The Battle Tested Blog is an inspiring, educational, uplifting, and motivational tool the CJ Stewart Foundation uses to encourage all that finds their way to our page. It was not by accident that you are reading this. The CJ Stewart Foundation uses many avenues to help reach people, particularly youth, but we never want to forget that we have a great opportunity and platform to help inspire all that we come into contact with. That’s where this Blog comes into play, it will be filled with information with one target in mind, YOU! Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you’ve been through, we want to make sure you leave this site for the better! Something to remember, you either give something or take something from everyone you come into contact with. After having stopped by this page, we hope you leave differently. We hope you leave with a reminder of what’s really important in this life!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Sunday, August 9, 2015
A PAINTBALL COURSE
Our newly constructed paintball course consists of two buildings with multiple rooms, several fighting positions and two fortified bases. Down Range now has two sites for groups to choose from to play in and several options of scenarios they can choose to participate in. Down Range staff will also provide not only safety training and demonstrations, but will also facilitate tactical training and education for teams before they lock and load.
At Down Range, we don't just "play" paintball where everyone gets a gun, 250 paintballs, and goes wild shooting everything. We are unique in the fact that we always provide scenarios (recreate real life events such as Black Hawk Down, The Alamo, or Op Red Wings) that involve strategy, mission planning, role assignments, and proper execution, which is always harder when someone is shooting at you - even if it's just paintballs.
We are also having a fundraiser to celebrate the addition of the paintball course! We are going to construct a sign located on the paintball course that will provide an awesome visual of Down Range's community support. In addition, we are also providing two raffles for a chance to come out with friends and personally experience the paintball course! This fundraiser begins now and will end on Labor Day. (29 Days)
Here are the details!
Below is an example of what the sign will look like (size and color of actual sign may vary).
We will use the photographed sign to keep track of our progress. Once the fundraiser is over, we will use this sign to guide the construction of the actual sign on the paintball course.
The words "Down Range" and the border are divided into 250 sections. There are two options for participating in this fundraiser.
There are 100 sections in the words "Down Range." When you donate $100 to the CJ Stewart Foundation we will write your name and hometown in one of these sections. Your name will be on the actual sign located on the paintball course! We will also enter your name in a chance to win our $100 raffle. The lucky winner will receive a 4 hour rental of the paintball course for up to 16 players. This is a value of $760.
There are 150 sections that make up the border on the sign. When you donate $50 to the CJ Stewart Foundation we will write your name and hometown in one of those sections. Again, your name will be transferred onto the actual sign once it is constructed! We will also enter your name in a chance to win our $50 raffle. This includes a 4 hour rental of the paintball course for up to 8 players. This is a value of $405.
The winners of the two raffles will be drawn on September 10th.
After the fundraiser ends, we will begin construction of the sign for the paintball course! Until then, we will keep you updated on our progress!! Please share this post on your social media page to help us spread the word!
How can I make my donation?
We recommend you use https://cjstewart.thedonortree.com/donate
This is the fastest and easiest way to donate!
Or you can send a check to:
CJ Stewart Foundation
P.O. Box 739
Clinton, MS 39060
Please clarify on your check that your donation is for the paintball fundraiser. This will help with tax deduction forms.
1) donate $50, $100 or more
2) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the correct spelling of the names and hometown you desire to be written on the sign (please include your donation amount for clarity).
John and Mary Smith
3) share this fundraiser on social media
1) Can I choose which section I want my name written in?
Yes! You can choose as long as that section has not already been chosen by another donor and as long as the $50 donations are in the border and $100 donations are written in the words "Down Range."
2) What happens if I want to donate for more than one section?
If the sections are next to each other, we can write you name larger to fill up all the sections you donate for. We will also put your name in the raffle for each section you donate for.
3) What if I want to donate and have my name written on the sign, but don't necessarily want to play paintball?
You can do one of two things:
You can notify us that you want your name removed from the raffle. Or you can simply gift the day of paintball to someone else if you were to win the drawing.
4) How long will my name remain on the sign?
We cannot specify exact longevity of the sign, but we can say this... "We have no intention of taking this sign down for a very long time."
5) Who do I contact if I don't win the raffle but still want to come out and play paintball?
Please visit our website www.cjstewart.organd sign up there!
6) If I win the raffle, how do I schedule my day to play paintball?
The winner of the raffles can email C.J. at email@example.com to schedule their day for paintball. We are open on weekdays and weekends. We will do our best to coordinate a time that works well for both you and the camp.
7) Can I reserve sections on the sign?
Unfortunately no reservations can be made without payment. Once your donation is received, we can then proceed with specific sections on the sign.
8) Is my donation tax deductible?
9) Who can I communicate with if I have any further questions about this fundraiser?
