong with you? So I’ve always played with chip on my shoulder and growing up.
Scott Luton (00:03:38):
Are you still pretty close to both of your brothers?
Jarrad Turner (00:03:41):
Yes, I am. Uh, as a matter of fact, uh, when, when I came home one time, uh, uh, just for those people that know my son, uh, Jared jr. Uh, he’s roughly, he’s 15, uh, where the size 14 and he’s six feet tall, but we’re always wrestling. Yeah. So, um, I came home and my brother happened to be at my mom’s house and we were supposed to go on the living room and you know, you’re not supposed to do anything in the living room. Well, he bumped into me, I bumped into him. Next thing I know the dining room table was broken and my oldest child was like, grandma tell you out in a heartbeat, you know, they love you. And they tell you, dad, I love you so much. And daddy, you’re the best. And Hey, uh, my youngest who is 13, she’ll call me, she’ll say, Hey, big fella. And I’m like, quit making fun of me cause she likes to rub me on my head. So I’m like, you know, uh,
Scott Luton (00:04:54):
It sounds like you had a, a loving family, a great relationships with your brother. A lot of competition that, that probably drove, I’m assuming would drive y’all to really Excel, whether it’s sports or academics or just life in general. And it’s really cool to hear how that’s kind of carried on to today’s environment and be able to have, you know, enjoy that same relationship as well as with your own children, which is, is really cool. So your son is, uh, Jared jr. And your daughter is,
Jarrad Turner (00:05:26):
So I have two girls. My oldest is Alexandria or Alex and, um, my son, Jared, you and your, and then my youngest Christina, or as we like to call a Chris, Chris. So,
Scott Luton (00:05:39):
So, all right, so I’m going to ask you a little curve ball here, Jared, but I’m sure it’s one of you head a head out of the park. Uh, earlier today we were talking with, uh, the mother of three and I’m the father of three. And, and one of my, the coasts we do a lot of work with also is a father of three. And we’re all talking about, Hey, what is
Speaker 3 (00:05:58):
One piece of advice? And of all the countless pieces of advice we give our, our kids and how just like when we were small in one ear and out the other. But if there’s one piece of advice that you really hope that all three of your kids listen to and apply as a, you know, go through their journey, what would that one piece of advice be?
Jarrad Turner (00:06:18):
Yeah, that is definitely a curve ball. Uh, for me, that one piece of advice honestly, is learn how to love yourself before you can love others. Um, you know, um, I grew up, my dad was always around. Um, my dad is, is actually just, you know, he’s the hardest working man I’ve ever known, honestly speaking. Um, he worked at one time, he worked three, three jobs to make sure that I could go to a Catholic school, you know, um, my hat goes off to the guy every day and I’m so thankful for that. But you know, that older generation, they never really said that they loved you a lot, you know? Um, so I’m always just letting my kids know every conversation, just how much I love them and how thankful I am for them. And, um, after I got injured and, um, after I was medically retired from the army, one of the things that I was able to do with a friend of mine through camp twin lakes is we were able to create a kids camp called kids serve to, uh, we served over 700 kids.
Jarrad Turner (00:07:20):
Wow. Kid’s camp. But, um, you know, one of those things is just being able to tell your kids that you love them and being able to express that emotion of love, uh, and you know, and this a healthy, positive way, um, you served, I served. So we’re part of this brotherhood that is so much greater than ourselves and that, that level of commitment and loyalty, when it all broke it down, that’s really low. You know, I love my brothers and arms. I love my sisters in arms. Uh, that’s why I call them my brothers, you know, um, uh, we train hard, we fought hard. We did everything hard. Now whether you get that into the military or whether you get that playing lacrosse or football, or, uh, any other type of team sport, you know, I, I personally feel that when you learn how to love yourself and learn how to accept yourself for who you are, um, you know, you can drop yourself and push yourself harder than anything else. So that’s the one thing that I would definitely say,
Speaker 3 (00:08:22):
I love that. Well, that was much of a curve ball because you crushed it. That’s a, we were in truest park, that’d be somewhere in Midtown, somewhere. The ball would be. So, uh, I appreciate you tackling that, tackling that because as parents and the responsibilities we have, and, and as we try to share both, what’s worked well for us and what didn’t work so well, all this, these best practices and advice we pass along, we just hope our kids cling to at least more than at least one of them, you know, uh, so good stuff there and appreciate your, your, your story about your father. Um, I’ll tell ya, hardworking people are salt of the earth and, and, and, you know, it, it goes, a lot of folks will talk about hard work, but that man, folks that just do it, put their head down and, and are kind of quiet about it. I mean, that’s, that’s, um, really salt of the earth. So let’s talk about, as we kind of segue, you’re touching about some of your aspects of your military career. That’s kind of go ahead and take some steps in that direction, but first let’s talk about what made you join the military,
Jarrad Turner (00:09:25):
Uh, actually being a dad for one, and then two working at the Southern poverty law center. Um, I was roughly 24, 25 when I began working at the Southern poverty law center in Montgomery, Alabama. And if you think about that, just a history that wasn’t there. When I was there, I was very fortunate enough sadly to be there. Um, this was on a time of our recent history, where we had to church burnings and just looking at the, the commitment of those men and the women that work at the Southern poverty law center and understanding that in many ways, those men and women were heroes. Now they didn’t have any weapons. Um, you know, their weapon was the law, if you will. Um, they stood in the face of adversity to the face of racism, the face of hatred. And they said, you know, this is not the right thing to do.
Jarrad Turner (00:10:21):
So, uh, honestly, um, working there and meeting a, uh, former army ranger, I don’t know if you have a former, but, and I, uh, a Marine and this listening to them, um, it kind of, I was inspired if you will, to, to do something that was greater than myself and started really wanting to have that legacy and questioning myself, you know, who was I to, to, to, to, um, be able to really this prosper from the different fruits of everybody else’s labor, um, specifically, uh, on my mom and my dad’s side of the family, we both, you know, I was fortunate to have, um, uh, family members that were service members. Um, if we look back in Livingston, Alabama, I mean, small town West Alabama, if you will. Um, and a small church called shady Grove Baptist church, I was able to see the tombstone, uh, from world war one from a PFC Hale. So that is my great, great, great grandfather. When I think about, you know, that, that you a PSE and think about all of this, all of us who have been able to serve and, and to honor his legacy and his memory, and, you know, to really do that. So, uh, that’s really the, the, the antithesis and excuse me, advantage of me joining the army and, um, really making that, I didn’t know what was going to take place, but yeah, made that decision.
Scott Luton (00:11:56):
What year was it that you entered the army? 2000, 2000. Okay. So this was after you’d already graduated from Alabama state university, I believe. Is that right? Correct. You, you you’d been working already exposed to real world, so to speak with the Southern poverty law center in Birmingham, and then you were in smart. I’m sorry, Montgomery. I know you said Montgomery. I, my brain and handed out work in conjunction, sometimes arts and Montgomery. And, and so you were inspired not only, it sounds like from your family history and, and, and a track record of serving, but by some folks that you were around at the time, so joined the army in 2000 before any of us knew how the world was, was just about to change. What did you, so when you joined the army and got out of boot camp and got out of what, what, I’m not sure, and the air force is tech school, uh, whatever the army calls it, uh, what, what did you, what was your MOS? What, what, what was your role?
