It could have been prevented.

Filed under: by: GreyStar

Guess I am the master of gloom here lately but I was thinking about another friend of mine, Jaren Hoover. Who was tragically killed at work on April 14th of 2008. For a while the news stations and friends have all stated it was an accident, and OSHA ruled it as such. But I looked into it further this evening and found out what truly happened. And I have to say, I wish I hadn't looked into it. The results basically tell that it could have been prevented. Of course, all work related accidents and incidents should be preventable, but this one more so than I thought it was.

Jaren worked at a company called Dura-Bone Pipe LLC. It was on Monday, his second week of starting at that company and his last. Instead of giving my interpretation of what happened to Jaren I figure it is best to leave what OSHA found as the result:

Text For Citation: 01 Item/Group: 001 Hazard: CRUSHING

Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970: The employer did not furnish employmnent and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to a crushing hazard while the load was suspended and the operator was distracted: (a)Power Crete Building - Employees were exposed to crushing hazard while the crane operator was distracted while conversing on the "Walkie-Talkie" and having the load suspended, on April 14, 2008. ABATEMENT NOTE: Ensure that all crane operators follow safe conduct of operation as referred in ASME B30.2-2005, 2005. VERIFICATION REQUIRED

I'm not sure what happened to the crane operator, I at least hope he lost his job, but the company is keeping any details and results of this rather quiet. Even some violations on the OSHA report were deleted or left unfilled in. It just sucks, Jaren is missed every day that all of his family and friends are awake and alive without him, but of course we all hope to see him again.

A regret that still haunts me.

Filed under: by: GreyStar

Lately I have been thinking about an old friend I had back from school. She didn't have an easy life to start with. Her Mom was in and out of jail for drug related convictions and her Dad was in his 60's raising his daughter and his Son and sadly failing. His son, Ricky, eventually moved out of his home and in with an Aunt and Uncle where it seemed his life was coming together in a wholesome christian values sort of way.

But things weren't the lucky for Crystal. She was your typical teen I guess, cared more about the boyfriend, the partying and could care less about the consequences yet some how we both connected and became good friends. At a few times in the friendship my Mom and various other family members wished I didn't hang out with her due to the "bad influence" they believed she was. And while she may have influenced big steps in my life, I wouldn't count that as bad. I would consider her my Best friend at that time, we lived 5 houses apart from each other and constantly hung out. I could by myself with her and whether I was into the same things as her or not, I was still accepted.

But then it happened, I was home in the basement on the computer and she came over to hang out, like we did most times. The conversation started casually but from her actions and lack of words I could tell something was wrong underneath. I asked her if she was okay and that's when she confided in me that on a couple occasions her Dad had come into her room when she was in bed and molested her. She told me each time when it was over he would walk away as if they simply had a "father to daughter" conversation and it was never spoken about during the rest of those times. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I believed her 100% I had no reason not to, I just didn't want this to happen to her on top of everything else. After we discussed it and I tried to tell her she had to talk to someone who could do something, she then made me promise I wouldn't tell anyone and said she would figure out a way to deal with it.

The following day at school I couldn't get it off my mind what she had said to me, the entire evening I wanted to tell my Mom but I made a promise not to. At the time I wasn't sure how my Mom could help let alone myself. I was distant from everyone that entire time in school. I saw Crystal a few times in between classes and put on a fake smiley face as to not upset her or give her any worries on my end. But I was worried, what she told me was beyond disgusting and it was hurting her. After a class instead of going to my lunch period I went to my counselor's office and told them word for word what she had stated to me. I know I promised and I wish I could have never made it, nor ever heard what she said but I did. With what I told the counselor they immediately phoned the police, my Mom, and Crystal down to the office. I was scared she was going to be there to face me after I had broken a promise.

The moment she walked in she knew what I had done and I just hung my head. I was afraid to look at her. While in there my counselor told Crystal what I had told him and asked her if what I stated was in fact true. To my surprise she actually admitted to it. He then had Crystal and I write down exactly what we had told him, by the time we were doing so the police showed up and the counselor talked to him outside of the office. While we were in there the two of us, I couldn't raise my head to look at her. I had failed her, is how I felt. The tears just streamed down my face and I muttered out "I'm sorry". She stated nothing more than "It's okay", while she too was crying. The officer then peaked in thru the door and asked me to talk to him in the other office. He basically wanted my story, how much I knew about Crystal and her Dad. I let it all out and told everything I could and knew. I had already broken the promise it would only hurt Crystal at that point to lie to the cop.

Shortly after that my Mom came in, immediately asking the counselor if I had done something wrong and that's when the officer told her what I had stated. My Mom's reaction was that of disbelief but at the same time she never did seem to trust her Dad for anything. After that the Counselor and Principle stated I was able to leave early if I wanted to, I stated I wanted to stay with Crystal but they told me that they needed to discuss it all with her and that if Crystal wanted me to be there later on or talk to her I could come back.

I didn't go back afterwards, I spent the remainder of the day at home, crying, feeling sick and just worried for what just happened to my best friend. Around 7pm that evening a cop car came to our house and Crystal was there, she wanted to talk to me. I apologized continuously and she just kept saying she wasn't mad. She stated she was going to an Aunt's till they were done investigating, the Cop told my Mom that her Dad wanted to know if we would let her stay with us during the time. My Mom said she had to think about it but later on the CPS changed their minds they didn't want her Dad at the time only 5 blocks from our house. I understood and even I was afraid to go outside knowing how close he was, and how angry I am sure I have made him. I just wanted to be near her, support her, and just make sure she would be okay.

Not soon after that the news spread like a wildfire. The Dad denied it, but CPS somehow felt the investigation was complete and founded. A few days later Crystal's stepmom went missing, we figured for the most part that she just left because she was in disbelief herself she had her own reason but we will never know. 3 days later her body was discovered, what was left, it turns out she stood in front of a train and killed her self. And that was my fault, if I had kept my promise the family would have still been intact and not the mess that I had created.

Crystal eventually just remained with her Aunt after that. I know she returned to her Dad when she turned 18 and was by his side while he passed away with cancer. Crystal and I had lost touch, last I heard though she was pregnant with her 3 child. I am sure she is a good mother no doubt but I am sure the experience she had to go through has left scars we may never see but will forever haunt her life. Her and her brother after that incident hadn't spoken to each other. He stated he was disappointed in her and so on. It's not a fair judgement for him to make.

