Tag Archives: Gratitude

In the Arena

Romy & Gaby

My dear friend Romy and his team at SIS recently celebrated their one year anniversary at the end of June of opening the doors to their spinal cord rehab center.  I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and dedication that he and the whole crew have put into this place.  Truly an example of what it means to be In the Arena. Congrats, Romy!

 

“Chief” as he is often called has a clothed covered hole in his throat-from the emergency tracheotomy performed by his teammate in 2008 during an ambush while serving in Afghanistan.

The scar will forever remain on his neck where the bullet entered shattering his cervical spine and rendering him a quadriplegic.

One may think that after spending almost two years in the VA hospital in critical condition  with a spinal cord injury  that it would prevent or deter him from serving others and bettering himself. They’d be wrong.

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My  dear friend Romy is defying the odds- He was told he would never breathe on his own; however with intensive  respiratory therapy, he now is able to breathe on his own for most of the day.  He was told he would never be able to move any of his limbs below the shoulder.  Romy has now been able to move his left arm a handful of times. Progress…

 

“They told me I wouldn’t be able to do anything, so I showed them I could.”

When I first met Romy in early 2009, he was still an inpatient at the hospital.   I was so deeply moved by his strength and that of his wife Gaby in remaining so positive despite the overwhelming, and unfathomable challenges that they were facing and would continue to endure.

In the Arena 1

As was the case many times before, I had invited veterans to come into the schools where I taught to share their personal stories with our students. It is a lesson of a lifetime that no teacher could possibly convey better than a veteran- a lesson in sacrifice, and service above self.  A moment to connect a child, a teen with someone who has given them the ultimate gift- one of freedom and the opportunity to chase their dreams.

On the day  I met Romy, I knew he would be the next veteran I would bring to the school.  And so, just before Veterans Day in 2009 while still an inpatient, Romy along with his amazing wife and medical team, drove three hours to give his first public talk since his accident.  He spoke to over a thousand students, faculty, and community members who were there to honor him and his service to our country.  His message was clear:

“You can all keep fighting”

Romy  continues to speak to students, and organizations throughout the country.

Inspiring others.

Upon his discharge from the VA hospital, he began another difficult challenge; that of intense physical therapy.  If/when the time comes that Romy  regains use of his arms and legs, he is going to be darn sure that his body is as healthy as he can get it.  While traveling great distances for ongoing therapy not available in his hometown, he and his wife began to create a new dream of opening a spinal cord injury rehabilitation center for veterans and civilians alike.

In June of 2015 after more than a year of hard work , with loyal supporters and tremendous Faith,  Romy defied the odds once again.  He and Gaby opened the doors to Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center to assist other SCI patients in receiving the best quality care possible.

“Go home and tell your children that dreams do come true”

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Chief Warrant Officer 3 Romy Camargo retired last year from active duty after serving his country for twenty years in the United States Army. He served with the 75th Ranger Regiment and 7th Special Forces Group as a Green Beret.  He was awarded the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters,  and Purple Heart along with numerous other well earned badges, medals and tabs.

His story “Live to Tell” will be featured on the History Channel in November on or before Veterans Day.

What I know to be true of this soldier, husband, father , business owner and community leader is that he continues to live and breathe the Core Values of the United States Army:

Loyalty – Duty  -Respect-  Selfless Service-  Honor-  Integrity-  Personal Courage.

He epitomizes  Courage, Leadership and Purpose and what it means to be In the Arena.  This blog site is for him and every other individual who dares greatly  in overcoming their fears, grief and obstacles to live their best life.

Chief Romy

DOL

 

 

 

 

How the Mentally Strong Handle Hard Times

With recent MRI results coming back on my son, we were disappointed to say the least.  It takes a few days to process the possibility of him having brain surgery for the second time.  What he and I  won’t do however, is sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and do nothing.  We have come to understand that there are certain characteristics that most or all mentally strong people utilize when hard times fall their way.

 1.  They focus on what they can control -even if it’s just their attitude in approaching a difficult situation

 2. They create a course of action-they figure out what the possible solutions are and get to work on what they need to do. They keep moving!

 3.  They practice gratitude-morning|noon|night-it’s tough to see the rainbow through the clouds so they look closer at the small things around them that they are grateful for such as taking a walk with their dog, a call from a distant friend.

4.   They evaluate their priorities-while experiencing loss and hardships, one must always remember as Stephen Covey calls them, the big rocksbig-rocks or what is most important in their lives; it may be their health, family, job etc… take care of the big rocks.

5.  They draw on their inner strength-they remain committed to having a positive outlook and staying the course til the storm calms no matter how long this may take.

It is often in the worst of times that we discover the scars we have endured are  our strengths| the miles we’ve run are our determination to never quit| the difficult situations we face are opportunities to find the positives| and walking through our fears is how we develop the courage to carry on~

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