Jarrad Turner (00:12:57):
So my original MOS was actually that of a feeler. So I was a quartermaster, uh, it’s kind of a, I have to laugh because my original contract actually said, um, medic, but the things that take place in the army with the recruiter,
Scott Luton (00:13:16):
It happens when they’re forced to the case.
Jarrad Turner (00:13:21):
Scott Luton (00:13:23):
I signed up for, and then quartermaster, uh, which is kind of supply chain related, right?
Jarrad Turner (00:13:30):
Yes, definitely. So it was kind of interesting, um, had all of this background in supply chain, but, you know, even, uh, in the army you have, uh, I think it was called, um, I can’t remember right now, but it was, you could take, um, an ASI, like, especially specialty skillset as a medic. So I got on to that and was fortunate enough that the army said, okay, now we’re going to send you their actual, uh, AIT for, to become a medic. So I went through to AIP, but it is what it is, you know, Hey, what do they say? They say, embrace the suck when you’re in the army. So you just embrace this up literally. But, um, no,
Scott Luton (00:14:18):
There’s a reason that journey. I mean, that’s, that’s why you’re here. And, and, and you’re here designate to give back. So many folks have benefited and who to thought one of the reasons is because you went to, to AIT in army. So embracing the suck has helped plenty of others. All right. So, uh, I’m sorry, you were going to continue on through, so you sound like you went back and became a medic in the army, is that right?
Jarrad Turner (00:14:44):
I became a medic in the army. Um, but you know, somewhat similar to what you were alluding to, I would have never had thought what was going to take place in 2001. Um, actually, uh, when I speak about my dad, it, it always chokes me up. My dad is still living, but, uh, as a result of September 11th, after September 11th, shortly after that, he had a massive stroke. Um, so, um, yeah, so, um, unfortunately I even had to give my dad CPR one time. So, uh, the skill that you learn in the army, you just never know how to personally go on to be able to affect you. But, uh, yeah, you just never know what’s what the future has ahead of you, you know, or in store for you. So, so your father is still with us.
Speaker 3 (00:15:31):
I live in long Island, New York,
Jarrad Turner (00:15:34):
No, dad and dad has actually moved and dad is with the sisters and that’s totally cool. I have to laugh because, uh, so my dad being a hard worker that is, um, uh, you know, one, one year when I was younger, uh, and I told him, I said, dad, you can’t run a marathon. And he’s like marathon. And I’m like, yeah. And I’m like, there’s no way in the world. You can run a marathon. I’m like, you, haven’t trained for one. And he’s like, well, you pick one and I’ll, and I’ll train for it. And I’m like, alright, whatever. So I pick a date and it’s like 40 days out and it was a half marathon, but you know, here it is the man that works two jobs wake up one morning when I used to run for wrestling and football and lacrosse practice, he wakes up and I’m like, dad, what are you doing?
Jarrad Turner (00:16:18):
He says, well, I got to start training for this thing. And I’m like, okay, well, I’m going to run my little three and a half miles. And he’s like, nah, the third around six with me. And you know, I’m running six with him. And I’m just like, my heart’s about to explode because your dad is six feet tall and I’m five, nine. So as you can imagine, and I’m just looking at this guy, like, is there anything that he can’t do? So 40 days after that he actually ran, we ran a half marathon just because the son said he couldn’t do it. So,
Speaker 3 (00:16:47):
So, alright, Jared, and admire that. What a great testimony to your father, do you, are you a chip off the block when someone tells you or challenges you, that you can’t do something or, or, you know, do you take that as motivation and make it happen?
Jarrad Turner (00:17:04):
I’m just going to keep smiling and laughing right now because probably, uh, either my physical therapist, my occupational therapist, or my orthopedist is probably going to hear this and I’m going to defy every order that they’ve given me for the right reason, you know, I am going to run, I’m going to push myself. I’ve been very, very fortunate to be athletically inclined. And I’ve also been very, very fortunate to be incredibly hard headed and stubborn. So, yeah.
Speaker 3 (00:17:33):
Okay. You answered that question, so good stuff there. Um, alright, so let’s, um, uh, let’s shift gears a bit. Uh, let’s talk about some of the folks that you served with. Um, maybe as a starter, tell us, you know, you know, when 2001 and, and the, and,
Scott Luton (00:17:50):
Uh, the, really the years that followed, talk a little bit about what that meant for your journey with the army. And then let’s talk about some of the folks you serve
Jarrad Turner (00:17:58):
September 11th. And this is, we got everybody, um, playing it’s uncle. Uh, I remember flying back to New York, uh, going into LaGuardia airport and looking at the towers, literally in a plane, looking down at the towers. And I remember even though, uh, we were in the plane, uh, the, the smell of the recycled air in the plane changed, um, you know, um, any of us who were part of that initial push, you understand that, um, it was just really, really different. I remember our leadership, uh, first Sergeant our commander telling us that, um, you know, Hey, we’re going to get in, we’re going to get out. It’s going to be like desert storm, desert shield, you know? And, uh, one of, uh, one of my battle buddies, uh, I remember him saying we ain’t going nowhere. You know, um, our, our first deployment was 15 months now. That’s know you would go to jail now, just trying to do that. But, you know, uh, part of being in that initial push, it just was what it was
Scott Luton (00:19:10):
For clarification for some of our listeners that may not be as familiar. You’re talking about that initial push into Afghanistan. Is that right?
Jarrad Turner (00:19:17):
Well, the initial push into Iraq to Iraq. Yeah. That was ugly. You know, very simply stated that was just very ugly. Uh, I remember two things that really kinda hit me. I remember getting back to Atlanta because I wasn’t Alabama. Um, before everything took place, I was visiting some friends and I remember just looking at people and, you know, um, it was just a real crazy time if you will. And I remember coming back, my mom at the time had worked for the IRS, and I remember, uh, just trying to calm her down and just telling her, you know, mom, I don’t know what’s about to happen, but mom, you know, um, stay here, you know, stay here. It is just, you don’t get on the road unless they, you know, they call you don’t do anything. Uh, I remember from where our home is that you’re always playing, filing all over the place.
