April 10, 2017

Project 22 Unites Veterans to Work Towards Marijuana Policy Reform

April 10, 2017
project 22

Project 22 is a joint collaboration from The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) with state chapters from Missouri and Colorado.

Project 22 will fly veterans from Missouri into Colorado to attend the ‘Inaugural Institute of Cannabis Research Conference’ being held at Pueblo University to learn about the benefits of medical cannabis from researchers, doctors, and scientists like Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Dr. Sue Sisley, Dr. Carl Hart, and others!

The Project 22 experience will be recorded as a documentary and shared in the 22 states that still do not have medical cannabis so that others may share in the experience and learn, along with these combat veterans, how cannabis therapy alleviates the mental illness symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) among other uses.

On April 29th 2017 at 4:30p.m. ‘The Project 22 Summit & Ceremony’ will take place at Pueblo University on the Veteran Memorial grounds during a planned break of the Inaugural Cannabis Research Conference. 22 bagpipers will join us in playing ‘Taps’ as well as a few speakers. We will box up every pill bottle and deliver them to the white house steps following the conference.

We are calling for veterans, their families, and friends from all over the U.S. to join us in a ceremony to bring to light the epidemic that is ravaging our veterans. This year over 8000+ veterans will complete suicide; 22 a day, every day. Help us shine some light on this issue and help us start saving lives today.
If you can’t make it you can still help! Send us your empty pill bottles for the summit that we will deliver to the White House steps following the ceremony. Feel free to put a note in them! Or light your own candles at home & post on social media with the hashtag #Project22 on 4/29/17.

Send them to:
Care of Professor Tim McGettigan
Dept. of Sociology
2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001

project 22 veteran
Project 22 Veteran #1: Commander Thomas W. Mundell
Commander Mundell is a former member of the United States Army. He served two combat tours in Vietnam as an Aero Scout Gunner on Hunter/Killer Assault Teams performing Search and Destroy Operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and later throughout the World. He was shot down eleven times during his Military and Civilian career.

During his military career he received the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Air Medal for Valor, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, four Purple Hearts, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Air Crew member Wings and Parachutist Wings. He served with the 135th Assault Helicopter Company, 335th Assault Helicopter Company, A Trp, 2/17 CAV, 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Special Forces Group during his military career.

Since his military career, he served with numerous Civilian and Department of Defense companies in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Africa, and South America and was an Attack Helicopter Senior Combat Technical Instructor for Bell Helicopter International. Returning to St. Louis, he transitioned to McDonnell Douglas and became a Senior Product Service Training Instructor on the F-15 and F-18 Fighter Aircraft. He then became a Senior Training Instructor for Flight Safety International. Later he became CEO of Tactical Self-Defense and Combat Aviation Systems.

He is presently the Past State Commander for the Department of Missouri, Veterans of Foreign Wars and was recently elected as the Chairman of MAVO (Missouri Association of Veteran Organizations) and is Chairman of the Board For the 501-C3 Missouri Veterans Foundation.

CERT Commander
International Fugitive Apprehension
POW-MIA Search & Awareness
Hostage crisis and negotiations
Military & Law Enforcement Training
International Weapons and Tactics Instructor
Humanitarian War Zone Infrastructure Development
Veteran benefits advisor & Public Speaker
Catastrophically Injured Veteran Mentor

Project 22 Veteran #2 Jeff Mizanskey

Jeff served active duty in the Air Force from 1971-1975 & inactive until 1977. But most people know Jeff from his time in the press after Show-Me Cannabis and NORML helped Jeff get pardoned from serving a life sentence without parole for 3 cannabis offenses. Now he joins us to learn how cannabis can save lives.

Project 22 Veteran #3: Mike Oldham

Mike served in the US Army for 20 active federal service years of December 1975 to December 1997 retiring as LTC Medical Service Corps. He currently serves as Chaplain of the AmVets Post 181.
His initial interest stems from his brother-in-law, who was a US Marine Corps corporal on the front lines in Vietnam, after watching him suffer while trying to find relief for his PTSD. His accounts led Mike to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and gave him a passion to help those with PTSD. On a personal level he is hoping to learn more about how cannabis interacts with brain functions to better understand his recent diagnosis of epileptic seizure disorder.

