As a combat Veteran, I had taken for granted how great the support network is while we're still serving. I left active duty shortly after returning from a Civil Affairs deployment, and moved home to a big city where there aren't nearly as many Veterans as in many other parts of the country. With no friends around who I could relate to, I found myself brainstorming ways to network with other Veterans in my community. It was frustrating knowing that I had to be passing other Veterans on the street nearly every day, who felt just like I did. I wanted to network with fellow Veterans, but not by browsing meet-up groups or going to networking events so the idea was born. I wanted a real social network, that takes place organically, outside in the real world with natural human interaction. A network that is exclusive to us, who truly understand how sweet the taste of freedom really is.
I decided to make a symbol that was instantly recognizable to those of us in the know, but subtle enough to avoid drawing unwanted attention (I think we all know there are plenty of shirts available if you want to draw attention to yourself and your military service). So with the simple acronym BTDT that so many of us already know, we have a simple, subtle, and meaningful acronym. Our logo is those 4 letters inside a flag, because flags always mean something. Our clothing means something; it has a purpose. And just like your unit guidon, this flag is a symbol to rally around. So fly this flag and you be that rally point. Be the one who puts yourself out there so others can come to you, drop their pack for a few minutes and have you check them over before they go back out into life’s next battle. Because many of us are still battling every day.
With BTDT Association, we hope to strengthen our community of Veterans. We must not let the camaraderie and support end when we take off the uniform. This symbol means you want to network and are willing to put yourself out there for somebody who may need your help. We have always been there for the men and women to our left and right, it's time we do the same on the outside. But before we can be there for each other, we need to be able to identify each other.
We have felt alone and isolated, we have lost friends to suicide, and we are saying no more. So join us, you might make a great friend, or get a job offer just for being a part of this effort. But most importantly, you might save a life…