Jarrad Turner (00:20:16):
And I remember just looking up, not seeing any planes and not hearing anything. Uh, surprisingly, uh, as I told you, I have family members who had also serving, uh, my cousin who, um, who retired as a Lieutenant general, uh, in the Marine Corps. Uh, yeah, Lieutenant general, Willie Williams. Uh, he was on the side of the Pentagon when the Pentagon got hit that day. So he was pulling out fellow Marines and fellow members. Um, you know, um, it’s hard to talk about September 11th, to be honest with you. It’s hard to talk about that time because, uh, when we were in Iraq, I remember looking at some of the garden units and some of the things that they had written on their vehicles, you know, and some of the names that they had written of the loved ones from New York. Um, it’s hard because as a result, you know, I’ve lost seven to combat and 11 to suicide. So, but those, those moments were also, uh, some of the best moments of my life, as you can imagine. I remember when we, when we flew into, uh, into, uh, Kuwait, and I remember when the door opened up and the heat wave that hit everybody, and it was like, what in the God awful?
Jarrad Turner (00:21:44):
You know, you
Speaker 3 (00:21:46):
It’s a dry heat, as I said, right, it’s a dry heat. I spent 45 days in Kuwait and it was hot.
Jarrad Turner (00:21:51):
Yeah. It was as hot, you know, I think it was, uh, you know, we, I don’t even remember what time we got there, but I remember waking up the next day and it was like, nobody slept. So it was like two, three o’clock in the morning and you walk outside his GP, medium tent, and it’s like 90 degrees. You’re like, what the heck? You know, uh, you know, the Kuwait days were good for us, but it’s, you know, when we got into Iraq and, um, unfortunately we didn’t have all the, the, the needs, so not showering and the salt things coming through your uniform. And you’re just like, man, you smell not bro. You smell like, honestly, we both smell inhale. This is pretty nice. Hey, you gotta love it.
Speaker 3 (00:22:39):
How many combat tours did you serve and when, or all were all of them in Iraq?
Jarrad Turner (00:22:44):
Yeah, both of them were in Iraq. I did two tours. Uh, first one was 15 months. The second one was not a month cause I got injured on that second tour.
Speaker 3 (00:22:51):
So I mean, it’s just, it is for as I’ve, I’ve shared with folks, I am not a combat veteran. I was a data analyst and air force. Um, but, but in my time and rubbing elbows with the folks that were combat veterans and certainly in the, you know, 18 years or yeah, 18 years since I got out here in the stories and I mean, you know, these days we complain, we don’t get our package in a day or two hours. In some cases, uh, my dad served in Iraq. Uh, he did a tour in Iraq as a national national guard, um, went into a combat zone. Uh, and it’s just, it’s amazing what we ask from our military and the SAC, the immense sacrifices they make, whether, you know, so what with, without, um, I don’t wanna put you on the spot, but if there’s, if there’s, you know, if there’s a thing two, that folks that
Scott Luton (00:23:46):
Haven’t served or haven’t been in combat, you know, that there’s something you’d like them to know, um, the important for them to understand what takes place, what would they,
Jarrad Turner (00:23:55):
So the most important thing, well, actually I probably have to, um, the most important thing is you got to learn how to trust your brother to the left and right. If you do not trust them, uh, you’re not gonna make it. I can tell you that right now. And, uh, when I say trust, I mean understand, it doesn’t matter where they’re from. It doesn’t matter where the heck they are, what they look like. They’re wearing the same uniform and you know, um, they’re going to sacrifice for you. And, you know, a lot of us would be willing to sacrifice from them. Again, those are my brothers, uh, plain and simple to understand. And it’s kind of interesting that we’re here in this pandemic right now. You know, um, the one thing that combat has caught me personally, listen, sometimes life is going to do is open up something and it’s going to be crazy and you have no idea what the next day is going to bring, but be incredibly thankful for the moment that you have right here in front of you and be incredibly thankful for the people that you’re with, because it is not guaranteed that they’re going to be there tomorrow, the next hour.
Jarrad Turner (00:25:03):
What have you, it’s just not guaranteed. So, um, truly train and pray and be hopeful for the next day, but live life to your fullest. Um, um, you know, I met one of my, uh, one of my, uh, form of battle buddies. I can’t call him, uh, he’s now a CW three chief warrant officer three in the army. But, um, it was interesting. Uh, we had a small warehouse that we kind of lived out of and worked out out of. And, uh, he caught me at the, uh, the gym not too long ago and he was just laughing and I’m like, what are you laughing? He was like, you’re the only person I know this, that you see two 25 on the bench. And you’re like, all right, that’s what we started on.
Scott Luton (00:25:53):
I might would be laughing like your friend there. I mean, that is a clearly, you are setting some records and maybe still do, I don’t know, kind of jealous. I wish I could sit down and start at benching two 25 as if that was, um, you know, the first 30 reps. But I don’t, I don’t, I don’t walk in your shoes.
Jarrad Turner (00:26:09):
Here’s the record you still got here? I don’t, you ain’t got no gray. I got a whole bucket gray hair right now, and I used to claim old man status and nobody believed me back then. No, I’m really claiming it now. Like how I’m really trying to tell them I’m an old man and they still don’t believe me. I don’t know what it is, man.
Scott Luton (00:26:33):
Well, let’s so let’s, so you, you were, you were talking there a moment ago about someone you served with who was still in a chief warrant officer, a CW three. Um,
Speaker 3 (00:26:44):
Let’s talk about it. Who else comes to mind and I’m sure that there’s no shortage of folks you served with, or you worked for, or folks that worked for you. Um, give us another, um, friend of yours or fellow soldier of yours that you really, you think of when you think about your, your,
Jarrad Turner (00:27:02):
Well, I had a, I had the honor of serving with a chief warrant officer for Jackson older man. Um, he, he just really kinda, he was from Montana, just old school, um, just, just old school and taught me about life, you know, kind of interesting. He was just like, you know, he was like, Hey, you got kids. And I’m like, yeah, I got kids, wife, you know? And he was like, well, you need to start looking about life insurance and annuities and investments. So purchasing your home. And once you get a home, get a few rental properties and different things like that. He, um, he was a shorter man, but he was, he was like as wide as the Oak tree for crying out loud.
Jarrad Turner (00:27:48):
And he just, you know, every once in a while a few explicative come out of his mouth. And that was that, um, one of the other, um, gentlemen or brothers in arms that I had the honor of serving with with, uh, um, chief water officer Dixon and, uh, chief was a PVO property book officer. And it was kind of interesting because, you know, as you get into different things, you start understanding that nothing moves without supply. Plaintiff’s simple. I don’t care how hard you find the hardest of the hardest operator, uh, ranger, Mar SOC Marine. You ain’t gone nowhere unless you got equipment here who you are. And, um, I just remember, you know, every once in a while you, if it’s on you sometimes believe your own height. And, uh, I remember one time we had a mission that we needed to go on and I was telling chief that, Hey, chief, we need this, this, this, and this. And he’s like, well, you ain’t going to get this, this, this and that. I was like, well, you know, chief, the commander said that we need this. And it was simple. He was like, listen, I don’t care how big you bag on are you tell him we ain’t got it. And that mission is about to go down. And he was like, I don’t get in your medical line. And I was like, Hey, don’t kill the messenger. All right, don’t kill the messenger.
Speaker 3 (00:29:14):
Well, there’s no shortage of good, very honorable folks you serve with serve beside your brothers and sisters in arms. And, um, you know, the here, I think you said he lost eight, is that right in combat?