I regret to this day for breaking that promise. What her Dad did was wrong but she trusted me and confided in me. And with that broken promise I ended up having a life in my hands I didn't think I would. It is my fault her stepmom killed herself if I hadn't spoken up she never would have known what happened, she would still be here. And apart of me wishes I could take it all back, kept the promise and allowed Crystal to deal with it when she was prepared. But it is all too late and it was too late before I ever spoke up.

And still all I can say is, I'm sorry.

The partial birth of Faded Legacy

Filed under: by: GreyStar

We are all aware I am the master of thinking of the oddest of names for a website of a blog, and sadly when it comes to a screen name on a message board I freeze and pick the dumbest things. But that is honestly neither here nor there.

I think since I started the blog up once more but am doing it for another purpose it would be wise for myself to explain that. Because if anyone besides Annie (Hi there!) reads this they may wish to know.

I've been working on a "project" so to speak for the past few months, it pretty much goes with the whole Human Services kick, a few friends of mine from school have also been working with this with me. I guess it's more of an organization than a project at this point since the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable organizations and the IRS section have declared we don't have to file anything since we do not nor will we in the future (at least right now) need donations or government grants we can run as an organization.

The organization is called Faded Legacy. Ta-Dah! It's not a great name, but "Bridge over troubled water" was too long to go with and the others just rolled their eyes at me. So we'll deal with this.

The organization in sort is a "help" outlet, a beacon so to speak for parents and at times teens. Mainly our beginning goal was to help Parents locate their runaway/unruly teen that has left home without permissions. The org started with our first case back in November when a friend of mine's relative was having trouble with their Daughter, she is 14 and thinks she has life figured out and anything her parents tell her is just ignorance in her opinion. My friend told me everyone was concerned but had no idea what to do, no idea where she was and no one was saying much of anything. My first instinct was to tell her that she should immediately call the police file a missing person report, and then contact the Department of Human Services (CPS) and see how they could help.

About a few days later I inquired about the status of the case of my friend's relative she stated that they called the police and filed a report but that the police basically told her "We'll keep an eye out, but most times they return home on their own". What kind of crap is that?? A mother goes into the police station frantic and in tears and you tell her "Eh, who cares?" Basically. She's 14 and who knows who she left with or where she ended up. I found that disgusting. I asked if she also contacted DHS and she stated they have an appointment. You neglect your child and they are there that evening no matter the time, you call and say you cannot find your child and need help? They make an appointment. I realize those services are booked to the core but really?

I decided to go that evening after work with my friend to her relative's home. I tried to talk to her to get information out of her about what her daughter's actions were before she left, did they have a fight? Was she involved with anyone? Before answering my list of questions she looked up at me and asked me if I was going to help her. The look in her eyes was just something I cannot explain nor was I able to answer anything other than "I'll try". With that she and her husband immediately rattled off everything they could think of from friends, to people in school she was known to have a problem with to even digging through phone records to see what they could gather. With that I took the information I had and told them I would let them or my friend be updated as I knew anything.

After that visit I immediately jumped on the computer and searched everything I knew to search I typed the various names I had been given into the search button and a few times into myspace pages, I came up with a few hits that were able to get the ball rolling for the family. After what seemed like hours of searching I finally landed on what I thought "might" be something to look into, a myspace posting from a guy about 5 years old than she is stating on his site in blogs about he loved hanging out with "her" out in Reading, Pa, I was able to trace his profile back to hers to find they had exchanged comments on their page as well. And a few comments of him stating "Ur rents are bogus u shud ditch (sic)". That comment was all I needed to dig further on, after almost a day of searching I by some luck stumbled upon a cell phone number that was registered thru Verizon services to this guy that had posted on her myspace. With that I set up a Yahoo Account that wasn't easily traceable to myself and sent a SMS message to the phone number, completely innocent but at the same time not scaring away anyone. It had worked, but instead of the guy texting me back it ended up being the GIRL texting me back. I soon learned after all of this that the guy bought her a pre paid phone so he could keep in touch since her parents took her cell phone from her a while ago. After scoring that tid bit of information I didn't proceed any further. I couldn't call the number because I feared if she saw a phone number pop up that had the same area code of her family she would think something was up and not answer. Instead I went to school..

Where I met up with a good friend of mine there who just happens to live in Reading Pa. I told him the story of what happened and what was going on and I asked if he would mind if I borrowed his cell phone to try and contact the girl and see where she was and try to coax her into going home. He eagerly said yes but took it a step further and said if I didn't mind he would like to help and would call the number for me since he knows the area to a T he may be able to pick up on any sounds going on around her that he may be familiar with and help us pinpoint a location for her. I was completely down for it, and adding help to the search would make it easier on myself plus the added brainstorming is a huge plus. After class we decided to meet up with each other and work out what to say, how to approach it and so on.

After class and after work he came over and the brainstorming started, he reviewed the documents and web pages I was able to pull up on both her, her friends and this lowlife. With that Andy said he was all set and knew what to say and how to get her to talk to him without realizing what is going on. He got on his phone and in a really calm voice some how initiated a conversation and it wasn't one that just lasted a couple minutes and that was it, it had went on for at least 15 minutes. The entire time thinking "Damn, If I were a cop I could have had a trace on this call by now". But of course I'm not Jack Malone so that didn't happen. Instead Andy miraculously was able to talk to her and find out her location. Not a "general" area, but an EXACT location. She told Andy that he could come over sometime and that she staying with a friend of a friend. This "friend" was female so that eased our worry a bit but knowing the lowlife was still around we knew we couldn't just sit on this information. Before thinking of what our next action would be I told Andy I had to call her Mom, he thought the phone call might be a little premature seeing how yes we know where she is but that's not to say she will be there, or was even telling the truth. But the fact that I knew her Mom was in tears since the day she ranaway and everyone had told her that they basically were too busy to help, and telling her I would keep her in the know but hadn't called in a couple days... I had to call her. If nothing more than to ease her mind and at least let her know her daughter is "okay", and someone did care.

