Success Stories

Western Canada

John Third – Money Troubles No More

A man I sponsored into MDI is not only winning but also kicking ass and taking names in his life as well. Mr. John Third has gone from being buried in financial debt with a woman who did not trust him because of it, to an engaged man with his first home! He is a second on his men’s team, involved in charity work in the community and in his words “Living live FULL-ASSED” not half-assed like he use to. Congrats to my Friend and Brother Mr. Third.  

    ~ Jeff Lawrence, RC Western Canada

Eastern Canada

Website Enables Individuals with Disabilities

Terrence Ho 
Eastern Canada

(Pic: Terrance and his brother Torrence)

I’m very thankful to have been able to share my story at January’s Abnaki meeting and would like to share this with the greater MDI group.

This is the story about “Enables Me” a blog founded to answer the question, “What Enables Individuals with Accessibility Needs?” It the story about a team that would be part of a “blogger team” to share the experiences, stories and news on how disabled individuals are enabled by sports, technology, travel, work, people and the arts. This is a story about a brother.

“Enables Me” started three years ago as a project to help my younger brother Torrance find his dream job, which was to become an NHL goaltender.  However because he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I asked if there was something as good as being an NHL goaltender. He said sports reporting was a “close second.” That began our journey with Torrance sharing his experiences as a power wheelchair hockey player and covering news on other sports. 

Three years later we’ve built our team to eight writers (including MDI member Ramakrishnan Viswanathan) contributing on topics such as sports, technology, travel and work. The objective to capture these enablers and the impact it has for individuals with disabilities. This year we started a new series during the month of February called Dating & Disabilities and have been fortunate enough to have another MDI member, relationship expert Scott DeStephanis, contribute and work with our writers in this series.

I ask that you check out our website at www.enables.me. If you have family, friends or colleagues who may have a visible or invisible disability and believe they would want to share their stories and experiences, please have them contact me at terrenceho@enables.me.

Picture This: Preston Gervais 

As many men in Eastern Canada recall Preston Gervais (past Captain London Calling) was admitted to a prestigious exchange program for Photography at Southampton Solent University in the United Kingdom. At the end of January 2014, the men welcomed his return to London Calling. His awesome work is seen here: http://prestongervais.blogspot.ca/


3.4 Anything is Possible With Committed Men 

Ed Aponte
RC Southeast Region

(Picture: Maddox, Brown, Aponte, Hoge, Leggett and Hall)

I belong to Green Machine, a team of six men who are committed to reuniting our men in Atlanta and in turn creating fires where men can circle up all over the Southeast. Our division, the Dog Soldiers, challenged us to lead the next division meeting. We normally have around 40 men show up on average to a division meeting, especially when the thermostat dips down below 40 degrees. So my team challenged the men from two other circles in Atlanta to come and compete with one another at the next division meeting. Our context was “Our Men.” We held on to this context as a team for the entire month that it took to plan this meeting. Result: we had 88 men show up to the meeting and stayed three hours outside in the cold. Each circle competed and gave their best. The success of it all was that we were all willing to put our agendas on hold for a larger purpose and context. If six committed men can get 88 together, then I wonder what we all could do as an organization if we were committed to doing the same.

A First Leadership Position Within MDI

David Hall 
Southeast Division 
Regional Finance Manager

I want to share this story with the men of MDI. In July 2014 I was asked by our Division Coordinator Brian Childers to step up to be our Regional Finance manager in the Southeast region. My first inclination was, “Who you talking to?” I looked around and the only man standing there was me. 

Then it hit me: here is a man who obviously sees something in me that I don’t see in myself. The reason being I’ve never really managed anything, especially money. I just loved to spend it! So, truthfully, I went into the position with some trepidation and fear, as I wasn’t sure what would happen. 

On some days my confidence does not soar, and I’m still looking to find my legs to really run strong as the finance manager. I believe now the position has done much for me. For example, my current life situation finds me looking honestly at my own personal finance picture … key word: honestly. Because of this, I’m relocating my fiancée and myself to a home of more modest stature ie: 3 bedrooms vs. 5 bedrooms! Money in my life is starting to make more sense, as well as how I need to be the proper manager of how I spend it.
I owe this to MDI and the leadership of the Southeast as well as Doug Rubin the CFO of MDI. All have believed in me when I couldn’t always say I believed in myself. So maybe in MDI we do pick the greenest and most inexperienced men for jobs, but there also lies the most growth potential! 

Thank you MEN!!!!!


Point Program Points Man Towards The Phoenix Rising 

Gregg Jaffe

For My Men,

A friend once said to me, “If you transform yourself, if you break free of the story which binds you, if you have the courage to look at yourself and move towards positive change in your life then you can take seven generations behind you and seven generations ahead.”

