What an incredible saga of a ten-year-old boy, from Baton Rouge, LA, who had been sexually abused by his Karate instructor, then abducted by him and taken to Los Angeles, CA, where he continued to be abused. Our guest this week, Joseph Plauche, tells of the events that led up those scenarios. By way of a traced collect phone call, the FBI rescued “Jody” in LA and his abductor was arrested. To add to the craziness of those events, Joseph’s father waited at a bank of pay phones at the airport and then shot and killed the abductor as he walked by, all of which was captured on film by a local news crew. Plauche has worked in the field of violence prevention since 1995. He wants his story to help others in abusive situations, and he offers direction on protecting children. In this episode you will hear: Plauche authored the book, 'Why, Jody, Why?' During the sexual abuse, there was a physical pleasure, but there was mental anguish. Despite being abused, your body still responds, like a human body responds. He took me to Disneyland. Even though I was kidnapped. It’s not like I was gagged and bound. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I kinda did. When I finally told the truth, I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t like him molesting me, but other than that, I thought he was a good guy. For him (my dad) to do what he did, he had to be in so much pain. If he could have seen who I was to become in the future, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did. My dad was the kindest, sweetest man I knew. It’s a parental instinct to eliminate someone that hurts your child. A boy saw me on Geraldo, and then told his mom about being abused by his pastor. The pastor was arrested. That’s the moment that I realized that I could use something negative and turn it into something positive. I wanna help as many as possible. I feel like I can be a role model for victims of sexual assault.
This week’s episode brings you the incredible, first-hand account from Donna Michaels, a US Navy veteran turned police officer – all the while suffering horrifically from depression, nightmares, and PTSD, yet embracing every day of her life with passion and courage. Donna went from victim to solution – she’s now on a relentless mission to stop PTSD suicides. She also authored the book, Courageously Broken - her journey to hell and back. Donna has quite a story to tell, including the candid memoirs of her military life, her association with Navy SEALS, becoming a cop, the dark years of her life, and her unbelievable recovery. In this episode you will hear: My career didn’t pan out anything like I thought it would as a teenager. The last thing I ever thought I’d be is a cop. I didn’t even like cops. In the Navy, I wanted to go where the action was. It was tough, but I volunteered for this shit, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna walk away from it as a quitter. Women are equally different. The teams (Navy SEALS} are elite for a reason. I love the idea of helping people. In law enforcement, I could be part of the greater good. I won’t be a bitch, unless someone really, really forces me to be one. I made up my mind that I was either gonna get my shit together or put myself out of my pain. The suicide rate among veterans and first responders is a lot higher than people realize. I want to let those who’ve been through hell understand that there are options for them. They just need to know where to look. Once you hit rock bottom, you’ve got nowhere to go but up. Everybody goes through some traumatic event in their life. I want to teach others that there’s hope. Otherwise, I went through all this shit for nothing. I want to be known for inspiring someone to get the help they needed. Never quit.
1 hr 23 min
To say that Dr. Billy Alsbrooks is a driven motivator with a ton of positivity is a gross understatement. Billy gets real about his life’s path from martial arts at the age of 5, achieving his Black Belt at the age of 9, becoming a songwriter and Billboard recording artist, producer, and dealing with the struggles of his dad’s alcoholism, and yet becoming an influencer, author of the book Blessed and Unstoppable, and motivational speaker, with a goal of improving the lives of 1 billion people. If you’re searching for direction, inspiration, hope, and something to believe in, this episode is for you. In this episode you will hear: Alcoholism is not going to happen to me. People go one of two ways and I want nothing to do with it. When I was doing music, I was a huge promoter of that lifestyle, even though I couldn’t stand it. My goal is to reach and positively Impact 1 Billion People in my lifetime. At school, I’d wear a smile, but I was broken inside because we had been up all night, trying to sober daddy up. To make progress, you gotta deal with the hard stuff. I witnessed his father’s death when a blood clot hit his lungs. My motivational career started at the funeral home. When seeing my family’s cemetery plots, I was told “Here’s where you’re gonna lay”. Those words hit me like a ball bat inside my head. How do you sum up a man’s whole life in 2 or 3 sentences for a tombstone? If I was to die right now, what would they put on my tombstone? I had to ask myself that question. Our only purpose for being here is to leave this place better than we found it. God’s not against us having nice things, but He is against those things owning us. The moment my dad died, the mic got ripped away from me. When I say God, I don’t mean religion, I mean relationship. There’s a difference. God is all-powerful, but He needs our invitation to come in. To get to the next level, you gotta get in the ring with those things that scare you the most. I was born a champion. Raised a champion. I have champion in my bloodline. All I’ll ever be is a champion.
