The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Adapt and Overcome (Days Seventy-Nine, Eighty and Eight-One)

We have had our share of challenges during this mission; the mountains in Utah and Colorado, the wind and heat in Kansas and Missouri and even an earthquake in DC that caused logistical issues. But come on - a hurricane? Really? The visit to Annapolis, Matt's hometown, has been much anticipated since Day 1. It was our first 3 days rest period and for good reason. We had a lot of work to do off the bikes. Our co-founder Matt Corry drove down from Connecticut to assist with all the activities coordinated with Mark Carroll and Paul Dobbyn, both longtime friends of Matt's from college. The Team was stronger than ever. Day Seventy-Nine was officially the calm before the storm - literally! It was a clear and sunny day and we spent it mostly on the waterfront. After an early morning PR commitment, we rode over to Mayor Joshua Cohen's office and met with him to discuss our mission and plans for the weekend. We are very thankful for Mayor Cohen's time, given the circumstances and we benefitted from some important information about the city's plans to prepare for the storm on Saturday. One of those plans was to shut down businesses on the waterfront which included the venue we picked for a marque event. The news was bad, but we put aside our selfish motivations understanding the situation and we decided as a team to stay positive and make the best of the opportunities we had. Later that afternoon, Wimmer Lacrosse family member Justin Smith picked us up on his boat with fellow family member Steven Brooks. Justin and Steven play for the local MLL team, the Chesapeake Bayhawks. The waters were surprisingly calm as we took the short ride to Cantler's Riverside Inn and we feasted on blue crabs. Thanks to Matt for treating us at this local hangout and to Justin for the boat ride. It reminded me a lot of summers on Long Island where we ate blue crabs all the time on newspaper, just like Cantler's laid out for us to absorb the mess.

We were happy to learn the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) had not cancelled their semi final games on Day Eighty. This was a big win because Matt and I were riding our bikes on to the field during an intermission in the first game. We also had a booth set up to help awareness and receive donations in support of our mission. Thankfully the booth was indoors, because it rained - HARD - all day. Just like much of the East coast this passed weekend, the rain showers were relentless. The Ride onto the field went down as planned. Thankfully, neither Matt or myself went down riding out there through the deep puddles on the turf at Navy Marine Corp Stadium. More thanks must go out to MLL commissioner David Gross and his entire team for somehow pulling this off while maintaining safety for the players and the fans. Truth is, if you didn't mind getting wet, it really wasn't all that bad out there. I am not sure the players would agree entirely, but that's the gist of it. Day Eighty-One started with a look out the window. Not too bad. We had power too. It had stopped raining as well and it actually looked like the sun might come out soon. We prepared to return to the stadium for the MLL final game, we had another successful day there. We had some help with our mission at the booth from a special guest from the Naval Academy. Midshipmen 3rd Class Julia Zook, from Mercer Island where I currently reside, is someone who I mentored and help train before she enrolled in the Naval Academy. She didn't need much help and is doing fantastic, but nevertheless, I am so proud of my friend and all her accomplishments as she enters her second year at the Academy. It was great to have her there smiling (as always) and welcoming others. If as if this wasn't all enough, we also had to deal with the emotional departure of my battle buddy, Sierra Bravo (aka Stevie Boy), as he left the trail as planned so he could start school himself on Monday. The new guy is no stranger to quality operations. Welcome Adam Messick who will guide us on the home stretch for the next two weeks. Adam has some big shoes to fill, but he is up for the task for sure. We will talk much more about him in days to come for sure. For now, let's just say we are in good shape. Adam's 'finish strong' attitude is exactly what I needed this weekend to help adapt and overcome.

My wife Heather sent me an email this weekend that read "success is determined by how you handle setbacks." I took this to heart and in the end, I conclude Annapolis was a success. We got stronger as a team and we are hardened and determined for the final two week stretch to Ground Zero.

And we certainly will remember Naptown. I am anxious to get back on a bike to Baltimore!

To the limit,