As the men of the Point Team stood face to face with the men of the division on the icy banks of the Hudson River I began to feel all the pain, wonder, joy, sadness, anxiety and confusion that I had experienced during the weeks of the Point Program wash over me. But then, as we prepared to present the artifact, there was a silence. Out across the river the city that never sleeps was dreaming. When I looked around at the men, all of the faces – centuries of biological thread stitched together over raw bone – tucked under hats and inside hoods, it became clear that not only was I taking a step for myself as a man, a step for my team, a step for the division, and a step for humanity, but I was taking a giant step for truth, vulnerability, and for the heart of the world which these days is so often under attack.

The Phoenix, for me, is a symbol of new beginnings: for personal freedom, for self-expression, for finding my voice, and for living powerfully. It is a representation of the men of the Point Team taking a stand in our lives.

  • For Assad Daibes with his huge heart and contagious laugh
  • For Captain Thomas Donohue with his sweetness and determination
  • For Bernie Fowler with his willingness to seek new ways and his bravery for standing in the circle with his son
  • For Doug Fowler with his loyalty, strength, and creativity
  • For Ray Ippolito with his passion and lust for life
  • For Jae Kim with his youthfulness, sense of humor, and ingenuity
  • For Ian Mirmelstein with his courage and dedication
  • For Jim Porto with his kindness, vision, and imagination
  • For Robert Strohschein with his devotion, camaraderie, and tears,
  • For Captain Pete Turok with his sensitivity, compassion, and honesty

Let this artifact be a reminder that though we have a finite amount of time here we are not mortals, that our capacity to create, inspire, and be inspired can move us into the very depths of who we are.

Let this Phoenix be a testament of spirit to what we men can be for each other.

Leading an Intervention When No One Else Would 

Efrain Roman

(PIC: Roman with his children Saylor 6 years and Zoe 5 years.) 

Two months ago I received a text at 11 p.m. from my sister-in-law. It was a plea for help. “I do not know who else to turn to; Bob has been binge drinking on and off for days … He just stormed out to go get more beer. I don’t know what to do.” The two were on vacation in Costa Rica.

Bob is my bother in-law, my wife’s brother; he is charismatic, smart and very adventurous. My daughters (7 and 5) think that he is the greatest one-man show on Earth. Bob is also a raging alcoholic who can go weeks or months without a drink but then transform (at a drink’s notice) into Mr. Hyde … for days. I’ve witnessed this plenty of times, and I knew at some point the family would have to deal with it.

However, honestly, I thought that day would be a funeral or a jail sentence.

My first reaction was to brush it off and let them deal with it. However, here she was asking ME directly for help. Over the next two days I called his parents, his best friends, his closest aunt and uncle, his wife, and had many talks with my wife.

We got on a conference call and my CPR was clear:

Context – Honoring the Truth as a family
Purpose – Saving Bob’s life
Results – Bob willingly enters rehabilitation, the family becomes closer, we alter the course of our family, we save Bob’s life and so on…

I met with some resistance, however I remembered how everyone shows up for funerals. I set a higher context, which was “If Bob were to do die tomorrow, you would all find a way to attend his funeral.” Let’s show up that way for his life.

Within five days we coordinated an interventionist to lead, one person to fly in from California, two people from New Orleans, two from Brooklyn, and four from New Jersey. We met everyone on time at the intervention location in New Jersey. Within 24 hours Bob was in the rehab facility in Minnesota.

I recently received a letter from his mother (my mother in-law). I want to share some of what she said: “I want to thank you for facilitating the intervention for Bob. I feel like he has been brought back from the dead and you made that part happen. Bob said that if it had not been for the nine people in that room he wouldn’t be here. Thank you for stepping up to fill a need when the others of us didn’t.”

“You heard a calling and could not refuse.”

My wife said to me, “No one else had the strength to do the heavy lifting you did.”

This intervention has created a ripple effect that I can see changing the course of our family. Now my daughters will have a chance to have a sober uncle. I’m sharing this because throughout this process I was met with so many challenges. I am (finally) successfully running my own business; I am married and have two girls who are in the first year of school. We had a minimum of three to four calls a day throughout this intervention and the coordination was intense.

The thing is I was not acting alone. I am part of a men’s team “Massive Dump!” and whenever I reached a hurdle, a fear, a pitfall, etc. I reached out to one of my men to pull me over or push me forward. On our team we play the game of life, we are in it together on the field and in the arena.

