Last April, Richard “Rico” Federico a long-time friend and One Degree supporter introduced me to a remarkable person, Deborah Rickert, President and Founder of Operation Support Our Troops America based in Naperville, IL. Rico had passed a copy of One Degree for her to read for consideration and application to the mission of OSOTA.
In 2003, Deb, as she likes to be called, founded OSOTA as a grassroots effort that has blossomed into one of the largest volunteer based military support organizations in the country. As a 501(c)3 organization they exist to provide comfort and care at home and away to our active duty military, families and veterans.
Their mission is to support the morale and wellbeing of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families both while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return. They accomplish this by providing a link between the citizens and military personnel so that everyone has the opportunity to express their support. This allows OSOTA to send comfort packages of items that are not readily available to our troops in their deployed locations, along with personal letters, cards and notes of support from the community at large. OSOTA is also dedicated to supporting our wounded service members, families and veterans through programs, support and facilitating awareness in various communities as to the needs of our troops.
After reading One Degree and talking with me, Deb felt my book would be a good addition to the comfort packages that are shipped all over the world. I donated 3,168 copies (72 cases). Rico graciously covered most of the expenses for a van rental for me to deliver the books to Naperville and also the 1,000 copies I donated to USO Ft. Campbell.
The day of the delivery I was met at the OSOTA warehouse by two of their volunteers and I was moved to tears by the enormity of what their organization does with only a full time staff of two and literally thousands of volunteer hours. In 2011, volunteers donated over 20,000 hours of their personal time to help our service members and their families. Kevin, one of the volunteers who helped me unload explained how people ranging from Boy Scouts to senior citizens would congregate at the warehouse and separate OSOTA office to pack the comfort packages, which when packed completely a plastic baggie of cards and letters of support went on top. I read some of the letters written by children to soldiers and veterans they would never meet. Thank God there was an open box of Kleenex in both the warehouse and office. Anyone visiting would need it.
In July, I returned to Wheaton, IL where Deb and and her team of volunteers were hosting their annual Rockin’ For The Troops concert in Cantigny Park with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band as the main headliner among many others. The party and music started at noon and went late into the evening with a sell out crowd of 11,000. It truly was a site to behold with many special recognitions for active and veteran service members and families. I encourage your to visit the OSOTA website to learn more about their organization which also received the prestigious 4 Star rating from Charity Navigator! They distributed all copies of One Degree in less than four months.
The Story Behind The Story
You have heard the saying, “You are truly lucky if you can count true friends to fill up the fingers of one hand.” If I were to start counting today, I could fill both hands only because the first two fingers would be Richard “Rico” Federico and Dave Carney.
I met Rico in September of 2003 in a meeting at the private equity firm of Sterling Partners in Northbrook, IL. Rick Elfman, a partner in Sterling had invited me to pitch my mergers and acquisition services to founders, partners, principals and associates of the firm. I still had the motorhome at the time and there I was, a single individual addressing a group that controlled such global brands as Sylvan Learning Centers. This meeting was after I had lost my weight and on the heels of my success in helping Lincoln Educational Services purchase the Nashville Auto Diesel College.
Over the years Rico and his associate Garrick Rice would give me various opportunities too small for the larger investment banks. However more importantly they became my friends. It was in a meeting in the Northbrook office in January 2007 that I first spoke of my big idea which became One Degree. Rico from that day forward encouraged me to press on even when I wanted to give up.
He read countless unedited versions and chapters of my book before I got a co-author. He responded to numerous questions of “Where do I go from here?” He always bounced back with quips like, “Let me know when you build your church.” Rico has always been there from the One Degree beginning and is there today.
If I had to begin to count my true friends on my fingers, I must cross my first two fingers representing Rico and Dave Carney for it is by the grace of God that they both believed in me, helping me to become a better man.
Rico always reminds me that you don’t thank someone for being your friend. I hope I just did.
Remember you can always download all One Degree eBook formats and the Mp3 audio book FREE at http://www.1degree.org/freebook
Wednesday November 14th was a day I will always treasure – my second book signing this year at the USO Family Center at Ft. Campbell. Only this time it was a real event! With the assistance of USO Program Director, Kelli Pendleton and Executive Director, Kari Burgess Brown, I was allowed to make the weekly Wednesday Warrior Luncheon truly special for our troops.