After some talking I was finally to convince Andy that I needed to call her. While this was initially my thing and I was the one who made the vow to help; Andy now was apart of it and every step had to be covered. I called her up, totally ignoring the time it was about 11:30pm at this point but she didn't care. The moment she heard my voice she asked "Is she okay?" I told her our progress and that we did talk to her and that she "sounded" okay. In that second the tears on her end started again but I don't think they were tears of a worrying Mother, I think it was more of being happy someone did care enough to help and was making progress. I told her the information I gathered and told her that Andy has stepped into help. She was ecstatic thru her tears and had told me she called the police several times trying to get them to do something but each call being a failed try, and the DHS appointment went just as bad they told her that they don't have the manpower to go on a "goose hunt" but when she returns home they could help keep her in "control". She said she felt like it was hopeless until our call. I can't imagine the stress she had been going thru at that point, she's in her years at age 51 not old but at the same time this stress isn't making her any better nor is it doing her any good at this point. She has two other children one is a daughter 18, and another a son 24 both were deployed last year the daughter was shipped off to South Korea and the son to Iraq. She's not a fool either she knows her other 2 children may not make it home so loosing her 14 year old daughter just added more pain to her and the family.

After that call ended Andy was ready to go. I wasn't sure if we were going to go out to Reading that evening or wait on it and plan how it would go about. But Andy wanted to go, he also got on the phone to talk to her Mom, he wanted to let him know personally that he was supporting her and would help her. Hearing her being upset was all it took to get Andy into gear and want to help bring her home. We got in the car, filled up the tank and headed to Reading which was a good hour drive from where we were, give or take a few miles. We didn't really have a plan installed but since I was the driver it gave Andy enough time to think it out. About half way there it was like a light just turned on in his brain, I swear, he sparked up immediately and stated the plan. It wasn't a plan I was comfortable with but given the circumstances I don't think we had an option. From reading her Myspace page and various other links and the chat on the phone they had he noted that she liked to "party" as in hang out with people she had no clue about and smoke weed. So that would be the basis of their meeting. He knew I was uncomfortable with it and stated he would call a friend that would help out and leave me out in the foreground waiting for God knows what. He dialed his friend and had to call a few times as by this point it was well going on 1am but eventually the friend answered and said he was willing to help out and to pick him up on the way.

Still feeling uncomfortable about it all I asked Andy why don't we just contact the police tell them what is going on and have them pick her up and send her home. In all honesty, yes we did the work and we made huge progress but at the same time we're not Jack Malone!!! We can't stage things and be protected by the law and God knows I don't need anymore trouble with the law!! But he stood his ground and said if the plan fails we'll go to the local police. There was no talking down so I went with and prayed for the best outcome. As we got to Reading we picked up Andy's friend who I had never met before was seemed like a guy who genuinely cared. He's 21 but looks younger than 17 at a first glance. And Andy knew this feature would work in our favor. About 20 minutes after picking him up we pulled into the Sheetz parking lot and formulated how this would all go down, with me in the background echoing "We should call the police". My echos got ignored, of course. After a plan was formulated Andy phoned her again, something we hadn't thought to do until just now for all we knew she wouldn't come out, or was just messing with us in a similar fashion as we were with her. But as luck would have it she did answer and was down to hang out with Andy and his friend. She thought they were going to meet up to "party", little did she know. She picked the meeting place which was at a grocery store about 1/2 a mile from where we were, she said she would walk there and Andy and his friend said they would meet her there also. I stayed in the car and Andy said he would text me when it was my cue to come out there. Not longer after we agreed on the pla, basically get her to talk to the both of them stall time and try to talk her into going home. The latter would be my responsibility. While waiting what seemed like forever but was only about an hour I got a knock on my car window from a attendant at the Sheetz telling me "no loitering", I nodded my head and they went back inside. I wasn't sure where to go to since the Sheetz and that grocery store were really the only 2 open places within driving distance to where they were at. So I braced myself and went into the gas station and tried to talk to the attendant that was motioning for me to leave.

I gave her the short story that a friend's daughter ran away and we were trying to get her to go home. At first she looked at me like I had 2 heads but after I told her she could contact the girl's mother or even the PD to verify that she did infact runaway she looked at me like I only had 1, and said I could wait in the parking lot but to park on the otherside so to not take up any of the front row parking spaces. That had went easier than I thought it would. After explaining it she was quite nice and wished us all luck in it.

Another 2 hours had passed and I hadn't heard anything I was worried thinking it either failed, the police showed up and at times thinking my cell phone was being stupid again. So much so that I made a call to verizon myself and you know you call up get the operator and you ask "I am wondering if my phone is working?" To which the operator responds "You're calling us from it!" I'm sure the operators love those kind of calls where the customer looks like a big moron. After hanging up I finally received the text message to come on out. I was hoping Andy would ease my nerves some and tells me in the text if it was good or bad. It stated neither just "come". With that I headed down, nerves completely in an upset not sure whether it would be good news or bad news.

When I arrived I was able to see that she was still there, this gave me some hope. Andy's friend Marcus walked up to my side in a hurry and told me that she knows why we are there. I got out of the car and walked over towards her. I was able to notice almost right away that her eyes were bloodshot and from the sniffles she had been crying, I was hopeful. I walked up and greeted her and told her my Name, how I "know" her and why we were there. Surprisingly she had no attitude at that point, Marcus said she wasn't so nice before my arrival though. I told her that her Mom and Dad and entire family was extremely upset about her being gone. He fired back with "If they care why didn't look for me?". I had to tell her unfortunately how the PD and DHS wasn't much help for her family but was eager to give us information to help find her. I began asking her questions some I am sure Andy or Marcus already had asked but I needed to know. My main question was "Why?" Her answer was one I was hoping wasn't the reason. Basically, this lowlife promised her everything from rainbows to sunshines and the "perfect" life. However, it seems after a day or so the lowlife got rather tired of her but kept her at his Sister home to bother with when he "felt like it". It was silence for a while, clearly this girl's heart was broken and her life turned upside down due to broken promises that never could have been kept in the first place. After a bit of silence the girl asked us "How mad are my parents?" I quickly responded with the truth, they weren't mad they were scared and upset and all they wanted was for their Daughter to return home. She didn't believe me at first but I was able to convince her after a bit. Which was true, not once while talking to her Mom nor her Dad did they ever once speak of being upset with her or even disappointed. They just wanted her home.