1 hr 57 min
What do you get when you serve as a firefighter for 21 years, and get exposed to the toxins during the 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery operations? If you’re retired FDNY firefighter Niels Jorgensen, you come away with an advanced form of Leukemia ten years later, due to those exposures. Even so, Niels is thankful and blessed to be staying ahead of cancer and enjoying full remission. He is the host of the 20 for 20 Podcast, sharing the stories of 20 heroes, keeping their stories alive for future generations. Niels tells about his horrific experiences from that scenario and his fight with cancer that led to his forced medical retirement. In this episode you will hear: When you have a bunch of significant emotional events, you get saturated, and being in a quiet place is best for the mind and soul. I miss the good of New York, but it’s not the city I was born in, unfortunately. Tennessee is family, country, and I know it still exists in Texas. I was in the firehouse at five years old. Those giants with mustaches are laughing and loving life. I want to be like that. I want to go to work and be happy. I loved being a cop, but I realized quickly that people don’t like cops. In 1994 the fire department had a manual with a target on the World Trade Center that said It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when – Be Ready. We were en route to the World Trade Center when the second tower went down. We were overcome with guilt because we were late for the battle. I felt like I failed my men – my best buddies. 20 years after that horrific attack, two families finally have DNA evidence of their loved ones. They finally have closure. In firefighting, we were used to finding whole bodies, but we weren’t gonna find any in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse. I’m American, you’re American. And we need to support each other. Politicians are like dirty diapers. They’re full of shit and they stink. I want to bring back the unity of 9/12. The 20 for 20 Podcast is one of the highest honors of my life - to speak about my brave friends because they were the best that this country has to offer. We’re not hearing the stories of the good guys. We’re worshipping the knuckleheads. I say to my kids, look up from your phone. Look at people’s eyes. Look up to your creator above, and be thankful. Come back to faith. Come back to family. Most of all, be grateful for every day. Just be a good person.
1 hr 7 min
Hernán Luis y Prado: Founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors, Former Hospital Navy Corpsman and Surface Warfare Officer
Have you ever heard of anyone who was not a United States citizen become one and enlist in the U.S. Military the same day they received their citizenship? In this week’s episode, you will meet and hear from Hernán Luis y Prado – born in Argentina, grew up in France, and became a U.S. citizen, only to join the U.S. Navy on the same day. Hernan is a 15 year Navy veteran, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and CEO of Workshops for Warriors, a nonprofit for transitioning and struggling service members, offering them advanced manufacturing training certification and job placements. His attraction to America is that it is the only nation governed by an idea, which is expressed in the Constitution and not a person or bloodline. That’s what this patriot chooses to support. Listen to this incredible man’s story of aspiration and success in the country he loves so dearly. In this episode you will hear: I sold everything we had to start Workshops for Warriors. We train America's veterans to rebuild America's advanced manufacturing and economic backbone. We harness discipline, an ethical mindset, tenacity, and focus on our skills. You're a badass, you can do anything, improvise, adapt, overcome. It never rains, it only liquid sunshine. When you get out of the military, you go from a suit of armor to the civilian world & are cast adrift in free fall. America needs welders, machinists, and fabricators. You need a skillset. Our school is a velvet funnel. You come from a really tight straw & now you gotta give more liberty until you get to the civilian world. There are 2.3 million unfilled jobs due to unskilled labor in America. Our goal is to rebuild America one veteran at a time. We do the hard things every day. It's the easy things that kick our butts. People come in - shoulders hunched down. By the end of the first week you see them coming back. The most important thing that Americans like and right now is vision. [Marcus Luttrell] “One team, one fight.” Together we can do this, alone we can't.