Rather than nachos or pizza, the usual fare, I had the luncheon catered by the Mel’ROSE BBQ and Grill of Clarksville, TN. Mel’ROSE owner Monica Hinton and her team put on the CHOW DOWN FEEDBAG with choices of pulled pork, quarter of a chicken, four made from scratch sides and their special homemade cornbread. OH MAN was it delicious.
The hours of the luncheon were extended so more could enjoy the feast. Plus I had a drawing for three gift cards and four CASH prizes, $50, $100, $150 and top prize of $200. The soldiers registered as they entered the building, dropping their names into a clear plastic box in front of me at the table I used to sign books. You should have seen the excitement in their faces which only grew as time passed for the drawings.
As troops came in some had attended my July signing and were telling me what One Degree had already meant to their lives. One young female soldier told me, “Mr. Wittwer I have never read a book cover to cover much less in one day. But when you signed your book for me in July I went straight back to barracks and read it all the way through. Can I have a book signed for my grandmother?” I signed it, “I had the privilege of meeting your courageous grand-daughter today. You should be so proud.”
Going back a second time gave many a chance to get books signed for loved ones, friends and most importantly 90% got a book for their Battle Buddies. A Battle Buddy is a partner assigned to a soldier in the United States Army. Each Battle Buddy, is expected to assist his or her partner both in and out of combat. A Battle Buddy is not only intended for company, but also for the reduction of suicide; since each watches his partner’s actions, a Battle Buddy can save their fellow soldier’s life by noticing negative thoughts and feelings and intervening to provide help.
Then came the drawings. It was amazing to see a soldier run across the room doing fist pumps after winning a $15 iTunes card. When I started drawing for cash you could hear a pin drop. I called the name of the $150 winner and female soldier started moving toward me barely able to walk as she was crying so hard with joy. She fell in my arms and wept, I wept too as many there joined me. The winner of the $200 came in after I had left, picked Kelli Pendleton up off the floor, swung her around the room, proclaiming he was the “luckiest man in the world” as he had not only won the cash but had books signed for both he and his wife!
It was a good thing Monica made extra food, we had a crowd of more than 300.
The Story Behind the Story
Friday November 16th marked the beginning of my seventh year on my One Degree mission. I am so fortunate to have survived so much to even continue. I have come back from financial disaster a third time, my health is excellent and this year after rebuilding my credit I was able to purchase a home. I don’t have sponsors and fund everything with my disability income on a policy I took out with Unum when I was thirty-four and supplemented by my SSDI. By the grace of God, here go I.
There have been so many times I wanted to quit only to be pulled back in by an email from a One Degree reader somewhere across the globe, literally. Every day I find affirmations OR THEY FIND ME that this is the life I was intended to live, not for me but for others that they might find their lives through my life experiences. I find it all quite humbling, thrilling and continuously amazing.
As I share what I have I ask of you to consider sharing whatever you can this holiday season with our veterans and active military through the USO. Please visit uso.org/donatefortcampbell or USO.org and donate. Follow USO Ft. Campbell on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/usofortcampbell
PLEASE follow me on Twitter @paulwittwer
Here are two articles that appeared in the Eagle Post newspaper about the event.
Lazydays and One Degree Helping At-Risk Youth
Lazydays. Just the word makes you think of time off from work, refreshing outdoor leisure maybe fishing, cookouts, camping around an open fire and waking up to a bird’s song on a fresh morning. AHHHH. Can you feel it? One in every 8.4 households in the United States does because they own an RV, recreational vehicle. Yes you read that correctly and there is one RV dealership that brings it all together for thousands every year, Lazydays RV in Seffner, FL near Tampa.
Lazydays isn’t your mom and pop RV dealer, no they are recognized as the largest single site RV dealership on the entire planet. Founded in 1976 and located on 124 acres, you will find everything from pop-up travel trailers to $1,000,000 motorhomes. Their five hundred associates, including a sales staff of nearly one hundred, work diligently every day to satisfy every customer need so they can enjoy all of their lazy days. The story of RV sales and service pales in comparison to the heart and compassion of the non-profit Lazydays Employees Foundation (LDEF).