The answer to that question just sparked the social bubble in that girl she just began talking about everything, anything and at times nothing. We all sat there talking with each other for about 45 minutes before I was able to ask "Will you go home?" I didn't know what to expect at this time it could have went either way. Instead, she made the maturest move and said "Yes." That was all we needed to hear and we knew it was sincere she didn't once try to make an excuse like "I'll talk to Lowlife and think about it", "I have things I need to do first", instead it was a solid yes. Altho it did follow up with that she does have things at Lowlife's sister's house to pick up. At first this sounded like an "excuse" building on but our worries ended when she asked if we would go with. After that we got up and were prepared to go, we stopped in the store real quick and gathered some snacks, since I know Andy and I hadn't had anything to eat since that evening earlier and she stated she was also hungry. So we got her some food until we could either get her home or reach a fast food establishment. As we were leaving the store an Officer had come into the parking lot and was apparently called because the store management thought we were loitering there as well. Once again I had to explain the situation, this time he actually checked out the story which is fair. 3 older people with a 14 year old, deserved questioning and I am glad a cop actually cared. He made the call to her Mom to verify our story and I think her Mom busted the officer's eardrum with emotions complete happiness. The Officer let her talk to her daughter and the first thing out of her daughter's mouth was "I'm sorry". After she got done I was able to talk to her as well it was refreshing to hear her be that happy and knowing the tears she was crying weren't for being scared, along with her waking her Husband up to tell him. I'm pretty sure she woke the neighborhood up.

After verifying our story the Officer said he would follow us to the apartment and helped us gather her items. The sister didn't enjoy that at all, and the Officer didn't care. Once that was done and the cop was done with us we set off to get that girl home. Once at her house the entire family was awake, and even my friend and her family were there to greet the girl coming home. I think her going home and seeing open arms and sheer happiness that she was home instead of being yelled at a wake up call telling her, your family cares. Not the lowlifes.

Due to the 3 of us that case was "closed" with great results. That's not to say that after the joyful reunion things for that family were perfect and problem free but I think that incident opened not only the girl's eyes but her parent's as well. She never saw that lowlife again and not just because her parents told her not to but because she learned to respect herself. And to trust family more than anything. The lowlife and his sister were also slapped with charges. The Lowlife got "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor", "harboring a runaway", and some serious sexual offenses. The Sister got the previous two also but not the last one. It has yet to go to court and while he deserves what he gets the family simply doesn't care. They only care their daughter is home.

After that case was done the Mother of the girl ended up "referring" us to people she knew or worked with going through similar issues, their child ran away and no one seemed to care. We ended up helping 3 other families after that case and one being on the otherside of the fence. A 16 year old male contacted us and I have no idea how they knew to and needed our help. He ranaway due to an abusive father and a Mother too scared to leave. We couldn't send him back home to a perfect and happy reunion but we were able to get DHS to listen to his claims and his fears. After that we placed with an Aunt. So maybe we did send him back to a happier place.

I guess I can attribute that one case of the runaway 14 year old to be the founding stone that started up this Org. Since then the 3 of us have been eager to come together and help these families and these teens who for a reason beyond their own senses feel the need to "run". We're not the police, nor are we DHS so we cannot act in the ways that they do but I do believe with our knowledge and the ability to search just near anything up and are bold enough to try something despite the risks, I do believe we can help.

So with that, we decided to make our "work" an org. I'm currently working on the main website to help us reach out further and to also provide support, someone to talk to, ways they themselves can help. The website will be up in about a week I'd say and if you would like to volunteer to help out perhaps offer advice to those who come on it looking for it then let me know because while the 3 of us have been amazing the more help we get; the more we can help. Annie had already mentioned she'd like to help which is a huge thing for us considering she is one amazing woman and very inspirational to those who come in contact with her. There is one other person I want to see if they would be interested they too are an amazing person but she would bring something else to the site. She has dealt with an unruly daughter and multiple runaways, so I am beyond confident if she accepts she would bring great assets to the org.

The reason in the delay of setting it up "officially" is due to the fact I wasn't sure if we could run as an Org without being registered. But as I stated before as long as there is no money coming we should be fine. The first case, The mother offered to pay us for our "work" and gas and such but we refused. I'm a born traveler so the gas would have been used up anyway at least this way it was used for a wonderful reason. Once it is up and running I'll put the link in here and hope some will pass it along.

And if you're wondering where the name came from... when we have done our traveling it has all been done with my faded maroon subaru legacy. Yeah!, that's right I stink when it comes to coming up with names!! I also believe this org has a chance of making it and standing good and strong to help others. I'm sure some may think that it's just a org where 3 people think they are swifter than the law enforcement or know more than they do but it's simply not true. They majority of the time don't have the manpower to control unruly teens which is understandable but this is why we would like to help. We have already gained respected from one PD and also we are known at the office of DHS and have encouraged us to continue and have helped us out. So..yeah we might have a chance.

Fact is, I'm not anyone special and I may never become the Social Worker or TSS worker I have always wanted to become. I may never work for the FBI and be able to say I'm better than "Jack Malone". I may never be anything but if I was to die today and know that I have helped someone then I think my life would be more than okay. I just want to leave footprints.

**And no, I still cannot explain something without it being a book.

Time for the World to meet Cash.

Filed under: by: GreyStar

Figured I'd weed this out before I head off for the day. I have no class today due to going to the hospital to visit some peeps.

Altho I could have gone and attended at least one class part of me is just in this funk lately. I know what path I want to take in life. The general area at least but I don't know it's just really confusing right now. For a while I wanted to be a cop, but now not so much. That is mainly due to the fact that I don't believe I am mentally strong enough to be in such a position. And then I wanted and I suppose still want to work with the FBI in the missing person field. And while the path I have planned, go to school for 6 years, apply for the FBI internship 2 years into school, and then apply for a position at the FBI any to get me in the door.. part of me just feels I am not intelligent enough to get into such a place. Part of that is just me looking back on my past and then comments my Dad has made. Basically laughing at me when I suggested continuing my education for 6 years. That insult does fuel my fire in a lot of ways but at the same time it cuts me down and makes me doubt I could ever grow up and be an important person in life that can save someone else. For a while off and on I toggled at the idea of joining the military. Took the ASVAB at one point scored a 91 which you're knowledgeable about that sort of thing a 91 is pretty good, pretty much gives the ability to pick the MOS of my choice. I've debated between the Air Force and Coast Guard for the longest. I discussed about the CG with my Uncle and he was very encouraging. However, the plans for that ended when I discovered you actually have to have some college credits under you belt before enlisting. And that they are very selective. Granted, even if I had the credits I doubt I would be CG worthy.