1 hr 14 min
Kushal Choksi: 9/11 Survivor, Author of On a Wing and a Prayer, Breathwork and Meditation Instructor
A second chance at life. That’s the true story of this week’s guest, Kushal Choksi, Investment Analyst for Goldman Sachs turned entrepreneur, 9/11 survivor and author of On a Wing and a Prayer, which chronicles Kushal’s narrow escape from the World Trade Center’s North Tower on that fateful day. It was truly a life-changing event, revealing that there was more to life than pursuing his career. Life became much more spiritual for Kushal as he learned the Sky Bridge meditation techniques, freeing him from impressions and emotional impacts in his sub-conscience. Listen in on Kushal’s compelling recollections from one of the most horrific days in American history, and his path to interpersonal freedom. In this episode you will hear: In my mind, America was that land of freedom where I could become whatever I wanted. 9/11 started out as just another workday for me. There was a huge bang that shook me up. Within a few seconds, the pandemonium started. I’m not programmed to see things like this. It was raining cement, like something out of a movie. When I came out of the building, I looked up and saw a huge, gaping hole in the side of the building. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another aircraft crashing into the other tower, spewing out a huge ball of fire on the other side. I couldn’t conceive that someone could fly a plane into the building. I saw it go into the building like a slab of butter. The smoke cloud was engulfing everything in its way. As I ran as fast as I could, there was a commuter boat leaving the slip, and I leaped onto it as it pulled away. I was perhaps the last person to leave on the last boat. I had become a statistic – A survivor. It was a dream I could not wake up from. On one hand, I was feeling lucky, while on the other I felt I had to go after whatever I was chasing with more gusto. I had a second chance at life. Whenever you go through a life event, it leaves an impression on our sub-conscience. It creates a lesion on our nervous system. This Sky Breath meditation technique that I learned cleanses the nervous system of these impressions. I am more in control of my thoughts, my emotions, and how I respond to situations. 3 rules for meditation: 1) I do nothing for 10 minutes. Let the world around me collapse. 2) I want nothing. 3) I am nothing – no labels on ourselves.
1 hr 25 min
Gerald "Jerry" Sanford: Retired FDNY Firefighter, Author of It Started With a Helmet, 9/11 Press Secretary
A black leather helmet. Not just any helmet. A circa 1914 FDNY helmet found in Naples, Florida, originating from Ladder 42 in The Bronx, New York. In this week’s episode, Jerry Stanford, FDNY veteran, details his adventure in returning that incredible helmet – and presenting it back to Ladder 42 in The Bronx on September 10, 2001 - the day before the attacks of 9/11. Jerry returned to service as a volunteer after the attacks on the World Trade center and authored the book: It Started with a Helmet. You’ll appreciate Jerry’s compelling story, and his straightforward personality as he details the path of the helmet from Naples to The Bronx. In this episode you will hear: • We flew out from La Guardia Airport 2 hours before the attacks. I could’ve been on one of those hijacked planes. • Everyone’s running out of the buildings while we were running into the building. • We lost 343 Firefighters from all ranks. With all those years of experience gone, it was difficult to fill those voids. • After 10-12 days, it changed from a rescue mission to a recovery mission. • The jet fuel kept the fires burning. • On September 12, 2001, we were all New Yorkers. • You couldn’t buy a flag. • The government officials told us that it was fine to be in the area with no masks or breathing gear. 6 years later, I was diagnosed with lung cancer, as were many others. • Back then, I could go to the World Trade Center site, and any hour of the day or night. People were cheering us on. • Now they want to cut back funding for police, while they have private security. That’s crazy. • Life is so different now. We have to adapt to it. • We were taken aback at the difference in two or three years in New York City. • In Afghanistan, the Taliban has taken over in three short weeks. What the hell is going on there? • We let the fox back into the hen house. • What happened to our leadership? • If you need to talk to somebody, please do it. Don’t do anything drastic. A lot of departments have mental health people that are there to help you. • It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to people. Support Jerry https://www.tiktok.com/@itstartedwithahelmet https://www.facebook.com/itstartedwithahelmet https://www.instagram.com/itstartedwithahelmet
Are you looking to accomplish some goals in your life? Take a listen to John Chambliss, our guest in this week’s episode. John is a career firefighter, personal trainer, owner of 48 Str8 Fitness and 48 Str8 Supplements, nutritionally designed for First Responders, Veterans, and health-conscious gym-goers. This is what hard work and a “get-it-done” attitude look like. John conveys the seemingly impossible obstacles he has overcome to become a successful entrepreneur and servant to the community, without anyone’s help. Truly a self-made man with a positive outlook on everything he pursues. In this episode you will hear: • You gotta figure out which way you wanna go – find your own path. • Quit worrying about money & bills. Chase your dream. • Success in the gym is having a connection/relationship with your trainer. • If I’m gonna put you on a program, I’m gonna do it with you. • Mediocracy is what kills us. • If you ever find yourself on a crotch rocket, a tank top, and shorts - that’s a set up. • The doctor told me I’d never walk again and never work out again. I have 6 plates and 32 screws in my left hip. • I need to do something better for my community as a first responder, fire, police, military and the general public. • The name48 Str8 comes from my work shifts. • When is my shit gonna come pick me up to take me to the success lane? You gotta build that shit. • When you make a mistake, learn from it, and move on. • When you hit rock bottom – good – now you know what it feels like, and you don’t wanna be back there again. • Why do something that not gonna propel you in the direction you wanna be going? • There is no option to give up.