The Foundation mission is to measurably change the lives of children by instilling hope, inspiring dreams and empowering them with education. Funded entirely by voluntary employee payroll deduction and fund raising events throughout the year the Foundation has many accomplishments. I want to share a few of them.
- Each year they fund ten scholarships for middle and high school students who would not otherwise be able to attend college.
- There is little that could be more frightening to a child than to be taken from home unexpectedly and then to be separated from his or her siblings. These vulnerable children were the inspiration behind the $400,000 funding for Lazydays House the first of it’s kind to provide temporary, emergency shelter for these victimized children while they wait for placement in a permanent foster home. It’s one of the several homes that make up the child-friendly complex at A Kid’s Place in Brandon, FL, a flagship program for the nation.
- LDEF has created the Lazydays Homeless Youth Program to serve the growing homeless population, and partnered with the University of South Florida College of Medicine to create Florida’s first medical clinic for homeless and street youth. This program inspired in part by child philanthropist Zach Bonner, 14, who is now the subject of Little Red Wagon, a feature-length film.
Last April I was fortunate to have been asked to assist the foundation with their 2nd annual Lazydays Employee Foundation Charity Golf Tournament, May 2, 2012. I provided a copy of One Degree for the gift bags for each of the 144 golfers and the 30 volunteers. I also sponsored a hole with a $250 donation. The tournament raised $106,000 for the foundation. Later that month I shipped five hundred free copies of One Degree to the Lazydays HR director for distribution to all of the Lazydays associates who so selfishly give of their resources to help so many who can not help themselves.
The Story Behind The Story
On Thursday May 3, 2001 I took delivery of my 1995 American Eagle diesel motorhome at Lazydays for what seemed like a whopping $89,000. In closing the transaction, Business Manager Andy Glogower convinced me that I should purchase an extended warranty siting the age of the coach, it’s high mileage and my inexperience as a first time motorhome owner. I am not one to get rattled to make an impulsive high dollar purchase but I had to take a deep breath and think about what Andy had said. Actually I had to step out of his office to think about it because I was borrowing 100% of the money for the coach purchase and now a last minute $6,000. I had to call my bank which approved the extra money. We closed the deal, had my picture taken (above) with my salesman Ken Ware and the motorhome in the Lazydays parking lot and off to home in Louisville, KY I drove.
Three months later I took my first long trip in the coach to the Sturgis SD Motorcycle Rally towing my Jeep behind. Thirty miles outside of Rapid City, SD the coach began to overheat – it had blown the radiator and I spent ten days in the parking lot of the Peterbilt truck dealership. My first call was to Andy Glogower who coordinated everything with the warranty company and the repair facility. Over the term of the extended warranty the insurance company paid out more than $14,000 in repairs. The day the contract ended the warranty guy who handled all of my claims called to tell me “Goodbye” with a sigh of relief!
On May 2, 2002, you know as a One Degree reader, the motorhome became my home of last resort as my Walmart hopping life began. My relationship with Andy continued and so did the support of the technical staff at Lazydays in Seffner and the fantastic customer service and technical support of American Coach in Decatur, IN. In 2003 I moved to Tampa and sold the coach in 2004 when I bought a home. I visited Lazydays regularly as it is a place of wonderment for anyone interested in the RV Lifestyle.
Andy and I have remained friends and over the past four years one of his daughters Meghan attended Belmont University here in Nashville where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance. I was frequently a guest of Andy and his wife Kelly to see Meghan in performances as she earned her degree. After graduating this spring she was cast in The Nutty Professor musical which the venerable 87 year old Jerry Lewis directed and produced. Through Andy’s photography I have watched all three of his daughters, Meghan, Anna and Rachel grow up.
Lazydays has twice honored me by publishing a story about me and One Degree in their quarterly four color magazine, betteRVing which goes out in print to 160,000 subscribers and is also available online.