Jarrad Turner (00:29:30):
So I lost seven to combat and 11 to, uh, to suicide. Unfortunately, I’m one of the guys that I served with, uh, that sticks out. His name is Stephen Cruz, uh, specialist, Steven Cruz. His dad was a gentle giant. I mean, literally with a gentle giant, it was him. And, uh, uh, Jason’s scrub. Uh, we used to call them the twin towers because if you tried to play basketball against them, it was not going to be a good thing for, and, uh, then it was, uh, a fellow, a brother in arms also, uh, Dickey, specimen, Dickey. Uh, he was another just ridiculously tall guy. And it was like, good God, all I got the good Lord. All he gave me was strength. So I can hit you hard to tell him I could lift things harder heaviest, but I didn’t get any Heights. So
Scott Luton (00:30:27):
When you look back, cause we’re gonna talk about your transition next and, and, and some of the challenges you face there, and then that ensuing transition, when you look back at, I think 10 years in active duty, is that right? Yeah. 10 years, 10 years. So when you look back and, and you think about, um, the, the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and there’s no shortage of challenges nor loss, as you mentioned, some of these fine, uh, people, you know, what are you, what do you look back and what are you gonna tell your kids about your grandkids about and your great grandkids? What are you most proud about?
Jarrad Turner (00:31:02):
One of the things I definitely would like to tell, uh, and I’ve told this, you can get through anything as long as you guys got a real good cook. And we had Sergeant first class ham, who he literally brought his own. He had a Footlocker of, of like spices. So he made those, those sea rats and those MRE, that stuff was the best it’ll kill you, but it was the best in the world. I think one of the other things is just the, you really have to learn and get to know people for who they are. Um, you know, I think, uh, I think about the time that we’re in right now and in a lot of social unrest, you know, racism and just the pandemic, but I was very fortunate that people that I’ve served with white, black, Asian, Latino, they were just good people, plain and simple, and they would do anything for you. And, um, you know, uh, that just for me, just reminds me of, you can get through anything. If one, you realize that, that you don’t have to do it by yourself and then to realize, get the right people around, you get people that are committed to the cause committed to the mission, committed to just not quitting and you’ll be able to overcome,
Scott Luton (00:32:23):
Wow, we’re going to have to have you back next week for the followup hour. I mean, there’s a lot, there’s so much stuff. You’ve got no shortage of stories. I’m sure that we can’t get to today and I appreciate it, Sharon. So let’s get into your transition and maybe what proceeded that. Cause I know you had some
Speaker 3 (00:32:40):
Really challenging set of circumstances. Let’s talk about what led you to, uh, leaving the art or separate from the art.
Jarrad Turner (00:32:47):
So unfortunately when I, uh, when I got injured on my second deployment, as a result of that, I ended up having a, I had a piece of shrapnel, uh, that kind of delayed me open. Then I also ended up having to have four shoulder surgeries, two elbow surgeries, and as a result, post traumatic stress and TV. Uh, so when you think about that, unfortunately that’s what I may have to separate from alarming. You know, that was, that was tough right there.
Speaker 3 (00:33:18):
Imagine, um, you know, it’s really tough, I think for a lot of folks to put ourselves in your shoes. Uh, but the sit here with you, uh, 10 years roughly later, and, and how, and, and, and we’re gonna, I want to get into a little bit of the story, but how you’re able to overcome these, these, these health challenges and then, and also overcome just the, um, the combat experience and PTSD and how that really impacts you. I think, I think I saw where you said, Hey, we’re always change. Even if, if you don’t get injured or hurt or, or, um, you know, you have significant loss, it’s going to change who you are. I think our, I was reading, uh, an earlier interview. You had, um, so the B so to be here now and, and, and see what you do to give back, which we’ll talk about in a second about the warrior Alliance and, and other things that you’ve done, including kids serve to which you mentioned on the front of the interview. Um, but how did you, how did you break through these, these, um, these health challenges and get back and get in a good spot where you could, after you kind of took care of yourself, you could be in position to take care of others. How did you get through that?
Jarrad Turner (00:34:29):
So one of the things, um, you know, if you think about it, I said that you don’t have to do these things alone. You know, it’s imperative that you, you realize that there’s others typically on the other side now to try and help you. Um, for me, that, that others will actually the shepherd center share military initiative. Um, this is a polytrauma treatment facility or program for post nine 11, uh, veterans. So that was really the, the, that was the one main factor. Uh, the other factor was getting involved. Um, for me, I had to reengage and find where my fellow brothers and sisters were, you know, uh, when you’re in a uniform, everybody looks the same, you know, you know where to go. Uh, we used to have this concept on active duty, you know, one stop. You’re probably familiar with that term. So, but when you separate from service, you know, coming back to Atlanta, Georgia, it was, it was like, where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? Um, I was medically retired, San Antonio, Texas. And I do not to today. I don’t remember driving from San Antonio to Atlanta, Georgia. There’s literally a week of my life. I have no recollection of, and back because I have a, what’s called a traumatic brain injury and, you know, uh, having vertigo being on three pages of medication. Um, I mean, when I got admitted, uh, to the share military initiative, again, three pages of medication, and I actually had, uh, I had nine alters from taking all the meds. Wow.
Scott Luton (00:36:15):
So was that a program here in Atlanta? You said it was a shared military initiative.
Jarrad Turner (00:36:19):
So with the share military initiative and it’s at the shepherd center, uh, so essentially Bernie Marcus, uh, the cofounder home Depot, uh, the way he tells the story was he was sitting at home and he was watching TV and he was listening to what was going on at the VA and the fact that there was a lack of service for our veterans who had been recently separated. And, uh, I don’t want to quote mr. Markets, but, you know, his thing was, we’re about to have another Vietnam. We didn’t take care of the Vietnam era veterans, and here it is now we’re about to fail this, this generation of veterans. And it’s just one of those things where you’re just saying, if it wasn’t for him, um, and his dedication, it just would have been a problem, you know, so that’s what we have going on
Scott Luton (00:37:10):
This program was critical to re rehabbing where you were and getting you in a position to give back to others eventually after w H how long would you call it that, um, that rehabilitation time period as part of your transition, how long did it take you, do you think, just ballpark terms to get back to where, you know, you were comfortable and in getting could out, you go out and continue your career.
Jarrad Turner (00:37:34):
So actually it’s an ongoing process. I mean, we call a, we call TBI traumatic brain injury to gift that keeps giving. Okay. Um, uh, it’s one of those things that, uh, so for me, I have vestibular issues, so I have to read larger fonts. I still have vertigo occasionally. So those are things that it’s gonna continue for me, again, having two elbow surgeries, having four shoulder surgeries, having two surgeries on my jaw. If you want to say, like the hardcore intense aspect of that, you have to think it was about two years worth of rehabilitation that I went through.
