A military friend needs our help. Many of you know CJ Grisham, and if you don’t, let me tell you the kind of man he is. On his own, he began “They Have Names“, a blogsite that honors the memory of our fallen soldiers.
In the words of a friend and fellow brother in arms:
As a fellow military blogger, what can I say about CJ Grisham? He’s been a friend to me since 2004/2005 when I blogged from Afghanistan and he and I have remained friends ever since. He has dedicated himself over the years to telling the story of the military from the soldier’s perspective, which says a lot in terms of him as a person.
While many bloggers who launch a site, more often than not will stop writing, CJ has kept up with military blogging year after year after year but ultimately made the decision to shut down his popular military blog A Soldier’s Perspective. All I can say is that it was disappointing to learn that news not too long ago, and though I don’t know everything firsthand about the circumstances of his situation – I would vouch for my friend anytime.
“It has been my honor and pleasure to be a part of the VA Mortgage Center team through my involvement with the You Served blog as a writer and You Served Radio as a host.
We’ve raised thousands of dollars through the You Served eBay store and this blog for very worthy causes, including Fisher House and Soldiers Angels’ Valour-IT project. All of the proceeds go directly to a military charity.
While I have no problem asking for money to support these efforts, I’ve always been very bashful about asking for anything for myself. However, I feel like I must humble myself and ask for help on my own behalf in this instance.
In September, my kids brought home a note from their school stating that the school would transition to uniforms beginning in January — midway through the school year. Naturally, this concerned me as the cost for each kid (I have two who would be affected) would be at least $400. A note home to parents assured us that the principal would entertain concerns during the upcoming “uniform fashion show.” However, the principal ended that meeting without answering a question, even though numerous hands were up. After that meeting, I organized parents with concerns and began a letter-writing and phone-calling campaign to members of the school board and media. We succeeded in getting the uniform issue tabled until next year. But parents still weren’t given a voice about whether we even wanted uniforms.
Instead of deal with me and other parents who disagreed with her new policy, the school’s principal began contacting the Army with fictitious complaints that I had threatened her. She pointed to posts on my personal blog about her behavior at the meeting as proof. However, after being referred to military investigators, they concluded that I had never issued any threats through email, blog or otherwise. I collected letters from other parents attesting to my behavior at the meeting.
Unfortunately, the Army took what the principal was saying at face value and formally counseled me. Suddenly, I was a trouble maker after 15 years of honorable service. The Army practically forced me to shut down my blog, though the decision was mine alone and no orders were given to do it.
At a PTA meeting a few weeks later, I again tried to present a motion to discuss the school uniform issue with the members of the association. It was shot down by the principal and the PTA president. I was harassed the entire evening by school security officials. Thankfully, I decided it would be prudent to record that meeting. When school officials again began contacting the Army about my supposedly threatening and disrespectful behavior at the meeting, I published the video on my blog to clear my name. This didn’t sit well with school officials and only emboldened them to step up their claims and use the military to force me to take down the videos — the only piece of evidence I had to prove my innocence.
The principal even used my PTSD to try and bolster her claims that I was a dangerous menace to her and her goals.
Because of these actions, I am pursuing a lawsuit to clear my name and force the school system to admit they overstepped their bounds by denying my right to participate in my children’s education and attempt to ruin my career. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to tackle this sort of lawsuit on my own. Because of this situation, my wife and I felt the need to relocate our kids after being singled out on more than one occasion by teachers and school staff. We took our kids to live with their grandparents until my orders allowed me to relocate in December. That trip cost us over $1,400, plus another $1,500 in maintenance on our elderly van, which completely wiped out our savings.
So, I’m asking if you’ll help me. I need to raise $7,000 just to pay for the retainer and initial filing of the lawsuit.
I am reaching out through various avenues to help raise the money. I’ve enlisted the help of local media, talk shows and blogs to help me raise the money. Fellow milbloggers are reaching into their pockets and tapping their readers as well. My neighbors and local Huntsville citizens are donating to a local fund at a bank where I’m stationed.
In one week, I move to Fort Hood for the next stage of my military service. I need to at least have the retainer and initial fees raised before I leave. Anything you can do is much appreciated no matter how small.
There are a few ways you can help. On my blog, there is a Paypal link that can used to send money instantly through a debit or credit card. All money sent through that link will go into this fund. You can also mail checks or money orders to:
Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893
Please write “Grisham Legal Fund” in the memo line if you use this option.
This has been an especially difficult time for my family as we’ve been separated from our kids for over a month. We look forward to reuniting with them for Christmas. This case is not about me versus the school district. It’s about parental rights and the limits of our educators in dealing with parental concerns, especially when those parents are in the military.
Thank you in advance and God bless you all during this holiday season.