To read my story in betteRVing follow this link.http://www.betterrving.com/Article/RV_Living/A_Home_of_Last_Resort
To find your next RV visit Lazydays. http://lazydays.com
Learn more about the Lazydays Employee Foundation http://ldef.org
Remember One Degree is always available to download for FREE in audio and all eBook formats at www.1degree.org
On September 19th, I attended the “Circle of Hope” Gala to benefit One Mind For Research at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Tom Hanks, Glenn Close, Sally Field, and Gena Rowlands lent their star-power to the event to benefit ONE MIND’s goal of curing diseases of the brain and eliminating the stigma of mental illness within a decade.
The gala capped off a successful week of fundraising by One Mind and the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO), who held their annual Music Festival for Mental Health on the previous weekend. The organizations have raised over $6.4 million dollars combined in 2012. One Mind is a division of IMHRO.
Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks hosted the evening, entertaining and impressing the crowd with his brilliant commentary and in-depth knowledge of mental health issues in America. About the four most prominent conditions: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression, and post-traumatic stress, Hanks announced: “We’re going to take the Big Four of brain disease on, and we’re going to get it done. It’s our national duty!”
Double Oscar recipient Sally Field gave a heartfelt presentation about her Emmy-winning performance in “Sybil,” emphasizing the dearth of information available at the time to help her understand her remarkable dramatic portrayal of a woman with multiple personality disorder.
Four-time Emmy winner Gena Rowlands discussed the breadth of emotion, compassion and desperation required to portray her characters in “The Notebook” and her Oscar-nominated turn in “Women Under the Influence.”
Glenn Close, a mental health advocate and one of the most lauded actresses of her generation – winner of multiple Emmy, Tony, and Golden Globe Awards and a six-time Academy Award nominee – performed a stirring monologue on a topic close to her heart: communication about mental illness and the stigma associated with it.
Close is also the co-founder of Bring Change 2 Mind, which is dedicated to eliminating the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. ”I want to help eradicate those illnesses and the stigma that goes with them. The stigma can be worse than the illness at times.”
Also attending were a large contingent of decorated service men and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, led by Sergeant First Class Victor Medina, who spoke eloquently about his own struggles with traumatic brain injury, moving many in the audience to tears.
“It’s a test of us as a society, to know if we have the national will to give our veterans a chance to recover, to come back and to heal,” Hanks said.
Co-hosts for the evening include ONE MIND CEO General (Ret.) Peter Chiarelli; Dr. David Feinberg; Dustin Hoffman; former US Congressman and ONE MIND Co-Founder Patrick Kennedy; Lori and Michael Milken; Stewart Resnick; and ONE MIND Co-Founders Shari and Garen Staglin.
“ONE MIND is a revolutionary approach to a problem that has been avoided for too long – the illnesses of the brain and the stigma that is so often a part of it. We are grateful and honored that these icons of the entertainment world have chosen to add their voices and efforts to ONE MIND’s mission,” said ONE MIND CEO Pete Chiarelli.
The Story Behind the Story
Sometime in early August I was watching Piers Morgan on CNN interview former US Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (Ted’s son) about the issue of health care parity. In layman’s terms why do we distinguish mental health and illnesses differently from other physical illnesses when the brain is one of our vital organs. There is no social stigma attached to health issues below the neck, but mention MENTAL illness, well you get the picture.
Patrick mentioned his Co-Founding of One Mind For Research whose mission he likened to his uncle John F. Kennedy’s MOONSHOT to reach the moon in less than a decade, except the mission of One Mind is to find a cure for major diseases of the brain in ten years. He had my attention and respect. The next day I called One Mind based in Rutherford, CA and offered my help.
General Chiarelli was going to be speaking in Cincinnati on August 30 to an audience about the silent, invisible wounds of war, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). So I drove 10 hours round trip that day, arriving an hour early which gave me an opportunity to speak with One Mind Director of Development Luke Knittig for more than thirty minutes. After the presentation I presented a copy of One Degree to Gen. Chiarelli and got to speak with him one on one for a few moments.
Fast forward. When I arrived at the Beverly Hills Hotel one of the people on my list to meet was Glenn Close to discuss her organization Bring Change 2 Mind. Within 15 minutes of checking in, I was walking down the hall of the hotel and Ms. Close was walking straight at me. I got my few minutes of one on one and left her a signed copy of One Degree at the front desk.