Scott Luton (00:38:11):
And I apologize. I didn’t, you know, a lot of times, I don’t say the right words, I know that it’s not like, well, I figure it’s not like a car where, you know, if the, if, if something’s wrong with a piece, he replace it and it’s fixed. Yeah. I probably should have restated that where it is a continuous journey. And as you put it, uh, you know, the gift that keeps on giving it probably has some residual that will always
Speaker 3 (00:38:36):
Be with you. I didn’t mean to make light of, of, um, you know, these challenges. So, um, alright. So you said about two years of really intense hands on therapy, and then of course, all, all of the things that linger that, that to this day, you’re, you know, you still get through, um, let’s talk about, you know, your, your kinda, not your health transition and, and your rehab rehabilitation. Let’s talk about your, your transition into the next phase of your career. So what was, what was the first thing at, you know, post active duty post army that, that, um, where you started your business career?
Jarrad Turner (00:39:15):
Well, I was actually very fortunate that I actually, when I separated from the army, because I wasn’t medic, I was able to work for the VA medical center first. And then after working for the VA medical center, I was able to work for the veterans benefits administration. And then I was able to work for, uh, the DAV and wounded warrior project, and now, uh, serve as the director for, uh, the warrior Alliance. Um, uh, my transition actually was very, it was a very good one, uh, again, um, if I was not able to attend college and to have that, you know, collegiate background and, and have a specialized skill that was still needed. I don’t know if that, if that transition would have been so well. Um, but I was very fortunate for that.
Speaker 3 (00:40:01):
So you you’ve, you’ve been able to see several veteran service organizations and probably see a diff a few different approaches. Um, what, so let’s talk about, um, before we talk about the war Alliance, if you had to give some advice to, um, to other veterans transitioning, um, you know, out of, regardless of service, regardless of the branch, I mean, regardless of what their role would be with for that matter, regardless if they’re enlisted or officer I was enlisted. Um, and, you know, I think a lot of them listed folks don’t have that professional network that a lot of officers did not every officer, but a lot of officers. Right. Um, and I, and, and I know for me, just in my experience that lack of network coming back after two years, um, you know, finishing out my term with air force, I really suffered, I remember getting a Rolodex from a dear friend of recruiters, uh, because I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t have nobody to recruiters. I didn’t even know what I, I was, I was, uh, poised to do. Right. And I just started dialing dialings recruiters and, and sending them my, um, very slender, slim resume, trying to find, you know, trying to find a job. Um, but, but what would you, what advice would you give to folks that are, that are, uh, separating and looking to, you know, find their private sector job?
Jarrad Turner (00:41:27):
I actually have three, uh, kid bits, if you will. Uh, the first everything, you know, it is incredibly valuable, but you are going to have to repackage it and don’t try to do it by yourself. Um, secondly, just because you’re not in a uniform anymore, you still have a ton of work to do. Uh, and then lastly, make sure that you take time and be incredibly happy that you had an opportunity to serve. Um, that first bit of advice. You know, when I think about my transition, my transition was I was very fortunate again. Um, I did have a network to come back to. There was a small network, but I had a network there’s a lot of us who do not have a network. Um, you really need to get in contact with a transition specialist really a year out. I would not wait even six months, I would say a year out when you’ve made that final decision. And you know, that it’s time, you know, it’s time for you to go ahead and separate from service. You need to truly think about what you’re getting ready to get into. Um, as you know, you know, the simple things when we were in service were paid on the first and 15th, you know, you get sick, you get hurt. That’s what you’re going to get paid for going
Speaker 3 (00:42:50):
Often inaccurately. Yeah, I’m just kidding. Uh, uh, remember the, the, the office that I found myself in a lot, I’m just, I’m just picking on those folks that, that, uh, you know, build the Les statements, all that stuff I’m just picking, but it happens.
Jarrad Turner (00:43:07):
There’s two things that will stop a war. Okay. Let us soldier find out that their family’s not getting taken care. You got a problem, let them not get paid. You got a bigger problem. Okay. So when that spouse reaches out and they said, Hey, that’s what the bills are. Oh, first Sergeant, we got it. I would tell people, you gotta really start thinking about this process and understanding that even though there’s good intentions in the civilian sector, the reality of it is this. A lot of people in the civilian sector have no earthly idea what to do with us. And they don’t understand the level of skills because it’s, they completely different network. And, you know, unless you’re in a fraternity or unless you’re in some type of a national club, guess what? You’re not building that network. I often would tell those who are transitioning, whatever your rank is.
Jarrad Turner (00:44:03):
Lieutenant Colonel in general, such and such, Hey, guess what? That’s not your first name anymore. Your first name is what your first name is. Okay. And let people know that it’s not about where you’re coming from, but where you want to go. Because a lot of times they’re not able to relate, you know, I felt somebody, Hey, I was a combat medic. And then just a rigorous of training that, you know, Hey, we get up at two o’clock in the morning and we would do, I’m putting do simulators, or, you know, Hey, we’re going to do a 15 mile force rock March with, you know, 45 to 60 pounds of gear on your back. And we’re gonna get it done in three hours flat. And they’re going to be looking at you like first and foremost, what the heck is humping. Cause I’m about to call HR and all you, first and foremost,
Scott Luton (00:44:49):
They don’t know what they don’t know. Right. It’s the human element, right? Oftentimes they want to help, but they can’t relate. And I like how you put in your first tidbit, what you know, and what you learned in the military, it’s really valuable, but you’re going to have to repackage it. And don’t try to do that yourself. As you said, Hey, find some help, get a resource, get a third party that really knows how to repackage it. So you can really put your best foot forward in that civilian ease, you know, that, that language so that they can really pick up and see where that value comes to play. Right?
Jarrad Turner (00:45:21):
Correct. Yeah. It’s really, you know, the United States where proudful nation and, you know, truly, um, there is a lot of commitment to, uh, the veteran and the service members, but, um, at the warrior Alliance, one of the, we think one of the things that we say often is, you know, are you veteran friendly or are you warrior committed? I think right now we’re learning as a society. What warrior committed really means. Um, you have to understand that a lot of people, they can’t relate. So it is on your behalf, you are an ambassador to the war, uh, to society and you really are trying to get them to understand, Hey, um, yes, I might’ve done some hardcore things in the past, but look, I’m your neighbor, you know, I’m your coach, I’m your teacher. Um, your, your, you know, your business consultant, I am a, I’m a human being just like you.
Jarrad Turner (00:46:21):
So you have to make yourself relatable. Um, that second tidbit is, you know, or really the, the third one. But, um, you have to kinda tell society that you’re proud of what you do. A lot of men and women or civilians. They don’t necessarily have family members that have served. So again, you know, um, a lot of my, um, the kids that I was coaching, I’m sorry, again, COVID lifestyle right now, but a lot of the kids, I mean, I would have never thought that was going to be a lacrosse coach. Again, I’m from long Island, New York. And you know, here it is, I’m in Atlanta, Georgia. And it’s like what you’re about to coach lacrosse. Yeah. You know, that’s kinda crazy to me, but, um, a lot of my players did, they had no earthly idea that I had even served. And, you know, I told them the story of the army and I told them about the level of comradery and the level of commitment and you know, what that meant, and essentially started rebranding myself, not as the, the, not as the army guy that, Hey, I’m just your coach that happens to have served in the army or, Hey, you know, I’m just nonprofit leader that happens to have served in the army, you know?