About a year ago I was having this discussion with my Nana and my Aunt, and that's when my Nana told me something I had never know. She said, "Your pop-pop had always said that he thought you would do well in the military and that is where I should go." I never knew that and I don't believe I ever told him any hopes or desires to go for it. And now that I know that this was said, and that is where he thought I'd be good at I can't help but wonder if that is the exact route I am supposed to take with my life. When a person like that who is your Hero in all ways possible and would confidently tell you that he's proud regardless of what I accomplish and even don't accomplish states something like that you almost have to listen. But then also on the other side I am not sure if I would be mentally strong enough for the AF, the discipline is greatly needed but would I amount to anything good or crack under the pressure? Would I ever make it to be a pilot? Am I even intelligent enough for that? Probably need a bunch of waivers to even get into training.

I doubt myself too much. But in honesty, I just want to be someone. I'm tired of being broke trying to figure out how I am going to last until the next pay check. I'm pretty sure I am going to be one of those people who spend their entire lives alone because they are too afraid to step out of the comforts of their own shadow, or that I'd ever feel myself as good enough in the eyes of someone who is good enough for the world. I guess I am just having a bad day, my paycheck got sucked completely dry due to the Occupational tax so now I got to try and explain this to two companies and pray a "disconnect notice" doesn't come before my next to paychecks. The one coming in two weeks is due to go towards rent. My car.. good god that's a mess. The battery died on me the other day, I can't afford a battery. I can't afford to put enough gas in my car to go to the Magistrate office and plead guilty to a ticket I got. (Not a speeding ticket) I just know what's going to happen when I go, I'll be expected to put down $20 as a payment and I'll be parking my expired in everyway possible car right next to police cars so as soon as I go plead guilty, I will get to face another ticket!!!! And yes I am aware it's my own stupidity that is at fault for it. Reality is I spent too much at Christmas hoping to get some smiles out of my Mom. I was even offered help to do so and I still went over board. And now I just cannot seem to catch up.

Why am I going on about this? I am so sorry, I just started a rant and ran with it. Some days I just enjoy the ability to sleep 24 hours, sometimes I wish I could it continuously but lets stray away from a comment as such before more of my "mental" stability becomes an issue.

Hmm.. So Cash. I started a second job, it's only part time and when I say part time I mean max of 12 hours..part time. It's at a ranch and horse rescue in Grantville. That's not far from the Penn-National Race course. So you can get a pretty good idea of what kind of horses are rescued. Basically horses that were once money makers for the disgustingly rich people but when a horse becomes too old or gets injured they become worthless for them so they get sold at Horse Auctions. Those auctions can be pretty cruel. Sometimes there are other horse rescue ranches that want to buy the horse but most time's it's slaughter houses that buy the injured horse. Google Dog Food & Horse Slaughter you'll get the idea. A slaughtered horse is used to make dog food, cat food. There are about 4 Slaughterhouses in the US that are known. There are also Rendering plants, a rendering plant takes a dead a horse and well makes it into dog food. The only difference is that they claim that rendering plants don't pay for live horses but get the carcass. How much of that can be proved I have no idea. I'm against the whole thing. A race horse gets a injury so all of a sudden he's no good?

If you believe that philosophy please get the hell off my blog, I don't care to associate with such people. Since starting this Job I've seen first hand what the horses are like when they first come in. Some injuries are bad and sometimes the ranch handlers aren't sure if the horse will make it but they give the effort because it's better to give one of God's creatures a chance instead of chopping it up for food. Some of the uninjured horses that come in but are older come to the ranch usually scared and unsure of who around him can be trusted. So it's not easy to train them, it seems weird to say we have to train horses to be ... a normal horse. I've been against horse racing for the longest time and this was the reason why. Horses deserve to run wild and live their life on a farm if they aren't a mustang that can run free. Life on the farm is better than life running around a track where your only goal in life is to bring in money for your handler and pray you don't get an injured leg. Odd, Do horses pray? I think so. God created them. Seems cruel that God would allow for horses to be abused in such a manner but I think this subject falls under the God's will vs. free will.

Majority of the horses that come with or without injuries usually after a few weeks do come around and recover. Once you've fought for weeks for a horse to simply have an inch of trust in you, it's the most powerful feeling ever. Knowing that just a few weeks ago that animal was more terrified of anything and now is in a phase where the trust in each other is equal, it makes this job worth while. Which is a lot of reasons why I spend more than my "scheduled" hours there. Since they are a privately owned ranch they don't generate all that much funds, once they are able to sell a recovered horse to a farm owner the profit looks good but when you consider how much the ranch costs in property how much food and all the other like is. Not much of a high profit. But they have taught me that the lessons these horses tell you is worth way more than any dollar bill could. And they are right. The ranch also serves a duel purpose, the handlers allow for parents or organizations that work with the Handicap, disabled and the like to bring their clients, children to the ranch and use the horses as therapy.

There was this really brave kid that came in last time I was there, he was 14 and wheel chair bound. He also was mentally handicap, meaning his "mental" age was more or less like that of a 4 year old. The horse we had picked out for him to ride was what i believe to be the best choice. Bryson was scared of the horse instantly, and the Willow (the horse) was scared of him as well which is weird considering how tall Willow stood compared to Bryson. And what broke the ice, I'm not sure we'll know but after about a 5 minute stare off between Bryson and Willow they practically had full trust of each other. It's like in that 5 minutes they were able to see through each other and connect. And that's not the first time I've seen something like that, for lack of better word it's quite magical to witness that.

Aside from me there are 2 others here for Part time work, one is only working here until her court ordered probation period is up. And boy does she make sure she tells you how much she cannot wait for it to be done. Which is really annoying and really sad at the same time because I have only been here a few weeks and it's already taught me more about myself than I thought I knew. Sadly all that wisdom got wasted on her. The other part timer isn't so bad though, she talks to me and has helped me out a lot in the beginning. We're two totally different people but we have the ability to be friends regardless of it. Having that also makes the place you work at or volunteer at a lot more enjoyable and allows you to come back even on scheduled days off.

