I bet you are wondering what in blazes Angel Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, was doing in West Virginia? Hell, I’d ask the same thing! When Team Ninja boss man, Wayne Dupree, invited me to speak at the town of Logan, my first question was, “Do they allow Puerto Rican people in West Virginia?” My experiences have led me to the conclusion that there are places in America where people like me should not go. Ironically, I learned that while serving in the U.S. Air Force!
Naturally, I thought I’d have the same type of experience coming out so deep in West Virginia. Well, my friends, I have never been more wrong. Once we arrived, we met some members from the “Sons of the Second” for dinner. We agreed to go for Mexican food. Moments after being introduced to the team, Shaun looks over at me, and he says, “Look, I’m not racist, but are we eating Mexican food because of you, Angel?” That’s when I fell in heterosexual man love with this guy. That really set the tone for the evening. We all discussed politics, some of our personal life stories and experiences, and we joked around a hell of a lot. After such a long two part trip, we had a blast having dinner with these guys.
The town itself was very small, but what it lacks in physical size it makes up for in good, wholesome, hospitality and charm. Everyone knows each other. They all have each other’s back. In contrast, the building across the street from me, has as many, or more inhabitants than the entire town, and I couldn’t name one single soul. How sad is that?
During the event at the airport, it was absolutely amazing to see so many veterans, patriots, and God-loving Americans in one place at the same time. People that are like minded are very rare in NYC, so for me this was a welcomed experience. I have never felt this kind of warmth and kindness from people that don’t know me, simply for being a proud American! This was my very first speech at an event of this nature. All things considered, I think I did a good job. The audience seemed to enjoy my speech, and a few people came up to me and shook my hand after I was done.
As the day continued, another treat that we had was flying in a helicopter. You guys must check out our friends at MARPAT aviation! There was even more, though: I got to drive a large-size ATV, too! Oh, but our friends, the “Sons of the Second”, were not quite done. “Angel; you wanna make some noise? We have some big guns here.” Hell yeah I wanna make some noise! That was a blast, (literally) and just another example of how generous these folks in West Virginia are.
I hadn’t realized it, but the only speakers at this event, were Team Ninja members. That was a great honor, and I am proud that for my first patriotic speaking engagement, I could be a part of such a great event. We’ll be back, West Virginia! Next time I’ll fly in though, fourteen hours on the road is rough.