Jarrad Turner (00:47:38):
So you really get to a point where you are, you’re really just talking about who you are now and not who you were in the past.
Scott Luton (00:47:47):
That cause it also, when, when, when I hear you say that it also speaks to the, you know, the art of the possible and what you can become and all the potential you have post military post active duty, right? Like you’re not limited to where you come from. So I love that message of hope you shared. All right. So let’s talk, you mentioned the word Alliance. Let’s talk about the word Alliance. Let’s talk about what the organization does, and then let’s talk about where you spend, spend your time. But before you do, sorry, you mentioned warrior committed. Right? Right. All right. So last time that, uh, I saw you, uh, and, and we had a very brief chance to chat. You were one of the keynotes for a vet Lana summit that was at Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta. And back behind you, I’m, I’m almost positive.
Scott Luton (00:48:35):
There was a big warrior committed backdrop or sign or something. And I got a great snapshot of you while you were speaking. Not, not to put words in your mouth, but mr. Arthur blank, when we look at folks that put their money where their mouth is to communities that really can use it, I’ve just long admired what he’s done and what his, the foundation that he’s connected to. And of course the Falcons, it seems like they’re certainly helping a lot of people, including veterans, but a lot of folks, I hope we can label them warrior committed.
Jarrad Turner (00:49:08):
They are definitely warrior committed. You know, um, when I say warrior committed, I want you to think about when we see, uh, service members walking through the airport, a lot of times you just see people start clapping their hands and just saying, thank you. But the reality of it is if you see a ton of service members start walking through the airport in Atlanta, Georgia folk, they’re probably coming from Fort Benning. Okay. They ain’t done nothing yet. Okay. Let’s just go, let’s go. Let’s get rid of that right there. No, the warrior committed is simply this. It’s not just a handshake. It’s not just lip service. It is actually actions behind the words. You know, you’ve mentioned ARCA Blaine. When you start thinking about the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta United, the M blank family businesses, you have to also think about Steve cannon, Steve cannon, West point graduates, Steve cannon also served our country.
Jarrad Turner (00:50:09):
And you know, he’s really that one person who kind of talked to mr blank and said, Hey, sir, you know, we have to do this because it’s the right thing to do. We always have to acknowledge our service members and our veterans that is being warrior committed. That is, um, your business, your brand, and bringing people in and acknowledging their service, you know, regardless of whatever the NFL is doing. And, and I honestly attest to this, the Atlanta Falcons are doing things with the kids of veterans. They’re doing things for veterans. They’re doing things for service members, and it’s not just the Falcon. If the Atlanta United is their entire family business and their brand that stands not behind because when you start thinking about, Hey, I stand behind you. Well, that means you’re behind me. When I’m in battle, you’re shoulder to shoulder with me, I don’t need you behind me.
Jarrad Turner (00:51:04):
I need you shoulder to shoulder with me. And that’s what warrior committed is about. Warrior committed me that, Hey, we’re going to look at our company. We’re going to look at our organization and you know, something we’re going to realize that we can probably do better. And when I say do better, the veterans that you have in your company organization, do you have programs that are actually specifically for those veterans? Do you have programs that are for their caregivers? Because if you need employees, guess what you take care of those veterans and their family members. Oh, you’re going to have a ton of employees. That’s a building your legacy. That’s a building your brand that’s warrior committed, you know, warrior committed is saying that, Hey, the status quo is unacceptable or you’re committed, says, okay, we’re not going to wait for the government to come in and solve this problem.
Jarrad Turner (00:51:53):
Does the government have the resources? Yes. And they also have typically three to 4,000 pages worth of regulations. That’s prohibit you from getting to those resources. So, um, warrior committed for us is essentially taking a platform like a Salesforce and adopting it through, uh, one of our partners, which is called America’s warrior partnership and using the data, but then also having the manpower. So we’re using a concept of the human centered design. So where I have a team of actual veterans and family caregivers called navigators, that if you contact us, you’re actually gonna reach somebody. Um, we don’t profess to beat an organization that has it all, but what we do profess to be as the organization that has a memorandums of understanding and service level agreements with roughly right now, 27 organizations. And through those 27 organizations, we’ve been able to serve, uh, provide services. If you will, for 3000 plus veterans integrator, Atlanta metropolitan area
Scott Luton (00:53:05):
Is moving the needle. That’s making a huge impact. That’s warrior committed. And it’s not as much as we all appreciate the gestures as simple gestures, right? You’re talking about the airports and, and, you know, the, the, the, the folks that, you know, thank you for your service and all, and that’s how they appreciate it. But gosh, we’ve got to get, we’ve got to do so much more. We have
Speaker 3 (00:53:26):
A debt, huge debt that we all own. Uh, if we live here, uh, to take care of the folks have taken care of us and gone and served, especially in, especially in combat, uh, cause when they come back, they’ve got needs and, and that’s our debt. So I really, I love the little bit you’ve shared. I know that y’alls mission, your organization goes a lot deeper and further than what the little bit you shared already. Um, and, and when I say a little bit that in terms of, uh, brevity, uh, cause I want to protect your time, but anything else about the warrior lines that you think when folks hear that, that it’s really important. They understand one other element as to the mission or as to what, how you serve or what have you.
Jarrad Turner (00:54:10):
So I will touch on that one thing when it comes to the warrior Alliance, but I also want to acknowledge because sometimes we, we make a mistake. If you will, of saying that it, your service has to be overseas. I want to recognize those men and women from the Georgia national guard that you had over 2100 guardsmen that would deploy to New York, California. I mean, we do so many things or they do so many things. It’s not just overseas, right? When the crap hits the fan, we got to remember that it is these men and women who they might Dawn the same uniform, that active duty dolls, but they’re your neighbors. And they just decided to step up and say, Hey, there is something greater than myself. And not only do they have civilian jobs, but they said, Hey, I’m going to serve the country by being a reservist or a national, I mean, at the same time.
Jarrad Turner (00:55:04):
So I really want to recognize that, especially, you know, during the time of the pandemic, because again, that’s 2100 men and women who honorably left their own families in a time of a crisis and say, Hey, I’ve got to go do this because my country, my state has called me. So I want to make sure that we always, that we acknowledge their sacrifice as well, because it’s not just always overseas. So getting back to the aspect of the warrior life and you know, what I, what I want people to understand is this, the previous models, when it comes to a veteran service organization is, Hey, you have a, an organization. And they say, okay, I’m going to have everything that you need inside these four walls that incompetence the organization. That’s just not the reality folks. That’s not the reality. You have, you know, entities like the shepherd center.