Please feel free to communicate with Abby Blackburn regarding this fundraiser. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
This Christmas was a wonderful one! The Stewart family visited NYC, Danielle and I got to spend a week in Massachusetts, and my favorite holiday did not cut me short on friends, food, family, and laughter. We did a lot of different things: visited the Statue of Liberty, Christmas Eve service, played multiple Yankee Swaps (that's dirty Santa for my southern folk), and ate incredible meals in both NYC and Boston. But the one stop early in the trip I just cannot get away from was our visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan.
I've actually had the honor (look up the actual definition of that word) of being on that hollowed ground previously, but this was the first time I got to visit the musuem itself and see the freedom tower and reflecting pools completed. It alone is well worth a trip to NYC.
My whole life, I've been a fan of the Statue of Liberty and what it means, truly a symbol of freedom for all of the world to see. I've admired the fact that for millions, yes millions, seeing that symbol as they passed Liberty Island and entered Ellis Island meant one thing for sure: they have arrived in the land of opportunity. The United States of America will never hold a title more deserving than simply being a place where men and women can live a life worthy of what they put into it. You're not owed anything else here. Not free housing, food, happiness, internet, or education, but merely the opportunity to freely make of your life what you wish. The picture below is of Ellis Island and Lower Manhattan taken from the Statue of Liberty.
How awestruck the immigrants must have been years ago, because it still is so powerful to think about in the 21st Century. But the "Mother of the Exiles" used to be the symbol of freedom, liberty, opportunity, and the core of this country that I love. That was until a Tuesday morning in September, 13 years ago when my world changed.
I've officially lived longer in the post 9/11 era than I have lived before it, so I take for granted the way of life that has changed drastically for us. So for me, the symbol of this country at its greatest is still in New York City, it's just at the site of the terrorist attacks on September the 11th, 2001. The values that America were founded on are constantly in debate as being relevant today, or even being correct. That is, until a moment like that fateful day in September. It was in that moment of pain, hurt, weakness, and utter brokenness that true oneness was displayed by all humankind within these borders. I can't help but think that one day I'll get to take my kids there and tell them that this is where America's stand against terrorism started. I want them to know that the suffering experienced on that piece of ground was more than enough for over 3 million service members to voluntarily go into harms way and fight evil face-to-face in the name of humanity.
Ground Zero will forever be the new millennium's starting point to understanding the modern perspective of freedom and duty that we have as free Americans to not only our brothers and sister here, but all over the world. All of those thoughts run wild when I'm standing on the streets of Manhattan looking at areas such as the reflection pools, which stand where the North and South Towers of the WTC used to be as seen below.
It's was while looking over the names engraved here that I glanced down at my right arm, which has been exposed to so much personal pain and suffering physically and I thought, "Yeah, it was worth it!" I don't need reminders and confirmation of much, but when I think of all the families that are forever changed because of 9/11, I will gladly endure a lifetime of pain to prevent others from sharing in the suffering of innocence being lost by evil acts.
The prevailing thought I continue to have was about my brothers in the 101st Airborne, and all the Warfighters who have looked evil in the eye and stood face to face with the worst this world has to offer. I couldn't help but think of how different the backgrounds are of the guys that are currently serving in Bravo Company, as they were in my time, and my predecessors in Normandy, France. I thought of how vast the reasons and motivations were for each man that enlisted and in fact, remembered a quote I love from a veteran-run organization, "Men go to war for adventure and patriotism, but they stay and go back for their buddies."
It's true, everyone has a reason for doing what they do, whether they know it or not is irrelevant. But what every soldier who has ever fought in combat has in common is this: every single one's conviction for duty began in the same place, their heart!! And for thousands, in fact I'd say hundreds of thousands, the journey to the hearts of so many began on that sacred ground. It is true, the big principles and beliefs are often overlooked or forgotten in the daily details, especially in war, but in the presence of great sadness, brokenness, and pain, I am thankful there was opportunity for triumph of good over evil!
A humbling reminder is usually needed from time to time when one lives in a place of such opportunity and privilege as we do! My hope and encouragement is that you would not only remember what happened on 9/11, but also that you would see what this war truly is- good vs evil! And though we may have the luxury of our own, differing opinions of this war's basis and need, we are not privileged to our own facts, one of which is a famous quote by Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Thank you 21st Century Warfighters that have made me proud to show my scars and tell my story to the world. One of which is proof that there are still men ready to travel the world to protect this land from our enemies and free people from oppression regardless of who they are. For that, I'm Proud I get to stand on sacred ground and think not only about my heart, but of the ones that I got to share my journey with! It is their hearts, along with the ones lost on that day, that serve as the modern-day symbol that freedom will always come with a price tag.