Episode 41

November 23, 2023


Episode 40 - Brian Gibson - You Can Hate War. You Can't Hate the Warrior.

Hosted by

Drew Deraney
Episode 40 - Brian Gibson - You Can Hate War. You Can't Hate the Warrior.
From Caving In To Crushing It
Episode 40 - Brian Gibson - You Can Hate War. You Can't Hate the Warrior.

Nov 23 2023 | 00:33:40


Show Notes

This episode:  You can hate war. You can’t hate the warrior. 


Here’s what you’ll learn about:

  • Military service, personal growth, and defining moments. (0:04)
    • Brian Gibson shares his personal journey of self-discovery and growth, from his military background to his current mission of helping others find their purpose.
    • Brian reflects on his defining moment in life, when he realized there was a better way to live after surviving his first combat tour.
    • He reflects on his training as a combat medic, from books to real-life experience.
  • Military service, leadership, and mental health. (6:20)
    • Brian recounts his experience as a medic in the military, describing how he saved lives in dangerous situations without hesitation.
    • Veterans share struggles with PTSD and self-medication, finds support through unexpected connections.
    • Veterans share their experiences and emotions with a listening ear, highlighting the power of active listening.
  • Mental health and support for veterans. (13:01)
    • Brian describes how, at event a day after he almost died by suicide, a pastor listened to his many concerns and offers guidance, helping him let go of guilt and shame.
    • Brian shares his personal struggles with mental health and suicide, urging empathy and support for fellow veterans.
  • Showing appreciation for veterans and supporting their mental health. (19:07)
    • Veterans appreciate genuine expressions of gratitude, such as "I appreciate your service."
    • Founder of Project Diehard aims to provide hope and support to veterans through skilled training, counseling, and transitional housing.
  • Nonprofit organization's mission and funding. (24:52)
    • Project Diehard aims to place veteran care facilities in every state, relying on donations and volunteers.
    • Brian emphasizes the importance of taking action and not waiting for opportunities to come, as seen in his experience with a $2 million donation and his advice to a young version of himself.

To learn more about Brian, go to LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-gibson-4a286116b/ or you can go to Brian’s website at www.projectdiehard.org.