Jarrad Turner (00:56:00):
This is a top 10 spinal core rehabilitation facility that, Oh, by the way, has a veterans program. So they’re addressing neurological issues in the veteran community at no cost whatsoever. If the warrior Alliance tried to do that, honestly, there’s no way in the world. We can be there. We’re not set up to do that. An organization like camp, twin lakes, family warrior weekend, and kids serve to camp. Kids serve to camp, to camp twin lakes. Here it is. This program is for the, the kids of veterans and service members. You’re talking about going through a week long camp for $45 for your kids. Now, I don’t know how many right family warrior weekend. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:56:48):
Can they go multiple weeks? I already got some ideas for my three and a lot of camps. You know, you got vacation Bible school. It typically is free. And with, and I don’t want to tell on us, but we look for a variety of vacation Bible schools. Right? Keep them kids busy, but yeah, 45 bucks hitting the side of talking about books for a week. I mean, what a a and, and, and so to tie it back, the warrior Alliance helps make these types of opportunities happen. Is that right?
Jarrad Turner (00:57:16):
Correct. So what will happen is the, the warrior. And again, for our purposes, a warrior is any veteran or service member that has registered with us as long as I can verify that they have a honorable discharge. And as long as I can verify their service, because reservists and national guardsman, don’t always get DD two 14, then they’re eligible for our veteran, for our resources. For veterans, we call everybody warriors because we honestly believe that you are a warrior look, neither the army or needs of the service will dictate. What’s going to happen. Some people got deployed, some of us didn’t get deployed, but I will not sit up here and tell a lie and say, Oh, you know, when the crap hits the fan, yeah. Send me know when the crap hits the fan. I was like, I don’t believe what the heck is going on.
Jarrad Turner (00:58:10):
You know, I started thinking about my legacy of a dad, but I was very fortunate that, you know, Hey, the army trained me. I had the skillset. I was with the right, uh, right. You know, unit right team, right. Platoon right company. And it is what it is. We got sent over. We did what we had to do, but when it comes to the war reliance, we take those men and women. We have an intake coordinator who will get all your information, made sure that we are, have all your demographic information. And then we’ll connect you to one of our navigators, our navigators. We’ll put you through a process of just learning who you are, understanding your needs and understanding what actually, um, sometimes the things that we talk about aren’t necessarily the days where we need to be so concerned with, uh, we’re very fortunate that we have a, um, a survey based upon the department of health and human services in Utah called the [inaudible].
Jarrad Turner (00:59:05):
It’s 12 questions that a veteran or warrior can answer. That gives us a glimpse into understanding mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually, where you were at four weeks prior to engaging with us, for us, it’s understanding your totality so we can truly address your needs for some people. They just want to connect with fellow veterans. Okay. That’s typically a simple one, but for others, there might be some financial instability, some food instability, some emotional instability. Well, we’ve got to understand, okay, what got you to this place? Um, the VA is the largest veteran entity, plain and simple. We, we are essentially a triage when it comes to the VA at some point or another, you’re going to have to go to the VA. But what we want to be able to do is get you squared away, make sure that you’re at least at a very stable position.
Jarrad Turner (01:00:00):
So then when it’s time for you to engage with the VA, guess what all of your needs are met, and you can go in there and truly express your needs in a very calm, cool collective manner. Um, so we have 27 partners that are, allow us to do this thing by using Salesforce. It allows us to connect with all 27 partners. It also allows to keep all of the data secure, um, prior to COVID, we were, uh, roughly 80 to 120 new veterans in our organization every month, as a result of COVID, we’ve got dropped down to between 40 and 50 new veterans, but the amount of veterans that are already in our system or warriors that are reengaging with us has gone all the way up to 80. So we’re making an impact at the warrior airlines every day. And, you know, we’re understanding the needs of our warriors and our caregivers.
Speaker 3 (01:00:58):
I love that the focused aspect of that, the targeted aspect of that, the customization is involved because we all come from different walks of life, have different needs. I love that component of what I’m hearing. Uh, and so for more information, the warrior alliance.org, is that right?
Jarrad Turner (01:01:14):
Correct. You can find us, uh, you can reach us at a (404) 210-1776, or you can go to the warrior alliance.org and register with us, allow us 48 hours. Our intake coordinator will reach out to you by phone or by email, but you will be connected with the warrior airlines.
Speaker 3 (01:01:36):
Outstanding. Appreciate what you do. All right. So let’s, uh, here last question or two here. Uh, Jared, I want you to weigh in kind of in the bigger picture. You know, if there’s one thing that, um, you know, that you’re spending a lot of time tracking or, uh, keeps you up at night, or you find yourself talking with your family about it, you know, day in and day out, we all have those. What’s one thing that you, that, that, uh, that you’re tracking right now more than others right now, when you look at trends and developments and issues and challenges and you name it.
Jarrad Turner (01:02:08):
So right now, uh, there’s a few things that we’re tracking as far as this and the veteran space. Uh, one of the major things that we’re tracking is the limited amount of resources prior to COVID. There was a very good, uh, focus on, you know, um, understanding and ascertaining the needs of our veterans here in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area throughout the state, and honestly, throughout the nation. But when the pandemic hit a lot of the funding, a lot of the resources of course, right. For blue. So went to, um, assessing and dealing with the pandemic. Unfortunately, one of the things that has not been addressed in our state as well as in our nation is the simple fact that you have more and more people reaching out for more mental health resources. One of the statistics, um, March of this year, prior to the pandemic, the VA only had 178,000 people requesting, uh, tele health appointments.
Jarrad Turner (01:03:10):
Now, as of June, that number has up to 780,000 people are requesting tele health appointment. Wow. As June, you said, Holy cow. Yes, that is June. So between March and June, um, and you’re not hearing any conversation about mental health, you know, um, that is something that is definitely concerning. Uh, right now there is, um, we, we cannot ignore the social, uh, unrest that we have in our society. You know, when you think about the military and you think about the veteran space, you have to think about, um, the legacy that, that has. You have to think about the commitment, but you also have to think about the responsibility. Again, we’re requesting that the national guard come in and we’re requesting that the national guard, you know, come and not protect overseas, but come home and protect some different things and try to take care of a lot of things here at home.
Jarrad Turner (01:04:15):
That’s hard for those men and women. You really have to understand that you have to also think about as the society, as our economies are starting to reopen. And mom and dad want to go to work well, schools aren’t open right now. They’re not open for a good reason. We’ve got we’re in the middle of a pandemic folks, you know, so you have to think about our service members and our veterans that now are just like the rest of society, but it’s compound because some of them have served in different capacities on active duty. And some of them that do have residuals. So the amount of stress under not just the, the men and women of our country, but just the amount of stress under our service members and our veterans right now, honestly speaking, I’m just not seeing that attention to detail. You know, one of the things that we’re trying to do is to make sure that people understand, listen, when you think about your veterans and you think about your service members, please don’t think about us as just a by night type of thing.