Project 22 Veteran #4: Chris Wolfenbarger
Chris was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up in Independence, MO until his parents moved to Lake Lotawana, a 750 acre lake southeast of Kansas City. This is where he truly developed his love of the outdoors. He spent every day he could on and around the water. He also excelled as a Boy Scout, eventually earning his Eagle Scout. His scouting experience helped guide his love and respect for the beauty of nature. Scouting developed his teamwork and leadership skills that he uses to this day.
Chris went to college at Central Missouri State University in 1987. He was an active member in his fraternity, Sigma Nu. It was during his fraternity days that he met his best friend and business partner Jason Ormiston. He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. After college he worked as an Outdoor Sales Representative for several years before being recruited by Jason to become an appraiser.

Chris is now a 45 year old father of three children. His wife’s name is Leah Sword and his children are Christian Sword, 16, Morgan Sword, 13, and Madison Wolfenbarger, 9. Appraising has proven to be his calling and he has been a successful Certified Residential Appraiser for the past 16 years.

As a true Patriot, he joined the National Guard in 2006, during two wars. Volumes can be spoken of his passion and determination simply because he volunteered to serve at age 38, when most service members are retiring. Chris joined to serve both worldwide on behalf of our Nation and also to assist relief efforts for stateside disasters. In order to better aid warriors and others in need, Chris joined the military to be a medic. Due to his outstanding abilities, he was asked to teach a combat lifesaver course to the 1141st Engineer Company before they deployed to war. His knowledge and his willingness to serve spoke for itself. It was at that time, he was asked to transfer to the unit before their deployment to Eastern Afghanistan.

Chris deployed with 1141st Engineer Company in 2009. He was one of only seven medics. The mission of the Company was route clearance, and it was extremely dangerous. The unit knew that almost every time they left the base, they would encounter an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Because every IED is meant to maim, destroy or kill, the company would not leave the base to conduct a mission without one of their medics.

As the Company searched and found IEDs, injuries–often several–would happen. Chris often had to treat the injured outside the vehicle which left him exposed to the enemy. There were many times that he had to provide aid while under fire or on uncleared portions of route. Chris was recognized many times by the Army for his service, but the award that he prizes above all others is the Combat Medic Badge awarded for treating the wounded while engaged with the enemy.

On February 12, 2010 while on a routine mission, the Company convoy approached a civilian vehicle. The Route Clearance Buffalo that he was riding in pulled up next to the vehicle to tell them to move out of the danger zone. Chris was looking into the eyes of a young man when he detonated the Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device or SVBIED. It was on that day that Chris and all the other warriors in the vehicle were wounded. The entire event was captured by the enemy to use as propaganda. The video can be seen at https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1d9_1269002798.

Nothing is known about the first attack, but his is the second attack and starts at 1:18. The young man featured in the end of the video is the suicide bomber.

Chris was treated in country and finished his deployment. He was medically retired from service for combat wounds on Oct. 23rd, 2013. After his deployment he went back to appraising full time, but now his wife assists him. Leah left a successful career to help him better complete tasks that he once handled on his own.

Longing to get back to the outdoors and hoping to find the peace that it once held for him, Chris took his son and went on a sponsored warrior duck hunt. This was his first opportunity to duck hunt and he loved it. Fatefully, Chris met Ronny Sweger on that event. They bonded immediately. During his deployment to Afghanistan, Chris had even been at the base that Ronny and his team had secured and built in 2002. A relationship kindled through a simple outdoor adventure, Chris and Ronny have grown to be great friends.

Chris describes his military experience as “a normal American that served.” This perspective allows him to bridge the gap between the civilian patriots that want to support our military and the service members at large. His service has given him a first hand look at what the Special Operations community does for our Nation and our world. He has also seen daring acts of valor in combat. Chris has also endured, along with his warrior brothers, the repercussions of being wounded. After seeing these Exceptional Warriors at work in areas of the world that had been totally devastated by centuries of conflict, there was no way he could sit idly by when these true heroes needed the support that was extremely lacking.