I suppose I should get to Cash already. I can ramble, I am sorry. The other day when I had just arrived about 2 hours early to work the Ranch Owner, Tucker, asked me if I would help him out. It seems the ASPCA had contacted him about a guy who had 5 horses who were in desperate need of Tucker's help. He was getting the one trailer ready when I had shown up, the other Ranch owner and his brother in law were in New York at a horse convention and he had no help. To transport at least 5 horses we'd need both trailers since by chance you can get at least 3 in a trailer but not 5. So I of course jumped at the chance and grabbed the other truck and trailer and we were off.

When we first arrived we were bombarded by rows of parked police cars, vehicles saying they are from ASPCA, and the like it wasn't that long after that we were able to see the "field" where the horses were being held and we quickly understood why we were also called. 3 out of the 5 horses were so thin, they looked deathly ill, and I'm not talking that you could simply see their ribs and were sleek like a race horse would be no, they were thin enough that I could point out and visibly see all the bones they have. It was extremely hard to look at, the other 2 horses weren't all that thick looking either but did have visible wounds, spots on them and various other marks on them that to someone who knows horses know it as they were being abused. After a bit of standing around I decided to head back to the truck and grab some supplies, grains, buckets to give the obviously starving horses some food and a chance at clean water since their existing water was blacker than the oil in my car. Tucker had gone alongside with the police and the officer with ASPCA to talk to the man who claimed to be the owner of the horses.

That just left me time to stand there and check out the horses and their horrible field they were left upon. Upon walking around the property a bit I noticed a few disgusting things, some dead cat's carcasses and what I think was a dead dog carcass but it was too far gone to really tell. I made the mistake of accidentally walking to close to one of the horses and he freaked out letting me know he's scared and has the power to hurt me at the same time. I quickly backed up and accidentally backed into an officer who asked me what I did. I told him they're scared, they've been abused and are afraid of us even though we were there to help him. My comment made the officer alert to the other officers to back up and approach with extreme caution. Soon after the "owner" came out and was ranting and raving about how he treats his horses just fine and the abuse charges are bogus. Really? Did he really think that was going to fly? In accordance to the one horse that was leaning against the wooden fence the owner claimed the horse was born that way. Like yea, horses are born to lean up against fences and are born to attack someone who calmly walks up to try and help. BULL!

After hearing that the Sheriff (everyone was there) handcuffed and rattled off his rights soon after telling him why he was being charged. That's when we had to begin figuring out how to get the horses in to the trailers. Horses who were terrified of us, it wasn't easy. The police went inside the house and announced they had some loose cats so the majority of the ASPCA officers went in to deal with the cats and left myself, tucker, and a couple sheriff's deputies to deal with the bucking horses. The 3 that were skinny as hell were quite easy to get into the trailers, they didn't really have the energy so sadly that made it easier. For the horse that was laying alongside the fence it was difficult but only because he didn't have the energy to stand up. Luckily, a rather chubby officer (no offense) was able to use his weight in helping to prop the horse up as we guided him to the trailer. We got the three skinny ones in the one trailer that sadly also had room for one more but due to the weight of the leaning one we only left it at 3. Next was the task of getting the other two very scared horses into the remaining trailer. This was difficult and that was known from the start. The one horse a very beautiful all while with a few black spots on her almost had us believing she was going in at first but once up on the ramp she stopped. Tucker had run around to his truck to try and get some hay, sometimes this can help coax them into the truck. We tried to talk her into walking forward, I was brushing the back of her just trying to get her to understand we do not want to hurt her. Like a moron the one Deputy slapped the rump of the horse and she let us know she wasn't having that. She bucked, and got up and was just spazzing out. The one ASPCA officer slapped the deputy on the back of his head and told him to get lost. You NEVER hit a horse, tho during some races they think they can you should never. It accomplishes nothing but fear. It took a lot for us to get this horse to calm down after that and it riled up the other horse even worse so. Upsetting her could have also injured herself on the trailer. We had to start from square one thanks to mr. dippity.

Back at square one was just as difficult since the dippities actions has caused the last remaining horse to get upset. In the end it took several attempts by her to get to the ramp, stop and then she'd back up. You can't show a horse you're getting impatient with her, nor can you take a break and attempt it later. That's showing her you won and then it will never occur. After about 90 some odd minutes she finally made her steps into the trailer and all the way in!! We waited about 10 minutes before roping her side up and letting her know she would be in there until we made it back to Tucker's ranch. She did great, didn't show that she was nervous nor that she wanted out. She basically just started munching down on the hay. I take it that by Tucker and I showing her great patience she soon sought out that we could be trusted with her and weren't going to hurt her. Horses are really intelligent when it comes to sensing out trust and who not to.

The remaining horse wouldn't be as easy. This horse to me was absolutely beautiful despite his skinny appearance and visible wounds, through his eyes I swear you could see all the hurt that had been inflicted on him. He was all black not a single marking of any other colors not even on his mane nor his eyes. It was a bit intimidating also. So much so that none of the officers really wanted to attempt to approach him. When I attempted to approach him to try and wrangle him Tucker yelled out and told me to heed with caution that he was a Stallion and they are known for not taking any abuse. So with that tid bit of knowledge I stepped back, way back. And tried to move closer to him. I'd take a few steps and either he'd take a step back, or he would throw a fit, causing me to step back. We played this dance out for about 45 minutes before he ever allowed me to get close enough to start putting on the halter. My first attempt to do so, failed and failed horribly. I dropped the halter and was too afraid to pick it up, thus leaving myself entirely open to any attacks the horse was going to throw. Luckily, I was able to distract him long enough so Tucker could creep in and pick it up for me.

So once more I tried again. This time my approach was to simply just get close enough for myself to touch him, give him a pet allow him to realize my touch wasn't going to hurt him nor did I have intentions of doing so. It took about 20 more minutes before he allowed me to get close enough to be able to touch him. But then one of the officers coming around the truck spooked him and sent me nearly flying. So we had to start all over again. It got tiring and at points everyone was saying to get someone here to knock him out, or to simply euthanize him due to the condition some of his wounds were in. Luckily, Tucker refused. He told them he was leaving with all horses whether or not the officers stayed. Some left at that point but some did comply to stay and attempt to help us. I think the drastic reduce in number of people helped calm the horse down, also not seeing the owner there had helped some as well. We did the loading No-no and agreed to take a break, you're not supposed to but upsetting this horse wasn't helping neither us, nor him nor the other trailered horses. We also used the break as a time to give the horse fresh feed and some water. We had hoped this would help him feel more that he could trust us.

