As my wife and I look back at 2018, we are very grateful for how our family has turned out. Just like many others, at the end of every year we make plenty of New Year’s Resolutions; however, they usually never come to fruition. It is not that we do not try; it is because of our busy schedules and hectic lives. We have two beautiful daughters, ages nine and six. Both are involved in several activities and sports. Getting them to dance on separate evenings, dropping them off at two separate schools, picking them up from two schools, speech (our youngest has a speech delay), and Girl Scouts (Sarah and I are the leaders of their Troop) is time consuming. Not to mention the homework, fits, temper tantrums, dirty dishes, picking up the pieces from your children having a bad day at school, making lunches, making dinner, laundry, and work can be both fulfilling and draining at the same time. My wife and I also both work fulltime; therefore, it always seems that we function well as a family but rarely have time to focus on staying healthy.
My wife likes to run; although, she does not feel like she has the time to do so anymore. She used to love running and up until five years ago, held a record in the 300-meter hurdles. She has even talked about trying to eat better but struggles with finding someone to help her with where to begin. Even though I tell her constantly how beautiful she is, she talks about being physically unhappy with herself.
For the first time in my forty-one years of existence, I need to go on a diet or learn how to eat better. I was always the scrawny and skinny kid growing up. I do not know how to diet or how to eat healthy. In a few weeks, I will have my fourth back surgery (related to an injury while serving in the Army). Over the last year, my back has become progressively worse and have had to stop all exercising. Working out used to be my outlet. I am now the heaviest I have ever been. On a positive note, I quit smoking after almost thirty years. Not by choice…but because my oldest daughter caught on to what I was doing in the garage. I did not want my children learning that I smoked. I am hoping that this fourth back surgery will help to relieve some pain and allow me to begin some type of exercising again.
So…after all of my rambling above, my wife and I have outlined a few things that we would like to change in 2019.
- Spend more time with each other (Sarah and I), not just as a family
- Eat healthier (we need a lot of help in this area)
- Carve out time in the day to exercise
- Continue to give back to the community
I love my family and everything that has made us who we are today. Life has its way of twisting and turning everyone around until they forget the very foundation of how it all started. My wife and I feel that the goals we have set forth are much different from past years. Instead of placing an unrealistic number of weight to lose, we plan to eat healthier and spend more quality time together.
How do we plan to give back to the community? A couple of years ago a friend that I served with became one of the 20+ Veterans that commit suicide every day. Just months leading up to it, I spoke with him through Facebook Messenger. My wife and I were going to spend our 10thWedding Anniversary in Las Vegas. Weeks before we left, I reached out to several of my friends from the military. Since we would be close to some of them, I wanted to see if anyone would be in the area to meet up. My friend, Chris Johnson, responded; although, I never saw the message until after we returned home. He ended his life that November, only months later. I believe that he was trying to reconnect with some of his old friends…and I never saw the message in time. I think about that frequently.
Many veterans will tell you how they feel out of place after becoming a civilian again…they need a purpose, just like when they were serving. That calling came to me both after Chris’s death and from a member of our community that wanted to honor those who planned to join the Armed Forces following graduation from high school. Just this past October, the school where I teach at held its 2ndAnnual Military Appreciation Night. The purpose of the event was to show our continued support towards current military personnel, veterans, and those seniors who planned to join the military. In attendance were over thirty military and veteran organizations helping to educate the community of the services and support that each provide. One of those organizations was the Chris Johnson Veterans Revival Project, my friend who committed suicide. As the organizer and advisor of this event, it was an honor to have his organization present. Making this event successful took over one-hundred volunteers – students, teachers, my family, members of the community, and every department at our school pitched in.
Just a couple of weeks later, one of our local army recruiters contacted me to ask if Olentangy Orange High School would like to have the United States Army Golden Knights jump into one of our football games. Without the events that our school held over the last two years, this never would have been an option. Although wonderful Ohio weather prevented them from actually jumping into our stadium, they still showed up to show their support, and to hand the Superintendent the game ball.
Last April, we even started and hosted a Military Signing Day. Just like athletes who sign with their prospective colleges/universities, we wanted to do the same for our seniors who had committed to the armed forces. It was a huge success. As the organizer and advisor for this event, I made sure to have our local military and veteran organizations in attendance. Had Chris, or other veterans in need known about the countless military and veteran organizations that are available to help, they might still be around today.
I am proud to say that my support comes from my wife and two children. My oldest daughter loves to help when it comes to anything that has to do with veterans and the military. She is also one of the most patriotic people that I know. As a family and member of the community, we take great pride in continuing to help our current military personnel and their families, as well as our future fighting force.
As 2019 takes hold, we actually feel that we have attainable goals. Although it may be difficult at times to stay the course, we are committed to living a healthier lifestyle. This will show our children what it means to be good role models. We give a lot of credit to “Go Get it Life” and this challenge for getting us to sit down and talk about what we wanted to change for 2019. For that, we are very thankful. We look forward to keeping everyone updated on our progress.
Terry, Sarah, Izzie, and Maeve McDermott
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Olentangy Orange High School Military Signing Day, 2018:
Olentangy Orange High School, 2ndAnnual Military Appreciation Night, 2018