By T. Anthony BellDecember 20, 2012
PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (Dec. 20, 2012) -- Capt. Lee Stuckey, an active duty Marine and professional mixed martial arts fighter, said he is proof that anyone can be affected by the horrors of war.
"…With me being a captain and professional athlete and still having issues with suicide and problems with post traumatic stress, I knew that there were Marines and Soldiers and other service members who were also dealing with the same issues."
His personal experiences and a willingness to help led Stuckey to support and organize a number of efforts to support wounded warriors. The Day of the Warrior held Dec. 14-15 at Prince George High School was one such occasion. Its featured event, an MMA seminar, included an emerging UFC fighter and MMA instructors and competitors from the surrounding communities and beyond.
The event served to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention and other issues that affect veterans, but Stuckey said he also "wanted to branch out and reach out to people from the local areas." The 32-year-old, who has logged several deployments, is a current Army Logistics University student and founder of America's Heroes and Joint Recreation Outdoors, a charitable non-profit organization that supports veterans causes. "We wanted to show the local community we care and also reach out to the high schools.where there are a lot of issues with suicide."
A Day of the Warrior was originally scheduled to take place at the ALU combatives facility, but a last minute change moved the event to the PGHS gymnasium. The participants numbered about 30 and were comprised of active duty permanent party personnel, ALU students, local and post civilians and Family members.
Seminar participants were provided with basic hands-on instruction involving techniques from boxing, jujitsu and other fighting forms. Marcus "The 'Bama Beast" Brimage, a UFC fighter and Air National Guardsman based in Florida, was one of the instructors. He said his appearance for the occasion was something of a natural fit.
"It feels pretty good to be here," he said during a break in the instruction. "It's a lot easier for me because I'm an NCO. I'm up here cracking (joking) with officers and not getting in trouble about it. It feels good to come back and share and be around officers and be viewed as an equal."
Brimage said that although he is closely connected with the military -- his father and brother are both active duty Army officers -- he couldn't fathom the military's suicide problem until he began meeting wounded warriors who had lost limbs and suffered other visible wounds. He knew more had to be done.
"It's a good thing that Lee Stuckey came out and did this because it demonstrates that you never know what servicemen and women are thinking," he said. "We just have to be here for them because they are fighting for our country.
Prior to the seminar, a Toys for Tots donation and 5k run took place at the PGHS parking lot. More than 30 boxes of toys were collected, said Stuckey. Another related event occurred on Dec. 14 when Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter and Staff Sgt. Glen Silva, both wounded in Southwest Asia, spoke to ALU units about service and sacrifice, he added.
Plans for a similar Day of the Warrior event in February are already in the works, said Stuckey. It may include an actual UFC fight and will be geared to the post advanced individual training population.