1 hr 8 min
Dr. Donnelly Wilkes Part 2: Author of Code Red Fallujah, Navy Commendation Medal of Valor Recipient, and Founder of Summit Health Group
In this week’s episode, we bring you Part 2 of Dr. Donnely Wilkes’ personal and amazing story of his experiences on the battlefield of Fallujah. With 2 combat tours in Iraq under his belt, Dr. Donnely Wilkes shares his first-hand experiences with refreshing transparency. While one would think someone with that kind of experience would be tough as nails, Wilkes describes his true feelings and fears of being in a real-life battle with people wanting to kill him, all the while serving as a medic in battlefield conditions. Wilkes is the founder, president, and medical director of Summit Health Group in Thousand Oaks, CA, and authored Code Red Fallujah, his first-hand narrative of his role in the Battle of Fallujah. He served seven years on active duty and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor for his actions in the battle of Fallujah in April of 2004. Upon completion of his naval service, Dr. Wilkes was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant. He is a devoted husband, father, and Christian. In this episode you will hear: I hadn’t fully accepted my fate, and I wasn’t quite all the way in. And I said to myself, “you gotta be all the way in right now, or you’re gonna do something stupid or emotionally not make it.” I finally came to terms with “If this is my fate, so be it.” As a regular occurrence, I would take cover in the corner of the building when rockets were landing around us, but that was life in Iraq. One night when I pushed the button on my laptop to end a movie, it was like the hiss of a thousand snakes descending upon me and rockets shook our entire building. When rockets would blow through our buildings and tents, I would get pissed since I couldn’t fight back in the dark of night. I tried to do what I could to be a good human. Everybody, in some capacity, should serve. It will help everyone understand and appreciate the benefits of providing service. Writing the book was really therapeutic for me. In the time of your greatest fears, God will meet you there, and you will persevere. Beware of what you pray for – you may get it.
1 hr 16 min
Dr. Donnelly Wilkes Part 1: Navy Commendation Medal of Valor Recipient, Author of Code Red Fallujah, and Founder of Summit Health Group
With 2 combat tours in Iraq under his belt, Dr. Donnely Wilkes shares his first-hand experiences with refreshing transparency. While one would think someone with that kind of experience would be tough as nails, Wilkes describes his true feelings and fears of being in a real-life battle with people wanting to kill him while serving as a medic in battlefield conditions. Wilkes is the founder, president, and medical director of Summit Health Group in Thousand Oaks, CA, and authored Code Red Fallujah, his first-hand narrative of his role in the Battle of Fallujah. He served seven years on active duty and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor for his actions in the battle of Fallujah in April of 2004. Upon completion of his naval service, Dr. Wilkes was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant. He is a devoted husband, father, and Christian. Part 1 of 2. In this episode you will hear: I never thought I would join the military, much less do two tours in Iraq. My grandfather was a P-38 pilot in WWII and was shot down over North Africa, and survived. My dad always pushed me to seek higher levels. I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class. I would just outwork. A key question for a battlefield medic: Can you operate under pressure, be sleep-deprived, and yet do procedures well? Going on simulated night raids was like being in a movie- but I didn’t know I wasn’t quite ready for this movie. As much as I trained, I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. When the “S” hits the fan, you have a file drawer of skills, and you have to access it. Fallujah was like the Wild West. It was unbelievable what the United States military could mobilize and put on wheels. The Marine Corps motto is to do more with less. I came to the point where I realized I just needed to finish the mission so I could go home. When mortar attacks began, that’s when I knew there was somebody out there wanting to kill me. I couldn’t accept being there and being in harm’s way. I really struggled to keep it together. When I experienced my first surgical casualty, it was a horrible moment, but after the team gathered around and prayed, it was a beautiful moment.
1 hr 4 min