I was pretty much raised in a conservative household. At the minimum I can say that is where I learned my core values. I grew with the times though. I realized things in societies change. I was taught not to judge others. It was just part of my belief system. At school then later on around “the water cooler” at work I could talk politics, current events and the way things were going in this country with “the other side”. At the end of those conversations we would generally agree to disagree.
Then something started happening. I can’t put an exact timestamp on when. Slowly our country started becoming polarized. The days of the president and majority leader or speaker having a beer together after battling it out on the chamber floor seemed long gone. The agreeing to disagree wasn’t happening anymore. I can for sure say with the left having total control in Washington nine years ago then control only over the
executive branch after the mid-terms, things definitely worsened. A lot of laws and policies were passed that slid us too far to the left. Our foreign policy started making us appear as anything but the leaders of the free world. The United States started becoming a joke on the world stage. We became soft as a nation, internally and externally. We became a nation wherein the harder you worked to better your own lot the more was taken from you and given to those unwilling to even try and find work. You’re birthright simply for being born here was entitlement. Most of all I felt our Bill of Rights was beginning to be trampled upon.
In December of 2015 I had a coronary event that put me in the hospital for a week. Work hard play hard was always my MO. Single dad, I was raising two kids on my own. I never took time to act on my views with the exception of voting. I laid there for the first time in a long time to actually have time to think about my own mortality. I thought about the future of our country and what it holds for my children and their children. That and I thought about what was going to be and where I was going to place my first patriotic tattoo (and second, and third). I decided it was time to get involved. I did a bit of research on the different patriot groups. The ideals on what the Three Percenter movement were based on seemed to strike a tone.
So I narrowed it down to the former group we were in. They didn’t seem the over the top, guns blazin’, shoot first train in the mud every other weekend type of folk. They welcomed all types. It didn’t matter your race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or anything. Believing in the founding principles of this country and being prepared to defend them were really the only qualifications. That is what I was looking for. So I signed up.
I answered a few vetting questions and shortly thereafter, bam, I was an official Facebook member of the Three Percenters Ohio. A week or so later the district lead sent me a welcoming e-mail. A month went by, then another with no activity whatsoever. I reached out to see what was happening and a gentleman by the name of Tim McDonald reached out to me. He told me the page had been hijacked by another patriot group and that he would check into my status. Within a day a guy by the name of Bob Farthing contacted me and talked to me about what was going on within the group. He introduced me to the district lead. He set up a zone shoot at a local conversation club in April. The following month he invited me to the first official state FTX.
I attended that first state FTX in early May of this year. All told there were seven of us. I wouldn’t call it a life changing event but it was one that I will never forget. I learned so many things that weekend from those other six people; people from all walks of life. Sure I learned some basic survival skills. I learned how to start a fire without matches or a lighter. I learned how to read topographical maps and proper use of a compass. I learned proper aiming and rifle marksmanship skills with my AR. I definitely learned in no uncertain terms that there is no such thing as a firing pin that is too clean. That was the minimal stuff I learned. I don’t believe it topped forty degrees that first weekend in May. The rain was coming down sideways most of the time. That didn’t stop us from getting done what we had set out to do.
At the end of those long wet days we sat around the campfire. We learned a little bit about each other. I learned about the sacrifices most of the others present made to help protect my rights and freedoms while serving in the different branches of our military. We talked about their military experiences in general. It was quite humbling from where I sat ,having never served. We talked about everything we thought was wrong with this great country of ours. We talked about what we would do to fix it. And we laughed. We laughed a lot. Camaraderie was had. Bonds were built that will last a lifetime. Friendships were made that will last forever. And it was out of that FTX that the legend of Junior was born. But that folks, is another lengthy story for another lengthy blog.
I left that FTX with somewhat of a renewed purpose. I think we all did. I knew I couldn’t wait to get together again. I had found out that weekend that although we had 800 Facebook members that we were basically a fledgling group. The new state leadership had been formed just a few months prior. We were all determined to make this thing grow.
And grow it we did. Several vacant leadership positions were filled. Those leaders recruited. Vetting staff was added. Vetting processes were improved to make sure we grew with active participants and not just Facebook warriors. District and zone meet and greets and other activities started happening. It was a busy summer and fall. In August we had nearly thirty people at the “Ready, Aim, Barbecue” gun/archery range and picnic event at Deer Creek. And at the October FTX we had forty-five in attendance back at Delaware State Park. In five short months our attendance between the two FTX’s grew 6 ½ times in size.
It was sometime during this period that we started hearing things about our national leadership. The leader said we could not as a state go help another state following a natural disaster. Our national leader said that we could not purge our own rosters of inactive members. That may reduce our artificially inflated numbers. Our national leader told us to not attend statue removal protests one day then the next day surround and protect the statues but not to present arms if provoked. Mixed signals to our members were confusing. Nationally we came off as wishy-washy. Our national leader said we could not raise our own funds to pay for our own training, equipment, events and land. That would take away from purchases directly from his website where the funds were dispersed directly into his pocket. We realized we had become part of something now whose ideals had changed into the very things we were rallying against in the first place. We had no sovereignty. We had no say in charting our own course.
It was at that October FTX, coincidentally again under extreme weather conditions that all present unanimously voted to “cede from the union”. With a lot of calculation, research, hard work and long hours by several people smarter than I we did exactly just that. And what a shit storm it created around November 5th. Good time, good times.
So that brings us to where we are today. We have our freedom to chart our own course. We can go help out other states in need. We can be selective in choosing participative members and removing members for non-participation. After all that is what we are about, right, action? We can raise our own funds to provide for the items we want and need rather than funding it out of our own pockets or lining someone else’s. To that end we have formed a non-profit 501c corporation. We have a chance to make this something truly, truly great.
I know it seems like there has been a lot of talk about money lately. Buy a raffle ticket here, making a donation there. Support a Toys- For-Tots drive. On top of that it’s the holidays. I know some of us are less fortunate than others and some even less fortunate than that. Truth be told, if you have one choice to make this Christmas season I’d rather you give to Toys-For–Tots. That is who we really are. Or go spend some time visiting a VA hospital or care facility this season. Most of you know that time spent with someone in pain or lonely is a much more valuable present than any monetary gift; especially this time of year. There will be more raffles and the donation center is open 24/7/365.
And you are not in this alone. These raffles and donations, along with the upcoming company store are and will be open to the public. If you can’t buy a ticket this time around spread the word. Spread it on social media. Spread the word about what a great organization with purpose you belong to. Recruit fellow members like yourself. Help your district, zone and state grow. Become active. Stay involved. Your time and talents are precious. That is the best donation you can give to your group.
I’d like to thank everyone for being a member of this great and growing group and look forward to meeting each and every one of you at one of our upcoming events; be it my neck of the woods or yours. I’m hoping you have a very happy holiday season and may God bless you!.
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Heartland Defenders Council
President: Mike Cosper
Commissioner: Jacob Upperman
Administrative Assistant :
Treasure: Shaylee Galliher
VP Media Affairs: Jeremy Myers
VP Council Security: Mike Ehman
VP Business Affairs: Dolly Huff