That evening I arrived at the Gala reception early and Gen. Chiarelli introduced me to his wife Beth and then Patrick Kennedy. Patrick very graciously spent 15 minutes with me and invited me to meet with him again in NJ in the near future.
You know as one of my readers there is always a unique encounter in store for you and me EVERY day if we just risk connection. I awoke early on the morning of the 20th and was determined not to spend $6 for a 10 ounce Diet Coke at the hotel diner so I walked straight down Beverly Hills Blvd about a mile and half just south of Santa Monica Blvd and found a bagel shop. While I and the customer in front of me waited on our orders, I told him of my unwillingness to pay $6 for a Diet Coke at the Hotel where I was staying. I’ll make this short, he too was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I explained the Gala I had attended the night before that he had seen from the lobby as guests arrived. He asked why I had attended. I told him of my book and TV show idea. He then introduced himself as SrVP of Production for AMC Networks and he was in town for the Emmys. He has invited me to visit their offices when I am in New York City. I left a signed copy of One Degree at the front desk for him. Always remember “if you risk connecting with others hope and help is always there for you”.
Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book. Use the links below to Tweet, Facebook or RSS. Stay tuned more great experiences coming. Sometimes it is hard for me to imagine that just ten years ago I was living at Walmart!
Wednesday July 25th will forever be one of the best days of my life! The USO Family Center at Fort Campbell held a One Degree book signing event for me during one of their weekly Warrior Wednesday luncheons. Lunch was provided by Cumberland Hall Hospital of Hopkinsville, KY. The event was also covered by the David Snow the Editor of Eagle Post, the regional newspaper.
Over the course of two hours I had the opportunity to meet and speak with dozens of the brave men and women who have volunteered to be our protectors. It is humbling when you look into their eyes and think of the gravity of their commitment to flag and country. Some came with their spouses and children in tow for the USO facility truly is developed to serve the needs of the whole family.
The One Degree message is all about overcoming life’s obstacles and this is the way the book was presented by Kelli Pendleton, USO Fort Campbell Programs Director in the one month of on base promotion of the signing event. Timing is everything. Only two days before the July 23 cover of Time Magazine was a picture of a solitary military bugler with a headline that read, “ONE A DAY. Every day, one U.S. soldier commits suicide. Why the military can’t defeat its most insidious enemy”. Everyone who asked for the book to be signed had read the back cover which reveals my own PTSD challenges. No one spoke with me about it as I know it can be an uncomfortable topic in an open group. Some asked for two copies, one for them and maybe a spouse, friend or comrade living/stationed elsewhere. I was honored to oblige.
Follow USO Fort Campbell on Facebook and donate to the USO. https://www.facebook.com/USOFortCampbell If you live in the area and would like to volunteer go to www.usovolunteer.org.
The Story Behind the Story
I had tried for several months in 2011 to get through to the national USO offices via telephone and email to introduce myself and One Degree but to no avail. I did however get email responses on how I could donate. Then a lucky break.
This spring I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) and magically they were interviewing Kari Burgess Brown, the Executive Director of the NEW USO Fort Campbell Family Center. She was sharing the story of how she became involved with the USO and her work on the development and construction of the new facility from the beginning. I was driving at the time and pulled to the side of the road to listen to the entire interview. Wow I was inspired!
The following day I called the USO Fort Campbell center and left a message for Kari. She returned the call a few days later at which time I explained One Degree the book and its mission. I also explained that I wanted to donate copies of the paperback to the new center. She asked that I mail her a copy for her review and consideration. A few weeks later she had read One Degree and we talked again. This time I asked Kari if I could donate 1,000 copies of One Degree. She gladly accepted. In the interim Kelli Pendleton contacted Cumberland Hall Hospital and after reading my book the hospital’s representatives said they would like to involved. Collectively I think it was a great day for all of us!
Special note of appreciation. A long time friend and someone who helped to keep me motivated to get my book completed, Richard Federico, provided the resources for a van rental to deliver the books to the USO and other places to be mentioned in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned.
