"Everything went black." General Maney, U.S. Army (Retired), describes as his vehicle was blown up in a road bomb while serving in Afghanistan, becoming the highest ranking officer in the war to be injured then.
"Here Gen. Maney was — brain injured, but still so determined to get the medical unit for the street kids in Afghanistan," she said. "Those kids inspired him to keep trying, and he inspired me." -Ms. Peggy Murray, Humanitarian Assistance officer at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, FL.
Tampa Bay Times: Sent home after injury, an Army Reserve general still helps Afghan schoolchildren.
He narrowly escaped death. His recovery was long, but his will to serve even longer. He has not forgotten the faces of the children in a refugee camp, shivering.
WHY WORK AROUND THE WORLD?
Perhaps this article best describes why I continue to work internationally. When you see an abundance of resources in one area of the world, and other areas where kids go to school with one shoe (in the snow) - it's an imbalance.
It's not about "do good" "feel good" work. It's a responsibility I see to our global community. There are others who feel this way, too. Their actions and compassion speak volumes. For example:
General Maney, former Deputy Commander U.S. Army Civil Affairs and his wife, Caroline.
General Meyers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his wife, Mary Jo.
General Bradley, former Commander U.S. Air Force Reserve Command and his wife, Jan.
Collectively, they inspire and touch children's lives in places like Afghanistan.
They have seen the need(s) and have taken action to help through their individual foundations, projects, and initiatives.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
On a small scale, it's personal. General Maney and his wife Caroline have been dear friends to me for over 15 years. When you watch the local Channel 3 WEAR news in Pensacola, FL and see this long time friend being described in the news that he has been blown up in a road bomb, suffering traumatic brain injury, - you don't forget that moment. Then, on CNN and other announcing his injuries and becoming the highest ranking officer to be injured in the war at the time
I know what I saw and felt. I can't imagine what his family felt. Or any of the others who go through the horrific aspect of war.
Internationally, I had already been working with humanitarian assistance projects in which General Many oversaw as Deputy Commander for U.S. Army Civil Affairs Command at Ft. Bragg, NC.
On a global scale, we're part of a larger world. We can safely stay removed from children and families in other places. Yet, with the current news of Aleppo, Syria or the kids in the refugee camps in Afghanistan or 100+ villages in mountains of Haiti that face food insecurity - it becomes more clear and connected to our tv, computer, and phone screens as stories reach around the world.
Diplomacy is the world that comes to mind when I think of the Generals, their wives, and others like them. The relationships built over years and genuine concern - put forth into action - remains in the hearts and minds of those at the receiving end.
I've witnessed this.
Especially, in young children.
For this reason, it's likely I'll continue to always stay involved in the global community and international development. Ms. Murray says it best in the article: "Those kids inspired him to keep trying, and he inspired me."
General Maney should inspire many.