Brothers for Life
September 20th marked a very special day for a group of Carrington Associates and Veterans who converged with Israeli soldiers at Ground Zero in New York City as part of an initiative for the Brothers for Life organization. Brothers for Life focuses on a cause near and dear to CCF’s: supporting injured Veterans as they work to reclaim their lives, giving them the care and support they need as they recover and helping them achieve the personal and professional goals they set for themselves. With offices in Israel and Seattle, WA, Brothers for Life pairs returning Veterans with fellow wounded Vets who act as mentors as they are on the mend. The organization also offers programs for financial, medical and educational support. You can find more information on Brothers for Life on their website.
Michael Barrett, Director of Veterans Affairs for Carrington, and a Retired First Sergeant for the U.S. Marine Corps, helped to organize the meet-up with a Brothers for Life external relations coordinator in Israel.
“As a retired combat wounded United States Marine, I needed no inspiration to make this happen,” said Michael. “I understand the service and sacrifice between our United States and Israeli soldiers far too well.”
Joining Michael were retired U.S. Army Major Scott Smiley, retired U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Bobby Farmer, retired U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant and CCF Ambassador John Masson, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brian Kolfage and retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Frazier. CCF was represented by Ido Dotan, whose brother is a Navy Officer currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and Rob Brown, a former U.S. Army Ranger, Sergeant First Class. Tony Cameron and Donny Djurkovic volunteered as drivers.
The group toured the 9/11 Memorial Museum along with Israeli soldiers, then shared lunch at the U.S. Special Forces Memorial Statue next to the Memorial Pools. The experience was both powerful and healing. “We gathered for a private meeting, soldier to soldier, where we shared personal stories of service and sacrifice,” said Michael. “We were able to get to know one another personally and gain insight on our military service, being wounded and how all of us have dealt with and positively overcome the hardships combat presents.”
As the day came to an end, the soldiers exchanged country flags and paused for a moment of silence to honor their fallen brethren, as well as those who continue to fight for their country’s respective freedoms today. The flag that was presented to Michael was flown over his platoon’s memorial during his second deployment to Iraq in 2006. Says Michael, “It was very special to me, and I wanted to give to our brothers from Israeli as a symbol of our equal sacrifice in defense of freedom and a better way of life.”
Michael says it was an emotional day for everyone present, “The events of 9/11 were a catalyst to every U.S. military service member going to war, and it was a day of mutual reflection and remembrance between both groups.” Michael told us of the unspoken respect and admiration that was shared between the soldiers, and how each soldier approached the day with both professionalism and heartfelt dedication for what they’d experienced in the name of protecting their respective countries.
“It was an honor to share in this day and will be considered an opportunity of a lifetime − personally, mentally, spiritually and emotionally on both sides,” Michael notes. “Nothing can make a greater impact on the life of a warrior than one who has endured and walked that very same path.”
We’re honored that our Carrington Associates and extended Carrington family took part in such a special day, and thank them for sharing that experience with us!
There were solemn moments as Carrington Associates gathered with American and Israeli Veterans at Ground Zero in New York City.