Remember you can always download all eBook formats and the audio book for free through the One Degree website. http://www.1degree.org/freebook
Our citizen soldiers are suffering. After more than ten years of war and numerous deployments, the men and women who serve our country through the National Guard and reserves are suffering incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) five times higher and suicide three times higher than their counter parts in the full time military. The reasons are too many to list.
After deployment they don’t come home to base like Ft. Campbell where they have camaraderie and support, no they come home to HOME. They come home to lost jobs, homes, broken families with many of them carrying the invisible wounds of war, PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and in too many cases disabled. If war isn’t enough we turn to them to support our domestic needs in times of disaster and humanitarian crisis. Many belong to local police, emergency response and volunteer fire departments. They need our help and support more than ever
In conjunction with the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), we are trying to deliver a message of hope and help through free access to my book One Degree. April 3, 2012, in the Washington Report NGAUS made their first mention, direction to and links with the free digital copies of my book along with a limited offer of free paperbacks fulfilled from their Washington D.C. office. http://www.magnetmail.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?&message_id=1887330&user_id=NGAUS Our website traffic went up dramatically. This placement and endorsement was the result of my personal four year effort of working with John Goheen, NGAUS Director of Communications and his efforts within their organization. One Degree found its way into the halls of both the Congress and Senate.
I ask you to seek out National Guard and reservist families in your neighborhood and lend a hand with anything you can. They need us more than ever!
The Story Behind The Story
On the evening of April 8, 2008 I was watching the evening news when I saw President George W. Bush weep during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House before presenting the Medal of Honor to George and Sally Monsoor for the actions of their son during combat in Iraq. Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (Seal) Michael A. Monsoor had been posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for diving onto a grenade to save his teammates in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Sept. 29, 2006. Monsoor also received the Silver Star for his actions in May during the same deployment in 2006 when he exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to rescue and treat an injured teammate. I began to weep with him and I suspect many viewers did.
I thought about it all evening and then I began to think about all of those who are invisible to us until we need them, like the National Guard! I could barely sleep that night thinking about all the National Guard does for us in our greatest times of need. The next morning I got online and found NGAUS. I read through their staff listing and dialed the direct number for John Goheen and he answered the phone on the third ring. While that may sound improbable to many, for those of you who have read my book, well it’s not improbable in my One Degree world.
I explained to him that I was a concerned citizen living in Nashville and working on a program that I hoped would ultimately help our troops. We talked for more than 30 minutes and before the conversation ended he twice encouraged me to stay in touch with him as my idea developed. On April 9, 2008 my book was nothing more than a seven day old idea in a big basket of ideas, four years later almost to the day it is mentioned and recommended in the NGAUS Washington Report. John Goheen made good on his word as did I. April 3, 2012 at age 59 I stepped forward to serve our citizen soldiers.
On June 21st during their annual meeting, Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee www.ichope.com presented to me the prestigious regional Clifford Beers Award for my book and my personal mission to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. To receive this award and community recognition has been one of the many high points in I have experienced since starting on the One Degree journey November 16, 2006. Tom Starling, MHAMT President and his staff have been so supportive from the day I introduced myself nearly three years ago.
I ask you to take a few minutes, watch the presentation and my acceptance in this video. http://youtu.be/XlDKPJe-1Wk
Please remember One Degree is available FREE through our website for all digital eBook and digital formats as well as an Mp3 audio book read by me. Here is free book link http://www.1degree.org/freebook
Thank you for your support,
Last September 23 I was a keynote speaker at the Tennessee state convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). During the mid-day break the organization was kind enough to set me up with a table where I could sell and sign copies of One Degree. I had it priced at $10. The first purchaser walked up to me with book in hand and said, “Mr. Wittwer I am so glad you were here today with your story for my son took his life last year.”
After a year of having One Degree in the global market on Amazon, I have learned to expect this reaction to my book but it never gets any easier to hear it, certainly in the first person. After signing her book,there were forty-three others who had their own reasons for buying the book for themselves or someone dear to them. I also observed there were those who wanted the book but I felt maybe, just maybe they did not have an extra ten dollars for a book by someone unknown to them. I understand the eyes of the needy.
