Flippin' the Switch

S4 E7: No Barriers - A Leap of Faith with Dave Mastin

September 11, 2023 Jones-Onslow EMC Season 4 Episode 7
S4 E7: No Barriers - A Leap of Faith with Dave Mastin
Flippin' the Switch
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Flippin' the Switch
S4 E7: No Barriers - A Leap of Faith with Dave Mastin
Sep 11, 2023 Season 4 Episode 7
Jones-Onslow EMC

On this episode of Flippin' the Switch, Meet Dave Mastin, a retired Marine Corps member who shares his exhilarating time taking a leap of faith with the No Barriers program. He discusses the once-in-a-lifetime experience embarking on this special trip and how this opportunity allowed him to continue his transformative journey from military to civilian life. Dave, an outdoors enthusiast, draws us into his world of long-distance hiking, rock-climbing , and his adventures - all while keeping his commitment to the Marine Corps alive. His story is a testament to the strength and determination that resides in all of us.

Don't forget to stick around for the Watts Happening segment of the episode for energy efficiency tips, event announcements, and more ways to stay plugged into what's going on this month at JOEMC. 

Run time: 19 min

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this episode of Flippin' the Switch, Meet Dave Mastin, a retired Marine Corps member who shares his exhilarating time taking a leap of faith with the No Barriers program. He discusses the once-in-a-lifetime experience embarking on this special trip and how this opportunity allowed him to continue his transformative journey from military to civilian life. Dave, an outdoors enthusiast, draws us into his world of long-distance hiking, rock-climbing , and his adventures - all while keeping his commitment to the Marine Corps alive. His story is a testament to the strength and determination that resides in all of us.

Don't forget to stick around for the Watts Happening segment of the episode for energy efficiency tips, event announcements, and more ways to stay plugged into what's going on this month at JOEMC. 

Run time: 19 min

Speaker 1:

Welcome listeners to the latest edition of J O E M C's podcast, flipping the switch. We've got a great show for you. This episode, crystal Phillips will be talking with Dave Mastin. Dave is a J O E M C member but, as important, he represented Jones-Onslow at the no Barriers Expedition out in Colorado and that's a program that we partner with Cobank, one of our lending partners with, and Dave got exposed to some pretty awesome stuff out there and he's going to be with Crystal sharing that. And then, following that, natalie O'Danney will be telling folks what's happening around the co-op. So stay tuned for that as well. So with that, let's start flipping the switch.

Speaker 2:

Welcome back, guys, to flipping the switch. Today we have Dave Mastin and he is here to talk to us about our no Barriers program. Dave, welcome to our podcast, thank you. So let's talk about a little bit of your background. Prior to no Barriers, you were in the military. Could you tell us what branch of service you were in and how many years you served?

Speaker 4:

Sure, I was in the Marine Corps for 32 years not quite 32 years, but it's a long time 32 years is like.

Speaker 2:

Did you finally say I'm going to retire?

Speaker 4:

No, actually the Marine Corps finally said thanks for your service. Here's your walking pavers have a nice life.

Speaker 2:

Okay, well, I hope you're having a great life now after retirement. It's not terrible.

Speaker 4:

That's good.

Speaker 2:

You have embraced retirement.

Speaker 4:

If I had known it would be this good, I would have retired when I was 19.

Speaker 2:

I hear you. I live in the dream, that's good. So can you tell us about like your years of service, like what were your specialties while you were in the Marine Corps?

Speaker 4:

Sure, I started out as a. I was a truck mechanic, we would call it a 35-21 and there's a technical title for that. I transitioned to the war officer ranks and I retired as a chief war officer five. So my specialty was ground transportation maintenance. But of course the Marine Corps tends to assign you where they want you when they want you there. So I've endabbled in a lot of other things. Oh, I'm sure I'm walking on throughout my career.

Speaker 2:

Was I tasking, Sort of yeah. So, when you decided to retire, whenever you actually retired from the Marine Corps. What was that kind of transition into the civilian world like for you?

Speaker 4:

It was a little strange. We were just coming out of COVID. The world was still a little isolated. I knew that I wanted change, in the sense of I wanted to walk away from what I had done for the better part of my adult well, really my whole adult life. But I suddenly found myself a little lost in the sense of losing the camaraderie and teamwork that I was used to every day. Was your solid group for over 30 years.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And a little bit of my purpose for getting out of bed in the morning, honestly.

Speaker 2:

So whenever you made that transition, kind of, you had that awakening of like what's going to be next? What did you feel like was going to be next, once you kind of settled into that new world?

Speaker 4:

Well, initially my retirement plan involved a lot of travel, some hiking and….