It didn't work at all, he was apparently too nervous to even attempt to begin eating. He just kept a fixed eye on any of us that were close enough. During that time Tucker walked behind him, way out of the horses view to get a closer look at some wounds he had on his back. Tucker, amazingly, was able to apply Yellow Lotion to the wound in the back and stated for me to cover it up once we got the horse into the trailer. After that we resumed trying to get him into the trailer. After some time I was able to get close enough to the horse to touch him, I softly spoke out to Tucker and told him to get the fleece halter instead, up that close I was able to notice some markings around his face, where the regular leather halter would upset the wounds or hurt him. Tucker was able to easily throw it at me, dropping it at my feet. I slowly bent down to pick it up, the horse didn't move the entire time. I think by this point he was finally get used to myself, and partially to Tucker.

The horse finally allowed me to place the halter on him, and barely flinched as I placed the lead on to it as well. I began talking to him, in the ways Tucker had instructed me to do so with other horses who came to the ranch, trying to ease him and also let him know that I wasn't about to strike harm to him. Slowly, but surely, he began to take with the lead and allow me to walk him out of the corner he was in, and towards the trailer. We got to the trailer, and without announcement the remaining ASPCA officers and deputies cautiously walked away from the truck and trailer, this seemed to calm the horse down some more. At this point I think it was safe to say that the horse was beginning to trust myself and Tucker. But getting him into the trailer would take more patience and time. He like the previous horse would get so close but then back away. Tucker said that he was just "testing" us, seeing how much control he had, and seeing if we would be upset by his defiance. But we didn't. Hell we were just happy he trusted us enough to be led towards the trailer. After a few failed tries, we had once more decided to take another break. Not so much because we were frustrated but because we weren't sure of what our next steps should be. That's when to our surprise our break was much more of something we should have done way before. After Tucker and myself walked away from him and sat down we tried to figure out the best way to get the horse into the trailer. We placed food in the trailer that didn't work, we tried to slightly nudge him in and that didn't work. That's when it happened, the horse just calmly walked into the trailer without myself or Tucker trying to get him in. I guess he finally realized we just wanted to help him and decided to go ahead on in. Once in we didn't jump up and hurry to put the ropes up nor shut the doors we acted still with the most extreme of caution. He may have trusted us at that point but that could have changed at any moment. So after nearly 7 hours all 5 horses were in the trailers and calm enough for us to take off.

Once we arrived at the Ranch, which was about 2 hours later after getting the horses in, and stopping several times to check on the wellbeing of the horses it was an even more feat trying to get the horses out of the trailer and into the fields. Tucker at first had decided to put the 3 skinnies in one field and the other 2 in another. But after carefully thinking about it he figured to leave all 5 together, he figured being around something or someone familiar would help in their recovery. The 3 skinnies were easier to remove from the trailers, including the leaning tower of horsey. We were able to get them in the field, Leany had some trouble due to the snow but made into the stall without incident. The remaining two weren't that easy. The white one didn't really want to be led anywhere and was defiant on several attempts. After enough coaxing though we were able to get her into the stalls, she did stop several times to nibble on the snow on the ground clearly showing us she was thirsty but eating snow wasn't going to help her. So as soon as we got her into the stall we fetched her fresh water, she calmed down pretty much immediately. I'm not sure if it's because she saw we were working with her with basically kid gloves or it was for the fact that the other 3 horses were also okay.

The black horse also gave us a fight. Despite his defiance of not wanting to enter the trailer, he gave us a fight of not wanting to LEAVE the trailer. It was quite ironic but understandable as now he was facing a new field but I am sure certain things were throwing up triggers for him. After another hour and an injury to Tucker, the horse bucked and accidentally kicked Tucker, he was as well placed in the Stalls. It took him a lot to calm down and I think he did only due to being exhausted. After that was done Tucker ordered me to make sure all the horses had fresh hay, fresh water and enough hay in their stalls. He went back to the house to contact the Vet to get the horses checked out and see what our next plan of action should be. We could only give the horses a small portion of food to start out with for the horses that were beyond skinny. To much food at once could cause Colic, horses can't vomit so too much food isn't helping anyone here.

After the phone call out the Vet soon showed up and was equally disgusted by the appearance of all horses. The vet gave us guidelines for how to feed the horses, telling us to stay away from normal feed for a couple of days and he also tended to the wounds they all had. We were instructed to keep the halter off the black horse while the sores went away. It was also quickly discovered that the leaning horse, later named Soldier, had to be Euthanized. His one leg was completely deformed and was apparently saddled to early and had the permanent marks on his back, he would never walk the same again nor could he move without support. Watching this play out in action was one of the most difficult things to see. We named him Soldier because despite the life he led for a while he never gave up that says a lot about who he was. He was eventually buried on a different location on the Ranch.

As time went on the other horses soon became more trusting of myself, Tucker and the other handlers. Everyone was moving along greatly they were even upgraded to normal feeding habits for horses. Everyone except for the black stallion. He would put up such a fight for anything for us, walking, feeding, even tending to the sores he had from improper halters being used. For a while Tucker thought he may have to be euthanized because he believed the horse's mentality would never be that of being able to trust anyone and would cause more harm to himself and others around. But then something happened, and I'm not sure what but after a few days of me constantly being there and being around him, he eventually let up. He allowed me apply lotion to the wounds, allowed me to brush him and simply just let my hands on him. When I told Tucker and then he himself attempted to do the same, the horse freaked. As time went on I was called to the Ranch on more than my days off, usually with Tucker or his wife Lillian telling me they will do anything if I were to come in, because the horse would only respond to me and no one else. I always assured them that I wasn't looking for anything special that I was happy to help them out and more so with this horse. They offered to pay for extra time but I knew the Ranch was struggling as is and even had to fire the one part timer that announced she could have cared less. So taking extra money wasn't in it for me. After time I was able to get the horse to take to my lead, he would run around the field with such an ease, like all his fears just disappeared for him. The biggest feat that we had to cross was someone riding him. I told Tucker one day that I wanted to try it, he was apprehensive to the idea and his brother in law flat out stated that it would be beyond dangerous no matter how much of a trust the two of us had together. But after enough pushing to Tucker I was able to test it and see where we would go. At first the horse wasn't in for it. We're not sure if he's ever been ridden or if he was it may have been a negative experience. The first three times went horribly. The first time stepping up he wanted no part of it, the second two times he threw me on my back to the ground which was easily padded with an abundance of hay laying around. At this point Tucker kept trying to get me to give up, but he knew and I knew I wasn't going to.

