A Letter From Our Founder
As I talked to friends about starting Project Overwatch a common question I was asked was;
“What made you want to do this?”
There are two prominent trends within the Veteran community that made me want to start this.
First, I think we (vets) have to be very careful about the message being sent to the American public about Veterans. I see commercial after commercial focused on “helping the Veterans”, and “the Veterans need our help”. PTSD is talked about like it comes with every enlistment contract. Although these organizations are doing great things for many in need; when you couple
the frequency of the messages with the public’s lack of understanding, it results in many seeing us as victims. I can recall several times that I have been in conversations with individuals that have no military background or affiliations, I often sense pity if they learn I have been deployed. My usual response is “I was paid pretty well every month”(no pity is required).
The second trend is our popularity in the public and how quickly the public rises to support Veterans. It is no secret how far apart our political parties are right now, but when the Veterans Administration scandal surfaced there was very little division in our representatives. Look at the backlash against the individuals that made negative comments about the American Sniper movie. It is not often that “enlightened” Hollywood people backpedal on their statements, yet they did when the public defended us.
The Veterans’ role in this Project Overwatch is showing the public that we are not victims. We will use our favorable momentum to defend others who sacrifice for their communities and aid charitable causes. I think that service to our country and community should not end with our Military careers. I believe this service is every American’s lifelong obligation.
The second question I received often is “why Law Enforcement?” As I watched the events of 2014 in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore unfold, it affected me profoundly. I want to keep this testament neutral, so I will not dive deeply into my opinion of the incidents. Regardless of our opinion on one incident, we should not demonize all of our nation’s Law Enforcement because of isolated events. Our governing representatives should not operate in polarizing rhetoric against a body of individuals that serve community and country at risk to their lives.
On a personal level, I have many friends that are Law Enforcement Officers. I also work and have deployed with former officers that I respect deeply. I believe there is a lot of connective tissue between the Veteran and Officer service to country and community. We “Support and Defend” and they “Protect and Serve”. Bringing the two communities together seemed like an
obvious thing to do.
Ultimately, we want to garner support from Veterans, Law Enforcement, Emergency Responders, and anyone that appreciates our service. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you take a little more time to review our objectives. Finally, I hope you can join us in our efforts to find and support common core issues in our communities that will do some good
for our country.
J. Labbe MSG (R) U.S. Army Veteran Founder & President