Brian Gibson Bio: After retiring From the United States, Amy served as a Combat Medic; I have lost more of my military brothers and sisters to suicide than I did serving multiple combat tours. I personally walked down this dark path, and God saved my life. After my experience and knowing others are suffering, I knew something must be done to help our military veterans. I formed Project Diehard. The primary purpose of is to bring HOPE to my military brothers and sisters by providing them with a safe a secure place to get the help they need physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as they return to civilian life.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Welcome to from caving in to crushing. It the podcast for those who find themselves immersed in adversity and choose to write their story instead of having others write it for them. I'm Drew Deraney, and I'm your host, Brian Gibson. So great to see you. [00:00:24] Speaker B: Hey, thank you for having me. [00:00:26] Speaker A: It is certainly my pleasure. I've been looking forward to this, Brian, as most people have, the military, the current servicemen and women and the veterans are near and dear to my heart. My dad was in the air force. He's since passed away. Anybody who gives sacrifice like you have deserves respect, accommodations, anything possible. And we need to get the word out there of the needs of our veteran community. And I feel who better to have on than Brian Gibson? So thank you so much for coming on, my friend. [00:01:06] Speaker B: Any chance I get to spread hope to my brothers and sisters, I jump on. [00:01:13] Speaker A: Right? Well, I'm trying to grow my platform, so my goal is to get more and more people to listen to. Your know, Brian, when we're kids, we're know if you do A-B-C and D this way, you will get to X. And really it's a myth, and we're sold a bill of goods that life is linear, and we know it's not. God knows you've experienced a nonlinear path in your life. I would love to capture the essence of Brian Gibson for the audience and have them GUMCO through your journey of that defining moment in life where it kind of hit you and said, god, Brian, there's a better way to live, and I'm going to start doing it. Can you take us as far back as you'd like when you recall that happening and take us through to where you are now and how it kind of molded you? [00:02:11] Speaker B: Well, I got to go all the way back to when I was 17 years old. [00:02:18] Speaker A: Very fair. [00:02:20] Speaker B: Okay. I come from a military family. We can trace our service all the way back to the revolutionary war. In my family, if you're a male, it's kind of implied that you will serve your country. Now, I did a full 26 years, but that's not required. Just one tour is what's required. [00:02:51] Speaker A: Okay. [00:02:54] Speaker B: Defining moment in that there's a better life would probably be after my first combat tour. [00:03:06] Speaker A: Wow. [00:03:06] Speaker B: And surviving that, it was, wow, what did I just go through? There's got to be something better. And that's where I started to take advantage of the education benefits and the travel benefits, and I actually served my country and expanded my horizons. I've been around the world about three and a half times, so that was the essence of me. It's a service related because, A, I joined the army, but B, I was a combat medic. [00:03:48] Speaker A: Oh, wow. Tell us, so what kind of training did you have to become a combat medic? [00:03:56] Speaker B: That was 14 weeks at fort Sam Houston. That's the home of the United States Army Medical Corps. Right. 17 years old. I grew up in hospitals. My sister passed of leukemia. [00:04:17] Speaker A: I'm sorry. [00:04:18] Speaker B: Okay, well, it happens. I know, but they took me from this is the human body, right. And yeah. All the way to this is a needle. This is an IV needle. Everything you need to know. And then at the end of that, we went out and played pretend so we could pass all of our skill testing. And then you graduate as a combat medic. Okay, well, great. Well, then you get to your first unit, and my direct boss was a medic in Vietnam, and he went, so what didn't they teach you? And he taught me. Yeah, I understand that schooling is great, but experience and knowledge, pass it on. [00:05:30] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:05:30] Speaker B: Well, he instilled in me when I became a leader. Same thing when I got new soldiers. Well, what didn't they teach you? [00:05:41] Speaker A: Right. So take me into the mindset you had prior to your first combat, prior to that defining moment. And what was it like if you could walk us through what it was like before you go into that combat, because they taught you something before, but when you're really going into it and you're really experiencing it, I'd like to, if you're willing to share what it was like, the reality of it. [00:06:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Learning, growing, hitting the books, whatever you want to call it. Right. And we train as we fight, but that's still training. When the first bullet flew and that first call of medic, oh, boy. That's when realization set in of, whoa, I got a life in my hands. [00:06:40] Speaker A: Yes. [00:06:44] Speaker B: That was, hey, I got a life in my hands. [00:06:50] Speaker A: How'd you respond, I'm sure you can feel like you're right there right now. [00:06:55] Speaker B: Unfortunately. Yeah. But how did I respond? My training kicked in my service. That was the job I choose. So I jump up, I run over, and I do what I do. Stop the bleeding, make sure he's breathing. You know, that was my first tour. I've had a few others, but that same realization never changes when they holler medic. [00:07:33] Speaker A: Right? Absolutely. [00:07:35] Speaker B: Yeah. I've had battle