Sometimes you need to dare to try, dare to find a meaning…a reason to do more.
You see, my birth father died when I was seven from leukemia. It was very difficult for a young boy to grow up without a dad. I was fortunate enough to have a loving stepfather come into the picture when I was eleven. The first few years were challenging — he was a new “guy” in the house. It was difficult to find common ground between us. That changed for the better when he started to open up and share stories of his time in the military.
My stepfather Minas Palantzas served as a member of the 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (Greece), also known as the Mountain Raider Companies or LOK (Greek: ΛΟΚ — Λόχοι Ορεινών Καταδρομών, Lochoi Oreinōn Katadromōn). He taught me their motto: Who Dares Wins (Ο Tολμών Nικά, O Tolmon Nika) I liked it a lot, simple and to the point! He made sure I understood exactly what that meant: always dare to try and to remember that even in failure lies victory. As a kid, I didn’t really get the “victory in failure” concept, but he explained how failure can show us where things went wrong and how to course correct. That phrase became a moral compass of sorts to me and remains a mantra. I got those very words tattooed across my back so, in a sense, my Pops always has my back.
A moment that hit me hard was January 19th, 2018. That was the day we buried my stepfather, a man who had been a father to me for 33 years. In a strange coincidence of fate, it was the same day that my birth father had died and that has been the most devastating day I’ve ever experienced. How and why would I dare anything? I was a mess.
I thought about my stepdad. He had been such a huge part of my life, we had many memories together. He was there to meet my wife and two children. I recall how we would always watch “Surviving the Cut” on TV, I could see the smile of a strapping 20 something from his time in the Army. I also recall a time when I managed to get him and my mother a tour of the Pentagon, he came to tears when we went down the hallway honoring veterans. He was always keen about honoring the past and the people involved. He taught me to associate with like-minded people; in his words, find those that are leaders (and can be led), find those with grit, determination, honor, and respect.
I made this patch to honor my stepfather and designed a GORUCK ruck club event so that Fort Mill Ruck Club and I could host events to honor my Pops. We are looking to bring this event to others within the GORUCK community so more can share his dedication to dare to win. I suppose this is one of the many reasons why the GORUCK community and I fit so well. I sure wish my Pops could have seen some of the crazy stuff we do, the level of detail and honor our Cadre give each event.
These events and this patch, they are therapy for me. I miss him every day. Doing these types of things is an antidepressant in a way. I am daring to do something different, keeping my moral compass in the direction I need it to be in… finding peace in hardship… Just like he taught me.
– Terry P.
So what will you dare to win, dare to try, dare to be? Join Terry and members of the Steel City Ruck Club in Pittsburgh on June 25, 2022. We will host a GORUCK ruck club community event in honor of Pops to share his story, his logic, and his passion. Click here for more information on the event.