I had the tools to meet each one of these challenges successfully, to overcome and get to the finish line. My tool bag was given to me in my Men’s Weekend. Since then, it has been filled with tools by men on my team, in trainings, in sharing, in off-sites, in support, and in friendship. My team keeps the tools sharp and in use.

The bottom line: I did my Men’s Weekend in May 2011, I joined MDI in June 2011, my Point Team was completed in August 2011, my Legacy Discovery was June 2012. I remember these dates because they are the steps I took towards being the man I am today. If you had asked me in April 2011 how my marriage was doing, I would have replied with a 90 percent chance of divorce. Business the same. Now it’s all different. 

I would not be standing where I am without all the men who were a part of the milestones that have helped build me into the man I am today.

I am grateful and ready to give back. 

By the way, Bob just received his 2-month sobriety chip.

Thank you men.

David Rudbarg Owning It 

This man in the Mid-Atlantic Region truly owned his greatness on his birthday at the end of January 2015. May we all remember in proud excellence who we really are… 

Who I am on my birthday …

I am the coolest most authentic man walking the planet.

I am loved before I even walk into a room.

I inspire the uninspired and model ways of being that create whole new miraculous realities for people.

I am sexy as hell and more so every day.

What I have to say is unique and special and wanted.

I look great.

I treat my body and soul with loving kindness.

Whenever I step up I win.

God loves me unconditionally and He is never wrong – so I love myself unconditionally.

I am a great writer and write frequently with passion, joy and ZERO fear.

I am unaffected by others behavior. Their demons are theirs, and I choose to practice compassion with mature king energy.

I am all about growth and expanding my appreciation and knowledge of this world.

I am gracious when I decline as well as when I affirm.

I am a King surrounded by Kings and Queens.

My energy heals people with no effort.

New England

Yanir Stein, New England, River of Fire

(Pic: Stein with children David and Elia)

Hosted by Team RPM 

In November 2014 I went to California to visit family. It was in a very difficult situation. I was very afraid to be away from my men in New England and facing a dangerous and foreign environment filled with family drama and sucking-power people. I reached out to the higher levels of MDI and requested to be connected to a team in Los Angeles and/or Santa Monica. I was able to attend a meeting out there. Team RPM hosted me and treated me like I was one of their own. I felt very welcomed by them. They helped me appreciate the great thing we have going on in MDI. The meeting format was mostly the same but in particular, I was impressed with the sharpness, the laser focus, no BS attitude and power of men in this team. Thank you men of RPM for having me.  


Jamie Greene and Baby Kian Nathaniel

I know every new parent describes it as a life changer; For me, my heart has been burst wide open, emanating more love for my boy than I could ever have imagined in all my late blooming years!

Life Father, Like Son, Like Grandson

Wes Lavender of the San Diego Men’s Division is handing down what he received from his own father – among many things a love for running. In January, Lavender and his son Davis took part in a jogathon fundraiser at Mission Estancia Elementary school in Carlsbad. According to the proud pop, the younger Lavender ran 11 laps or 2.75 miles in 30 minutes. Wes and his own father, Lloyd, have joined forces for over 10 “ultra-marathons” together in their time. Says Wes, “I hope to put a lot of miles in with Davis like I’ve done with my dad.”

Warrior Cobra Drive – June 15 to July 4, 2015

Richard Rutherford
Legacy Kings

What started out as a short conversation between my son and I about what he might do for an Eagle project in Boy Scouts has now taken on a context and substance far beyond us. A road trip – a Warrior Cobra Drive! 

There will be more to the story, much more, but my part comes from learning how to have standards, terms, leading by example, the value of being of service and the absolute artistry of “making &^% up” and being comfortable leading in chaos.

We are now committed to be in relationship with the Semper Fi Fund and the Special Ops Warrior Foundation, both of which have outstanding records as charitable organizations.

Our Warrior Cobra Drive: We are driving from Wounded Warrior Battalion West at Camp Pendleton, California to Wounded Warrior Battalion East at Camp LeJune, North Carolina. 

We have some sponsorships in the works and will be raising money at events along the way at special events and per-mile pledges. 

We are scheduled to leave around June 15 and plan to land on the beach on July 4th for their yearly 20,000+ person event. 

Oh, and we’ll be doing this drive in a Shelby Cobra. No roof, no air conditioning and no spare tires. It appears we already have several hundred car guys who want us to stop along the way in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and planning stops to see some of our men in Atlanta and Raleigh, NC.

I have no idea what the results look like (except for what’s written on my CPR).

If men want to complain about where the money goes or what they get from their dues to MDI, they can kiss my ass… I get to be an American, a husband, a father and a man of action … win lose or draw.

I am not missing any more opportunities to be the man I want to be; I’ll send you some more information soon.

PS: Men, Thank you.

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