Greg Bicknell was born in Richmond, Kentucky. He graduated from Madison Southern High School in 1990, entering the United States Air Force the very next month. Following a distinguished career that led him to the highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant, he was medically retired in 2019. Greg presently resides in Lakeland, Florida with his beautiful wife and two girls, 18 and 20 respectively.
As a USAF veteran with a strong background in strategic leadership, executive-level communication, and team development, Greg is intent on utilizing his skill set to lead the nonprofit community into a new world of possibilities, partnerships, and collaboration. He has an Associates of Applied Science in Instructor of Technology and Military Science as well as a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education Training and Development. He is a Certified Life Coach, Air Force Wounded Warrior Ambassador, and Recovering Airman Mentor to name a few.
Additionally, Greg is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trained, and is currently serving as the Executive Vice President of Veterans and Uniformed Personnel Engagement at Family And Leadership Life Skills Adventures where he intends on adding his personal brand to their already amazing program. He is the Founder of Camaraderie Rescue Mission Inc and CEO of Camaraderie Coffee Club and Exchange.
We talk about the following and many more items
What is mental health
His brain surgery
Being an Air Force wounded warrior advisor
His non profits
Jason Cavness Greg, can you tell us what you do as an Air Force wounded work Ambassador?
Greg Bicknell As an ambassador, we go to different Military bases, and we promote Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. This program is all about empowerment, transition, recovering airman mentor, wellness, and resiliency. It’s basically about making people thrive and making people connect.
Jason Cavness Greg, what advice do you have for people getting out of the military, in this day and age?
Greg Bicknell When in the military, never turn down a training opportunity. Get that education and actual experience. Go to the TAPS - Transition Assistance Program a year out and understand what your options are and go through the program again, six months out and once again four months out, so you understand what is in store for you. Never undervalue education and networking.
Biggest thing is education, have a plan and be prepared and do due diligence on the research that you did for the plan that you put together to see if what you chose is the correct career path for you.
Jason Cavness Can you talk about running a nonprofit? Is running a nonprofit like running a business?
Greg Bicknell It is a business. The only difference is, with a nonprofit, you must spend the money on what you say you're going to spend on, with a business, there is a lot of latitude. So, if it's a veteran, nonprofit, and that's what my charter says, I'm bound by that. When you do the carryover, you don't distribute. I can't distribute my earnings or distribute what I have in the bank account at the end of the year because we did such a great job. That just means we can do a better job next year.
Jason Cavness Greg, how do you prioritize? If there are 30 things to do, how do you know what to do when?
Greg Bicknell What we do is we literally look at what has the most reach and the most expanse. And right now, what that is, is making sure that the folks that need help get the help that they need. And the way that I've done that is so with camaraderie rescue mission, we focus on horses, barbecue, and water. I want the professionals of people that do it on a regular basis to come in and do it. And so we support these foundations that help us achieve our goals, we work together, and we promote them. The way that we determine 1,2,3 or 4, is by looking at the place, the location that we're going, looking at what's required in that location, doing some of our research to say, here's where the struggles are at, maybe it's financial, maybe there's been a drought, maybe there's been something else, and then we connect with the people of that community? And that's how we just and then it's from there, we just kind of, you know, set up our team, and let God point us in the right direction. We go and show up and we bring the community together.
Jason Cavness Greg, how did you get started with your non-profit and what is your big, audacious goal for moving forward?
Greg Bicknell In 2020, a day after Christmas, on my Facebook, there were seven badges that had this black stripe on which meant that someone had passed away. On December 26th, is when I decided to quit my current job and start a non-profit. The thing that we miss about military is camaraderie, so I named my non-profit, Camaraderie Rescue Mission. I don't have a big building. I have a big, audacious goal. We want to do equine demonstrations that aid in therapy and work with folks with PTSD.
We want to travel to where people can show up for one, three or five days, and we put it in a church parking lot, or we do it on location like at the instruct therapy. We want people to come out and get the services they need. It could be therapy, it could be canines, it could be horses, equine therapy, or water activities. We make sure that we have those subject matter experts and we have built a good team and every day we are adding to it. And that's the goal. The goal is to be connected in all States and around the world. So that when folks have a concern that they feel comfortable to come to us and feel that they are a part of our organization. You can view the nonprofit as treatment or as coaching.
Greg’s Social Media
Greg’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-bicknell/
Love the ones that you're with and love the ones that you're around. Just be true to yourself and true to others. Use your gifts and talents to be a blessing to others and to give. But most importantly,take care of yourself first. There's no wrong and that there's nothing wrong with saying I need to take any.
There's nothing wrong with saying I need a little bit of help, or I need just a moment. Because I think that when you get to that point, don't be afraid to reach out. If you don’t have anyone, reach out to me and give me a shot.
My suggestion is take care of yourself first and then make sure that you use your gifts and talents to be a blessing to those around you.
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