buddies. Go, doc. Do you know you ran through all that fire to get to so and so? I guess I was just doing my job. [00:07:54] Speaker A: That's unbelievable. I am so impressed and honored to have people like you, Brian, where you did that on autopilot, really, it wasn't like thinking, oh, and I'm running through this. You had a job to do, and it's a human life to save, and I can't even put myself in your shoes, obviously. Take us through the rest of your career in the military, what you've learned and how you were able to take the wisdom from the experience combined with that knowledge and adapt it to what you're doing now and who you are and how it kind of changed you. [00:08:38] Speaker B: Well, going through the military. You move up in rank, you get more responsibility. [00:08:46] Speaker A: So. [00:08:49] Speaker B: That'S how I developed my leadership style. I've had good leaders, I've had bad leaders, and I take from both to make myself better. Right? [00:09:03] Speaker A: Right. [00:09:04] Speaker B: So I go through 26 years. I leave as a sergeant first class, a senior non commissioned officer, and unfortunately, those demons caught up with me. [00:09:19] Speaker A: Okay. [00:09:20] Speaker B: I self medicated with alcohol up until the point where I almost became one of those statistics of veterans dying by suicide. All right, again, discussion yesterday I had was, nations throughout history have sent good men and women to do bad things. [00:09:52] Speaker A: Right. [00:09:54] Speaker B: You can hate war all you want, but you can't hate the warrior. [00:10:01] Speaker A: Unbelievable. True. [00:10:03] Speaker B: Right. So I'm almost getting ready to punch out, and my phone rings, and it was another veteran said, hey, Doc, what are you doing tomorrow? And I really had no plans. [00:10:25] Speaker A: Wow. [00:10:27] Speaker B: And that led me down to an event that he was attending. And a person, actually the pastor of a church, saw that there was something wrong with me and actually took the time. Everybody says, oh, he took the time to talk. No, he took the time to listen. [00:10:51] Speaker A: I love that. Wow. [00:10:54] Speaker B: Yeah, he took the time to listen. That's the whole key to people that react with veterans. When I brief this mission and we do classes and I tell everybody you see veterans every day. Some wear the hat, some don't. I just got to warn you, when you say hey, when you ask a veteran how's your day going, be prepared to stand there for 2 hours, because you might be the voice that that veteran needs to hear to open up. [00:11:35] Speaker A: It's got chills, man. That's so true. The difference between listening and talking. Wow. The gentleman who called you when you were ready to check out, what do you think about it at that time? And what do you think about that now, that call? Why do you think that happened? [00:12:02] Speaker B: Well, at the time, I guess it was my training. The medic in me, a brother, was basically he hollered medic. [00:12:18] Speaker A: Yes, he did. [00:12:20] Speaker B: Right. So training kicked in. [00:12:28] Speaker A: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. It did. It kicked in. [00:12:32] Speaker B: It kicked in. [00:12:33] Speaker A: Wow. So you go to the event, and you see him, obviously. And then when the pastor noticed something was wrong, how did he approach you? So you knew he was there to listen. [00:12:52] Speaker B: He just came up and, hi, I'm the pastor of this church. He started a conversation, what brought you down here today? And I told him I was here with my friend who was just starting to attend that church. He goes, So, did you serve? Yeah. And I can't remember the exact words, but it all led to us sitting down by the river. Now here's this big event at this pastor's church, and he took the time to walk me down by the river, sit down with a cup of coffee and say, okay, there's something bothering you, man. You want to talk? [00:13:50] Speaker A: And that was it. [00:13:51] Speaker B: That was it. I got to let a bunch of stuff off. And this person was non judgmental? [00:14:01] Speaker A: Yes. [00:14:04] Speaker B: He didn't say no. He just got it. That led to me asking questions. Okay. That's part of being a good leader, is listening to other people. So I asked the question. I got multiple combat tours. I've had to kill. There's no way God's going to forgive me. Then he broke it down. You were at war. You didn't do murder. It's a big difference. And that let a lot off my chest. My guilt, my being a medic, having to make that call. Who lives, who dies, because that's triage on a battlefield. That's my job. Who can I save? [00:15:25] Speaker A: Wow. If you want to send a message to the veterans out there who are struggling with the same things you were struggling. And really not only a message to the veterans, but a message to people like me who are out there, a message to the veterans and a message to me. What we should be, not we should be, but what you recommend or strongly consider, we do well. [00:15:58] Speaker B: For my brothers and sisters, it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to ask for help to the people, the civilians, the people that interact, because only 6.4% of this nation are veterans, right? So if you're interacting with a veteran, be understanding if they go to open up, listen, don't be judgmental about what they did or what they saw. Listen, educate yourself on where the resources are at. As I tell all the people I interact, all the civilians. You don't need to be a subject matter expert. There's people out there that do it. But just educate yourself on, hey, where's the nearest VA hospital? Where's the nearest clinic? Where's the nearest organization that okay. I'm talking to this veteran. They need help, but how do I get them that help? That would be my thing for