In order to fill this crack in the dam before it burst, Chris encouraged his friend Ronny to found The Foundation for Exceptional Warriors, or “The FEW”. To better and directly support The FEW, Chris became an associate of The FEW in 2012. Due to his unparalleled work for The FEW he was asked and became a Senior Associate.
Chris has excelled as a Senior Associate on behalf of The FEW by constantly raising awareness for The FEW’s mission. He has been a guest on several radio and TV shows and spoken to many civic groups raising funds and awareness for the mission. He has solely coordinated and conducted many successful events for The FEW.
Due to his dedication and passion for the mission, Chris was asked to be on The FEW’s Board of Directors in 2014. Chris is both humbled and proud to be involved with The FEW and assist the world finest, America’s Exceptional Warriors.

Project 22 Veteran #5: Commander Christine Dare

Christine Dare hales from the great state of Wisconsin, where her vision of a military career in the Marines began to form. Christine knew that someday, she would be defending the country she so loved and wanted to give back of herself. As her high school years came to an end, her next step would be to enlist in the Marines. By the summer of 1983, Christine found herself in Parris Island, South Carolina, becoming the outstanding Marine that she is.

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii was Christine’s first duty station, and this is when she met the love of her life, Douglas Dare, who was also a Midwestern that had a dream of serving our country.
Over the years, Chris found herself stationed at various bases throughout the United States, and supporting campaigns in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 and Alasaad, Iraq in 2006. Where ever she went Christine would make lifelong connections. These connections have served her well in her civilian life and as they say, “Once a Marine…Always a Marine!”

Upon retiring, Christine knew that it was time for her family. She and Doug managed to raise three wonderful children that accepted that both of their parents made a commitment to protect and defend the Constitution, but that also deserved to have both of their parents’ home. After proudly serving 24 years in the Marines, Christine felt it was time to retire. Her years of service placed her in a unique situation and made the next transition easy for her. She had the experience of a service member and related to those that felt they had lost their voice. She knew that she couldn’t just sit by and not help.

In the fall of 2012, her and her husband Doug, who by this time had also retired from the Marines, decided to join AMVETS Post 181, based in Kansas City, Missouri. Christine jumped right in, helping where she could and supporting those that needed help. Her and Doug campaigned many events with Post 181 that supported all service members within the Kansas City region. Their endeavors have allowed them to acquire Track Chairs for use by disabled veterans to be more mobile and enjoy the outdoors.

In April 2016, Christine was nominated for Commander of Post 181, and was elected Commander in May of 2016. During her time as post commander, Christine has been able to continue with traditions that have led her post in positive directions and saw donations in excess of over $42,000, which allowed them to purchase three more tank chairs. Her commitment to veterans and her community is beyond commendable. In June 2016, Christine completed 50 hours of specialized training and counseling to become a Hometown Support Volunteer with H.E.R.O.E.S Care, Inc. H.E.R.O.E.S (Home front Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowerment through Support) Care supports military families and service members before, during and after deployments.
During the summer, Christine enjoys camping with her husband of 33 years and spending time with her family that has grown by three amazing grandsons. Not only is it obvious the love she show her family and friends, but you can see it when she is able to help her fellow brother or sister in arms. Her dedication and commitment to others is definitely something we should all strive to accomplish.

These are the first 5 of the 22 to come along on this documentary and educational experience. We salute these veterans for having the courage to explore all options to help reduce the epidemic that is ravaging their community.

We are still seeking sponsorships!

NORML’s Project 22 is ready to accept your tax-deductible contribution as it will directly benefit in the education and eventual overall legalization of cannabis.
Project 22 will add your name to our event banner and merchandise. The Project 22 banner will proudly display sponsors’ names at all events and during interviews, advertising YOUR COMPANY throughout the documentary that will be played in states yet to legalize!
These veterans thank you very much for your support!  Learn more about how to be involved here.

Contact: [email protected]


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