Jarrad Turner (01:05:18):
No, we are the men and women who are committed to do things that so many are unwilling to do. So please, don’t forget about us. You know, there’s a study that’s out right now. When you start thinking about the amount of compensation that active duty service members receive. Well, you have a lot of active duty service members that are actually receiving food stamps. That makes no sense why, because their families are not receiving enough compensation that allows them to go out and buy grocery food and different things like that. I mean, major basis, we’re closing. So it’s not like we had 20 years ago where you had all of these large facilities where people were just living on it’s facility. So those are really the three things that, you know, when I started thinking about what are we looking at is we’re looking at, are the resources going to be here in a year from now when it comes to taking care of our veteran population?
Jarrad Turner (01:06:15):
Are we looking at higher rate of unfortunately suicide? Nobody’s reporting on this right now, unfortunately we’re tracking it, but nobody reported on it right now. And you know, those are the things that we’re really focused on. And again, a state like Georgia in the next five years, Georgia is going to have over 2.2 million service members and veterans that is a large portion of your society, your population here in Georgia. And we have to think about it, our veterans in the state of Georgia receiving the accurate, adequate, excuse me, benefits and resources that other States around us are receiving. And unfortunately, no. So those are some of the things that I’m thinking about as we progress and move forward.
Scott Luton (01:06:59):
Kind of wrap that up, you know, even though we’re in this pandemic time that this, you know, I hate, I hate that I hate the borrower cliches, but you know, this is a, this is such a historically challenging year. What’s what I’m hearing you say. And, and, you know, we, we, uh, uh, we work with a wide variety and sit down with a wide variety of nonprofits and they all kind of make a point that you’re making in a way in a different way, shape or form. Is that just because we are in this unprecedented year, the need for the needs you’re serving doesn’t stop and call Tom out simply because we’re in a pandemic. I mean, in some, in many cases, as you’re pointing out, the need gets greater. So really want to encourage our audience to lean in to a veteran service organizations, check out the warrior alliance.org, you know, see how you can help. And I, again, I really admire the way that you clearly with conviction or set out to move the needle and help the veteran community and give back, but also give forward and, you know, help us all get through this, this year of 2020 and, and help our veteran community get through some of the challenges, unique challenges it faces.
Jarrad Turner (01:08:08):
So that’s also one of the reasons, you know, and I thank you very much for that, but that’s also one of the reasons where, you know, for me, it’s not just about giving back, as you said, it is really about being progressive and moving forward, you know, I’m open to speak to anybody when it comes about the data. Uh, you can speak to myself, you can speak to our VP. That’s one of the reasons that we use Salesforce, uh, we asked the right questions so we can get the hard concrete, concise, and data. There’s no need to estimate or wait, you know, for 2017, 2018 reports. I mean, we have the data here on the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, and we are actually seeking more ways to get involved with more so we can get more accurate data to tell the story of the veteran, because it’s not just, now we have to think about our future veterans. We have to think about our future service members. And to be very honest with you, you know, there’s no reason that with all the technology and all the resources that we have, that we don’t make it better for them. It is not fair if we’re not making it better for them.
Scott Luton (01:09:15):
So I hate to wrap it up there, but I love the point you’re making. We think things have to change and for things to change takes forces, right. You know, between the data. And I love the data driven approach is so important that way you’re not making, you know, no one’s making generalizations and assumptions. Hey, this is what the data tells us. And you combine that with experience and proven systems and of course, leaders that can bring the elbow, the elbow grease the leadership bandwidth, and know how to, how to drive change. You are writing an outstanding book here, and we look forward to having you back on and, and, uh, getting an update on all the progress you’ve made. So how can folks connect with you, Jared?
Jarrad Turner (01:09:58):
Well, primarily if they’re looking to connect with me, uh, again, you can go to the warrior alliance.org. You can register that way. You can send me an email through the warrior alliance.org. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, Jared Turner, sr on LinkedIn, or just look for the warrior airline. The other thing that I would encourage people to do, if they had any questions, again, just, just reach out to the organization. You just said it, you know, I’m not that leader that’s going to just sit behind the desk. Uh, one of the things that a group of men myself included are going to do starting September six, we’re going to run from Atlanta of, excuse me, from Washington DC, to Atlanta, Georgia, the first day of our run, we’re actually going to run around the Capitol for 22 hours to raise awareness for those men and women that have succumb to suicide. So I’m easy to find, um, you know, and I do that on purpose. Again, it’s gonna take hard work and it’s going to take sacrifice, but if, again, you can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me on, um, uh, by going to the warrior lifestyle, or you can also find us on, uh, social media. So you can find us on Facebook,
Scott Luton (01:11:09):
Really grateful for what you do. I’m grateful for the last hour, hour change,
Speaker 3 (01:11:14):
Uh, for, uh, you know, the kind of re
Scott Luton (01:11:16):
Connect with this, your story and your journey, but also what you’re doing about the issues we face here today and making it better
Speaker 3 (01:11:24):
For folks that deserve it arguably
Scott Luton (01:11:26):
The most. And that that’s the men and women that served in uniform, whether as you put it here domestically or abroad. So thanks so much,
Speaker 3 (01:11:33):
Jared Turner, senior director of
Scott Luton (01:11:36):
Warrior engagement with the warrior Alliance thing.
Speaker 3 (01:11:39):
Thank you very much. Have a great evening. All right.
Scott Luton (01:11:41):
So on behalf of the whole team here at veteran voices, I hope you enjoyed this, this, uh, story as much as I did it. It was better than the last time I was able to hear Jared speak and kind of give his testimony, but also talk about how things have to change and how we’ve got to serve a much more effectively this our veteran community. So Scott lewd here wishing all of our listeners and nothing but the best. Hey, do good give forward. As we just, as Jared was just talking there, but be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time here on veteran voices. Thanks everybody.
Would you rather watch the show in action? Watch as Scott introduces you to Jarrad Turner and Veteran Voices through our YouTube channel.
Jarrad Turner served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army for eight years as a 68W Health Care Specialist, 3rd Infantry Division. Mr. Turner deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was wounded during an attack. In 2010, he was medically separated from the military and was later admitted to the Shepherd Center Share Military Initiative for treatment for medical issues related to his injuries. Mr. Turner has dedicated his post-military service to improving the quality and access to resources for his fellow veterans. Since 2012, he has worked in various veteran service roles for the Atlanta VA Medical Center (VAMC), the Atlanta VA Regional Office (VARO, and as Senior National Service Officer (SNSO) for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). In 2017, he secured more than $2.2 million dollars in service connected benefits for WWP alumni in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Mr. Turner graduated from Alabama State University with a Business Management degree in 1997. During this time, he played football and participated in the gospel choir, and worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mr. Turner resides in the Atlanta area with his three children. He enjoys coaching lacrosse, athletic endurance competitions, and participating in volunteer roles with numerous Atlanta area Veteran Services Organizations. Learn more about the Warrior Alliance here: https://www.thewarrioralliance.org/
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