my brothers and sisters and for the civilians. [00:17:39] Speaker A: Thank you. That statistic you just shared, 6.4% of the population are veterans. That to a lot of people or some people, that may seem like a small number outside of context. In context, that's a huge number. And you guys, men and women, brothers and sisters are not just a number. [00:18:11] Speaker B: Yes. [00:18:13] Speaker A: And that's what we got to get across. They're human. [00:18:19] Speaker B: Each one of you, god taking that context, right? [00:18:23] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:18:24] Speaker B: Let's go the other way. [00:18:26] Speaker A: Okay. [00:18:27] Speaker B: The nation veterans, right? [00:18:31] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:18:32] Speaker B: You want to know a really sad statistic? [00:18:35] Speaker A: What? [00:18:38] Speaker B: We as veterans make up over 20% of the suicides in this nation. [00:18:50] Speaker A: That speaks volumes. And that's why the advice you gave civilians just now about listening and be prepared to listen and not just be prepared, but actually listen is so important, Brian, because one of the things that we and I guess I'll speak for civilians, that when I see a veteran, my first thing to say is thank you for your service. Now, when I say that to you, it could seem like a cliche. Like just people say thank you for your service, and then they walk away. How does that make you feel if someone says that to you and what are you compelled to follow up with? [00:19:48] Speaker B: It all depends on the situation. [00:19:50] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:19:51] Speaker B: If that person is really genuine saying thank you for, I say, you're welcome. Right. Thank you for giving me a boost today. But then you get people, thank you for your service. And then I respond with, hey, you're welcome. Why didn't you? [00:20:15] Speaker A: That's a good one. I love that. I love that I want to be able to say something and be there for the veterans. When I encounter a veteran, and I do encounter quite a few, rather than me saying what everybody else says, what would be a good, helpful introduction of me to a veteran? So I let them know that I am here to lend an ear and I'll spend 2 hours by the river with them. [00:20:46] Speaker B: Well, I know the shorter version is thank you for your service. [00:20:50] Speaker A: Okay. [00:20:51] Speaker B: How about this? I appreciate your service. [00:20:56] Speaker A: Okay. Words matter that's impactful. Okay. [00:21:02] Speaker B: I appreciate your service. [00:21:04] Speaker A: Thank you. I will certainly do that. [00:21:11] Speaker B: We serve to defend this nation. [00:21:15] Speaker A: Yes. [00:21:18] Speaker B: Again, as I said earlier, you can hate war, but you can't hate the war here. If you live in this nation with the freedoms you have, no matter your views on it, you still have freedoms. I've been in countries where you say the wrong word, they take you out back and shoot you. Okay. So America is a great country. [00:21:47] Speaker A: We need more people to say that because a lot of people aren't in realization what the freedom that we have in this country is worth. [00:21:56] Speaker B: Yeah, well, again, I appreciate your service. [00:22:00] Speaker A: I appreciate your service, Brian. [00:22:02] Speaker B: Yeah. And again, you might be that voice using that phrase that the veteran turns around and goes because it's not the thank you for your service. [00:22:19] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:22:20] Speaker B: It's not the lip service. [00:22:22] Speaker A: Absolutely. Jeez, I could talk to you all day. All right, so I got a couple last questions before actually, you know what? Tell people what you're doing now, and then I'll get into the last two questions. Tell people what you're doing now in your profession that you've been molded to do. What's your purpose now, Brian? [00:22:46] Speaker B: Well, my purpose now is to bring hope to my brothers and sisters. I am the founder and president of Project Diehard. Our mission is to help my brothers and sisters with whatever we can. We are currently developing 20 acres in a 10,000 square foot building that was donated to us. When Nest property is complete, it will provide skill, training, counseling, therapies, and transitional housing for twelve single veterans and two veterans with their families for up to a year at no cost. That's what I do. [00:23:42] Speaker A: Now, what do you need to complete that project? What can the audience provide to help you complete? Because I know the project is not complete yet. [00:23:52] Speaker B: Oh, it's not near complete. We need people to find us on social media. Projectdyhard.org is our website. You search project diehard 22 on Facebook. If you see behind me, you see the little guy, saluting. [00:24:15] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:24:15] Speaker B: If you see that logo, that's us. [00:24:17] Speaker A: Okay. [00:24:19] Speaker B: There's 45,000 veteran nonprofits out there. [00:24:22] Speaker A: Right. [00:24:23] Speaker B: Well, when you see that, that's us. And we are trying to bring back what a nonprofit should be. Okay. I don't take a salary. No leadership of this organization gets a paycheck. [00:24:41] Speaker A: Okay. [00:24:43] Speaker B: Our goal is 90% of all funds donated, touching the mission of bringing hope to veterans with only 10% going to the admin cost. [00:24:59] Speaker A: Where are you located? Where will be the first of the. [00:25:03] Speaker B: First facility is in Mckanda, Illinois. [00:25:08] Speaker A: Okay. [00:25:08] Speaker B: For those who don't know about it and I didn't know about it that Southern Illinois has a wine country. [00:25:16] Speaker A: Did not know that. Okay. [00:25:19] Speaker B: I didn't know