I had thought about leaving it alone for a few days but some reason decided against it, and I am glad I did. On the 4th try, I grabbed the saddle and talked to him the entire time. I got up far enough to stand and I immediately felt him disagreeing to my motions, but he didn't do anything and I was able to sit in the saddle. It was quite an amazing feeling but the amazement didn't last long as I prepared myself to be thrown off once again, but he didn't throw me off. Instead he took a stance as if he was ready to go walking. Tucker just stood there in amazement also. Neither of us really knew what to do next, we didn't really expect him to let me do this in the first place. In fact we had set up the space around him so that when he did throw me off I would be protected. I soon after just bent down, wrapped my arms around his neck in a motion to hug him, this motion scared him at first for a bit but he soon eased out of it. I can only imagine the pain that was inflicted on him, he was so scared no matter who it was. Soon after that our rides went easier, he no longer fought me getting on him, nor did he freak out about a simple hug. We spent most times riding around the field, and I was able to utilize him in helping Tucker wrangle up some other horses from another farm that ran amuck on his field. It was truly a great thing.

For a while we thought he was over his fears, but that was quickly turned down when one of Tucker's close friends came by the Ranch. This man screamed at the chance and vowed he was the best Jockey that we could ever be lucky enough to meet. (his words) We told him all about this horse and his loud defiance for anyone, except for me. He ranted and raved about how Tucker just wasn't handling him right and that he guaranteed us that this horse wouldn't afraid of him. So like the smartalec he was, he immediately tried to step on the stirrup to mount the horse. But he got no where, Mr. "I know all horses", was thrown off the horse in a matter of seconds. After another try and the same results he finally went on a rant about how he can't be fixed and how he's going to do more harm than good for this ranch, despite the fact I was able to ride him away.

The one day after I was done making sure everything was completely set up, all fed, all brushed and all cleaned I swung by Tucker's house just to talk to him and see if I could possibly get verification for longer hours. This was needed because my other job had no problems with me having other things scheduled so they could schedule my hours for them around it but I needed verification of it. I've heard people tried to get work schedules worked around "free time". My other place knew I wasn't being paid for more hours on the Ranch but they took it as Volunteer time. And at work, volunteering is huge and they actually work with you more if you opt to volunteer. So Tucker wrote out the form, and told me to have them call if need be. But before I left he asked me one of the greatest questions ever. He asked if I wanted to maintain ownership of the black horse. The question took me back and any obvious answer would be yes but honestly I told him I wanted to but there was no way I could afford ranch fees and upkeep fees. So he told me he would convert my longer hours into hours where I would agree to work for him, not be paid and all amounts I would have been paid will just be applied to my fees. Basically working, to own him. So with that I became the owner of a horse no one else could seem to train.

I asked Tucker why he decided to do it, and he said that the thinks me and the horse have a common bond, which is the reason why he trusts me. The common bond being I know what it's like to be abused by someone you're supposed to trust, and then having that fear and always believing that everyone that comes near you will only treat you the same. Tucker, as a very heavy Indian, believes that the horse and I spoke to each other without spoken words and that is why he trusts me. On the off level it makes sense and it makes everything I had to endure almost worth it to have the chance to help someone else out, even if it is a horse. So after being granted ownership of him Tucker asked me next, "What will you name him?" I hadn't thought about it, most the commands we've used just either didn't use a name or went with the generic "buddy". I took a few minutes and then it hit me, I'll name him Cash. Tucker and his wife looked up at me, unsure of why I would name a horse that. But it didn't take long, I told him he's the horse in black, Johnny Cash was known as the man in black. So his name officially became "Cash". Tucker even went out that day to get his Halter tag to state his name. And his brother in law has been working on mounting his name above his stall and in areas of the Tack room for his other items.

I think Cash likes his name, he seems a lot happier now than he did before. He is actually starting to take to Tucker not freaking out as much, still I am the only one allowed to ride him. It may take time before he trusts someone else and he may never. And while he may not be able to be used for the therapy like the other horses he is still an essential part of this Ranch and has incredible wrangling skills. Cash has found a home, and that is amazing.

I haven't been able to ride Cash much since the car accident, mounting a horse when it hurts to breath is quite difficult. I think he understands it some what but still would like to go on a ride. Hopefully soon I will be able to.

Since that time, the remaining horses gained majority of their weight back, they are still a bit skinny but you can only do so much so fast. They are no longer afraid of us and 2 out of the remaining 4 are even working as Therapy Horses. They have come a long way. The other horse aside from Cash, can't be a therapy horse right now because she is pregnant, with her low weight we are also concerned but are hoping for the best for her and the little one.

Upon gaining this job I at first just thought it would be an easy way to make a couple bucks to help my financial situation but since being here the meaning of this job has gone way beyond anything I could ever expect. I am now responsible for the health and wellbeing of a horse, that is major. But I have also learned more about the cruel world that is horse racing, and the amount of abuse that horses of all types go through. When kids are little some times they wish for a horse, which is great but do you ever realize what really happens to the ponies and horses after their owners grow tired of them? Where the injured race horses go now that they aren't bringing in any money? It's a very scary world out there, and even though there is an abundance of Rescue Ranches there is just not enough to cease the cruelty that is out there. I've seen the videos, I've seen the real life abuse. I've seen a perfectly healthy pony being shot between his eyes because an owner no longer had a need for him so now he can be used for Food. But sadly there isn't much I can do, nor Tucker nor this Ranch. But the little bit we do does help. I may never look at the world the same after taking this job but that may be the best thing for all involved. If you want to get involved I encourage you to do so, and I will also help you do so. Whether it's volunteering time at a rescue ranch, or just learning about the abuse and spreading the knowledge that little bit can do wonders. Helping is huge, and it doesn't involve money.

For other horses who are being treated like Cash was, ignorance isn't going to save them. Time to step up.