The Women we need

By March 8, 2017Double Shot

March 8th is International Women’s Day. The past year, I have had the honor to stir the pot with some fantastic, smart, and strong women whose very existence defines the word resilience. We felt it necessary to call them out in this week’s Double Shot!

 

One year ago yesterday, I met Mrs. Alexandra McClintock @alexandra_mcclintock at her husband’s internment in Arlington, Va. I did not know Matt; personally, he joined my unit shortly after I was promoted out. His deployment was the one I had been waiting and training for. As illogical as it is, I felt an immense weight of survivor guilt at his internment. I know my presence would not have changed anything, yet, I still had the crushing feeling that I should have been there.

Allie, myself and a couple others doing what we do!

Allie, myself and a couple fans doing what we do at the Military Appreciation Presidential Inaugeration Ball (Allie has assured us that this is NOT duck face…it is a THUG face)

I introduced myself to Allie and offered the usual “if there is anything I can do…”

A month later, I was dog and house sitting while she had a much-needed escape from the world. We’ve become close friends, who can tell each other anything with more candor than anyone but us is comfortable with. Some say the truth hurts, but when your world has been ripped apart, it’s more of a pinprick. I’ve seen Allie pick herself up from the ashes of a scorched human and with the support of family and an amazing Gold Star network, make herself bulletproof and the epitome of a strong-willed woman, who is ready to help others. {She deserves an award for the hospitality she shows to wayward traveling miscreants such as myself and JT with a room and hot chow when we pass through}. Matthew Q McClintock Foundation

Abbie Simpson @sacremoo is the sister of SSG Mike Simpson, a Green Beret who was killed in 2013. Abbie defines service. She is a friend in all occasions and circumstances. During meltdowns, she is a quiet rock. In good times, she is a constant smile with a quick wit. If her friends need her, she drops everything and is there unconditionally. This is not hyperbole. I have seen her do it, over and over. She gives me faith in humanity…at least until I get to the airport.

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Abbie Simpson and Allie McClintock running a half marathon at Walt Disney World

Jane Horton @janehorton12 is the Gold Star wife of SPC Chris Horton who gave his life in Afghanistan in 2011. I met Jane just a few months ago at a military appreciation event hosted by the Afghan Embassy. Mrs. Horton was the driving force and organizer of this event. Jane will charm you with her Southern belle smile while cutting straight through any bureaucratic or superficial niceties like a razor through paper. Her direct no BS nature puts powers-that-be off balance and on notice. She fights for all of us. A recent message I received from Jane: “I’m headed up to meet with the JCS. Anything you want me to bring up?” Utterly selfless!

Jane Horton visiting Afghanistan.

Jane Horton visiting Afghanistan.

Megan McGill @mmcgill344 is the sister of my friend SSG Tim McGill, a beast of a Green Beret murdered by his partner force in Afghanistan, 2013. Megan and I met through social media while plotting to crash the wedding of Tim’s former teammate. It was going to be a beautiful quiet affair until Meg, and I showed up in onesies with Jameson. Upon learning the date of the wedding, plans changed quickly. “Charlie, you have to be in Rhode Island that weekend.” Well, when a Goldstar makes a demand, you do what she says. Megan had organized the first ever GoRuck event dedicated to Goldstar families (you can read more about that event in my posts). It was an amazing experience that brought supporters and survivors closer together through just a little bit of shared pain. The event has quadrupled this year. Megan drives the train called the RT Foundation @rt_foundation; a non-profit founded to promote resiliency in her brother’s name.

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Just before a little shared pain through GoRuck for the RT foundation

 

Kirstie and Charlie Burning down Brooklyn, NY

Kirstie and Charlie Burning down Brooklyn, NY

If you don’t know who Kirstie Ennis is, crawl out from under that rock. Kirstie is a hurricane. A one-legged hurricane. If you watched the Super bowl this year, she is the blonde bombshell who made you fall in love with America all over again while Johnny Cash talked about the flag. We met doing the “knife hand” video and continued that friendship through an epic three-day spontaneous Fear and Loathing road trip. If either of us can be pinned down for longer than a couple weeks at a time, we’ll continue that adventure across the country for your viewing and read pleasure. Kirstie has had a year. It seems that just as she adapts to the cards, she’s been dealt; the dealer changes the deck. Kirstie had another revision on her leg recently. In true Kirstie fashion, she changed some of her plans but didn’t allow it to change her. She exceeds anyone’s expectations, she lives life on her terms and brings along others for the ride…if they can keep up [not many can]. She is currently in Tanzania working on a clean water project. If I know Kirstie, I have no doubt that she will take a casual stroll up Kilimanjaro while she is there, just to test out her new leg.

Kirstie shooting at the Archery World Cup in Denmark last year...This girl can truly do it all!

Kirstie shooting at the Archery World Cup in Denmark last year…This woman does it all!

In a time of derision and political strife over gender, these women are shining examples of what we all should strive to be, men, women, and others alike. Ladies, cheers. Happy International Women’s Day.

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Roger says:

    It is soooo great to hear about these incredible individuals without a victim mentality. I am sick and tired of people who expect special rights and privileges just for existing. Like you, these tremendous women reaffirm my faith in humanity! Every American should be extremely proud of them! Thank you for sharing their stories!

    • Kris Mack says:

      These are the women that represent ME. AWESOME article highlighting the truly heroic and inspiring women doing their do. Brava!

  • Belinda says:

    As a woman and an Army brat, I thank you for highlighting these shining examples of womanhood. The heartbreak they’ve suffered and struggles they’ve surmounted would make lesser mortals hit their knees and remain there. But not these, the strong and brave! In a week where the world has been subjected to women staying home (and refusing to shop OMG) in order to prove their worth and value, frustrating those of us who can’t see what their cause is about and who have never felt left behind, under-valued or abused because of our gender, this article was so uplifting and a great reminder that there are brilliant examples of strong and capable women out there, and men who respect and admire them for who they are. Thank you for making my day.

  • Joe says:

    Thanks Charlie for this awesome piece. These women and others like them are why this country is great. No matter the loss, the heartbreak or the sacrifice, they step it up and show the rest of us how strong they are. I wish MSM would show women like them, but that is hoping for too much. Still thanks for sharing.

  • George says:

    I fell in love with my Wife when we were in the first grade. My Wife and her Prayer Warrior Mom’s prayers were with me when I was in Iraq and they now go with me every night when I put on the badge and strap on the Glock. I don’t think I could do what I do without her. God bless these women we need. And my Wife buys me guns!

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