that either. [00:25:20] Speaker A: Wow. [00:25:21] Speaker B: But we are nestled out in 20 acres of God's earth with a pond on it, hiking and walking trails and trees and birds. And one of my people hate the geese, but I love them. They left for the year. They raise their young, they're done, but they come back every year. I love them. I hate those things. I'm like, Dude, this is great. [00:25:49] Speaker A: Yeah. Nature, man. [00:25:50] Speaker B: Yeah. But that's our first because our end goal is to place one in every state. [00:25:59] Speaker A: All right, so we're going to get 50 of these. We need the first one to be completed. So I know you need it's not only money that will help you complete. You need the volunteer hand work and people to actually get dirty and finish. And so the local people in Southern Illinois, they need people power, human power to actually help do the work. We need more and more people to be doing the work in addition to. [00:26:32] Speaker B: The correct oh, again, yes, we rely on donations and okay, okay. But if there's a group of people that want to come from Pennsylvania, come down to Forward Operating Base Rush and say, hey, we're here to hey, you know, look, it's not the risk, but we'll give them a cot to sleep on. Okay. It takes teamwork, and this is one thing I'm very adamant about. I want people to come to the facilities. [00:27:13] Speaker A: Yes. [00:27:14] Speaker B: I want them to put their hands on it to realize, hey, this is a real organization with real things. As I told the committee in Frankfurt the other week when I briefed them, we have the land, we have the plan, and we have the team join our team. Come on. [00:27:45] Speaker A: What I what I admire about you, Brian, is you don't just say what your philosophy is. You live it because I know you've told me that you've had opportunities for monies, but there were strings attached, and there's no strings. You're going to run a nonprofit the way a nonprofit was born to be run. So if you want to elaborate on that, please do. Or if what I oh, yeah. [00:28:15] Speaker B: This property was donated to us in 2020. [00:28:18] Speaker A: Right. [00:28:20] Speaker B: In 2021, we had an individual come to us and say, I will donate $2 million to your nonprofit, but here it comes. And mind, you will work. But when they said, you have to remove God from your mission, I went, no, unbelievable. Won't do it. [00:28:56] Speaker A: Unbelievable. Obviously, that person didn't get yep. I did want that story to be told because this is the real deal, everybody. Brian's the real deal. And I'm usually not at a loss for words, but, Brian, I admire you so much. Okay, so the last two questions I want to ask. So, Brian, you have an opportunity to sit down with young seven to ten year old Brian, and you want to give him advice about life. What are you going to tell him? [00:29:33] Speaker B: Don't wait. Seize the moment. A lot of things in my life, I waited to see how it's going to transpire. Probably missed a few good opportunities. So I would tell that 710 year old, things are going to happen in your life. You're going to do good things, you're going to do bad things, but don't hesitate. Don't sit on the fence. If you're going to commit to do something, do it. [00:30:07] Speaker A: I love that Brian. All right, change your hat. And you're now sitting down with young Brian, the businessman, entrepreneur, and you want to give him advice on business. What are you going to tell him? [00:30:21] Speaker B: Build your team, listen to your people. Don't compromise. Don't ever compromise your integrity. Build your team, move forward, but remember where you came from. [00:30:44] Speaker A: I love that Brian. All right, so the audience has now captured the essence of Brian Gibson, and many, many are ready to reach out to you. Make it easy for them. How can we all find you? [00:30:59] Speaker B: Projectdyhard.org. That's our website. You can reach us at [email protected]. We are here to answer any of your questions. Our financials, you request them, the team automatically sends it to our accountant and you get them. But, yeah, that's the two ways you find us and get a hold of us. If you want to join the team, [email protected]. Everybody has a skill, everybody has a talent. Let's see if you fit into this mission of bringing hope to veterans. [00:31:57] Speaker A: I love that, Brian. I am so grateful you're in my didn't I forget who actually introduced us? Because I like to give those people credit. So I have a spreadsheet here, Brian, before we end it. Sorry, everybody, but I want to find out and give kudos to whoever introduced Brian to me. It was Tanya Lagalt introduced the two of us I want to thank Tanya for this introduction. This is what life is all about. It's about connection. It's about collaboration. So Brian, again, I'm grateful you're in my life, my friend. This is one of many times we're going to talk. I'm going to spread the word about projectdyhard.org. Keep doing what you're doing. You're an amazing human being and we love you for it. [00:32:46] Speaker B: Now, brother, thank you for this opportunity. But we're revamping our Monday mission podcast so you're going to get an invite real soon, okay? All right, thank you all. [00:32:58] Speaker A: God bless you and Brian, I appreciate your service, my friend. God bless, god bless. Be well, everybody. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed the episode, please subscribe and give us a review to help others find it. If you find yourself immersed in adversity and would like to find support from other men in times of struggle, please become a member of my men's supporting men collaboration tribe by emailing me at [email protected] expressing your interest and I'll get in touch with you. Speak to you soon. Bye.

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