As I sat at home that evening, I thought about those needy faces, the emails from readers over the past year, the life changing effects One Degree was having on readers and ME! I had come too far to let money become and remain a barrier to the message of hope and help. I called Bob Strachan of BigCake Media who does our web development and Chuck Peters of Rivet Productions who handles all of the One Degree video. I informed them that we were going to GIVE the book away FREE and I needed their help to do it. Not only did I want to make the digital and audio book available for free but I also had 10,000 copies of the paperback in storage and paid for.
Over the course of the next 120 days, the One Degree team developed and tested various formats for a landing page and download strategies. It took some tweaking but we have it right now and it works great.
You and all of your connections can download for free all of the eBook reader formats including Kindle, iPad, Smartphone, pdf for any tablet or computer and the Mp3 audio book read by me at http://www.1degree.org/freebook. You can also click on the “Get Your Free Download” tab on our website. When you get the download links they are very easy to understand for the device you wish to use to read or listen to the book. By offering the book for free I have taken the “NO” out of “NO”. Even better, many One Degree readers and purchasers have bought the book to help others or to better understand people in their lives they care about. Once you subscribe to the download links you can forward the links to as many people as you want and the recipient can download anonomyously without having to subscribe . This takes the “NO” out of “NO, NO, NO”.
Stay tuned for more news on the One Degree movement. Thank you for becoming part of my life and story.
Through my book One Degree and my effort to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, I was honored this spring to be one of only nine people in the United States to be nominated for the Clifford W. Beers Award, the highest honor presented by Mental Health America, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association.
Each year, Mental Health America presents the Beers Award to a mental health consumer who best reflects the example set by Mental Health America founder Clifford W. Beers in his or her efforts to improve conditions for and attitudes toward people living with mental health conditions. The award was given to Dr. Patricia Deegan of Byfield, Massachusetts, June 10, 2011.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia in her teens, Deegan like many people receiving this diagnosis was coached to accept it as a critical part of her identity and to surrender to the disease. Out of these experiences, she developed a deep commitment to redefine the problems of illness as involving the intricate interplay of the person and the environment in which they find themselves.
She has become a formidable voice for recovery and hope, researching and lecturing on the topic and the empowerment of people diagnosed with mental illness. She is the creator of the CommonGround software program to support shared decision making in the psychopharmacology consultation. It was voted as a finalist in an international competition for Patient Empowerment by the Ashoka Changemakers Foundation and was recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a practice innovation.
Deegan is an Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth College School of Medicine and at Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Pat is also a Principle Investigator with the University Of Kansas School Of Social Welfare. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne.
I am very happy for Dr. Deegan in her selection. I am equally as proud to have been nominated, with my efforts nationally recognized by mental health professionals.
The picture in this post was taken this April at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville the night of the Jammin’ To Beat the Blues with Vince Gill and Friends. It is a little surreal to think that a year ago I attended the same concert as a patron to benefit the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee. A year later I am a national nominee with my One Degree message.
My book and its message are gaining traction both locally and nationally. The Williamson Herald newspaper ran a half page article about One Degree with color pictures of both the book cover and me in the Life section in March. The article was also featured on their homepage along with a cookbook by rock star Sheryl Crowe. Written by the Managing Editor Donna O’Neil, the article received such a positive response that it was featured a second week on the Herald homepage, Sheryl Crowe was not. One Degree is a cookbook for living a great life. Donna has now asked me to start writing a One Degree column for the newspaper. Move over Dr. Phil! Article links below.
Lazy Days, in Seffner, FL which is the largest RV dealer in the United States and possibly the world, publishes a four color quarterly magazine betteRVing that goes to 160,000 subscribers and runs online for three months. They too ran a feature article entitled Home of Last Resort, on One Degree and our mission. Full disclosure: I purchased my motorhome from them in 2001. Andy Glogower, the business manager, has seen me do it all over the last ten years and remains a good friend and supporter today.
Be sure to take a moment to read the articles. Thank you for your support.
Williamson Herald http://www.williamsonherald.com/home?id=75161
When you live in parking lots as I did, you never know what new neighbor may have moved in overnight. One day I woke up to find the Meow Mix Mobile! I wasn’t making much money at the time and honestly the thought of Meow Mix made me hungry.