Speaker 2:

And reading, I'm sure, sure.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, as I alluded to before we got on the air there, I do enjoy reading, so a lot of the books that I had spent some time reading involved long distance hiking and travel. Unfortunately, I've had some health setbacks between both myself and my wife, so we haven't given up that plan yet, but we've had to adjust and make some alternative… yeah, some different plans. It's kind of through a wrench in my retirement gears, if you will I hear you Now?

Speaker 2:

whenever you kind of were looking at options and, like you said, some of the things had changed on what you thought your retirement might look like, you saw our program for no barriers. What seemed appealing to you about that?

Speaker 4:

So it's funny you should ask. Actually, I didn't know anything about no barriers. I was nominated by one of your employees, so shout out to Gail Osbeck. Yes, thank you, gail. Gail is married to one of my best friends, bob, and, unbeknownst to me, she set this in motion and once I was selected… Then, you know, it kind of came. The cat was out of the bag, if you will, yeah, and then I started to learn a little bit more about it.

Speaker 2:

Well, it seems like it was a good surprise.

Speaker 4:

It was. It was absolutely good surprise.

Speaker 2:

Now our program for no barriers for our listeners that may not know about it it is a seven. It can be a five to seven day expedition out in Colorado. Our program is exclusively for veterans that are to have some sort of disability rating. So when you go to Colorado, I have learned a lot from Dave in this process that there are three phases for it. So can you tell us a little bit about like one skill Nominated you and you were surprised and said, okay, I guess I'm doing this. What kind of sparked an interest for you?

Speaker 4:

Well, she told me a little bit about it on the phone. She knows that I'm outdoors oriented and Some of the opportunities that were available we're kind of right up my alley. I Wasn't immediately. It wasn't a done deal when Gail informed me. I still had to fill out an application on my own, had to be approved medically and several other Things throughout the process, with no barriers themselves.

Speaker 4:

That would be part of that phase one that people would go through correct, and so then, once I was Completely accepted, we got a schedule of some Teleconference type meetings you meet, your, your group, that's gonna be. Prior to going okay so we would meet every Thursday night for about six weeks I think. Every week there was a home. This is phase one, so every week there was a little bit of homework, if you will. Okay, and you know, nor barriers is headquartered in Colorado, very mountainous and yes, door Environment.

Speaker 4:

So these, the rope team analogy, it's a, it's a very mountaineering centric Concept. So your group that you go out there and do your expedition with, that's your rope team, at least for the purpose of of that unit. That you're correct, at least for the purpose of that experience and then you can choose to to maintain those relationships Later or or not.

Speaker 4:

But the idea in phase one is to understand a little bit about how no barriers is gonna Help you come up with a plan for the future and execute that plan and also to build that, that support, so that you're not a complete stranger With your team when you which is great, because that kind of takes away that initial part of like it kind of being awkward.

Speaker 2:

When you first all get together, I would think after six to seven weeks you kind of feel like you know them before you get there for sure.

Speaker 4:

I said teleconference to it was actually video.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah.

Speaker 4:

It wasn't zoom, but it was a zoom like I don't remember that. But you knew kind of what you know.

Speaker 2:

If that was Natalie, you knew what they looked like, so that was good service, familiar Now. You had mentioned you went in July. What were the dates and where did you go?

Speaker 4:

So we flew from here to Denver on the 6th, got off the plane and that day we went straight to Fort Collins I picked up some team gear and individual gear, if you needed any and then right up to their their base camp it's located on the north edge of the Arapaho National Forest, in between, I think, livermore, colorado or something like that and the Red Feather Lakes.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure it's a spectacular area.

Speaker 4:

It was amazing.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I know photos do not do it justice in my mind.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and then we were there for three days and then I flew back here on the 10th of July.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so for that, for anyone that's listening that trip is all paid for. So co-bank, our generous sponsor, handles all of that for Whoever goes, and Dave was a lucky one to go this time with that. How do you feel like that adventure like changed you, like what led you to go down that path and like continue on phase 3?, like do you have any takeaways from it? I do so.

Speaker 4:

Um, while you're there I mean there's, it's very outdoor-centric and you do a few Different mini. Well, he's had the base camp experience, so each day was a different, different mini adventure, if you will. But you spend time with your team each day talking about different, different aspects of the no barriers lifestyle, and the idea is that you can Identify where you want your life to go and then formulate a plan and some support to do that. That's something I'm kind of still working on, but think we all are.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like when you were there. That's part of it is. You do all of these things as a group, like what kind of activities, along with some of the stuff where you guys doing to kind of form that bond.

Speaker 4:

Well, so the first day we were scheduled to go on a hike that I was really looking forward to to a lake. Unfortunately, this year had some strange weather in Colorado.

Speaker 2:

It certainly did yes.

Speaker 4:

The roads were, some of them impassable, flooded and so forth. We ended up with a vehicle stuck in the mud. The short story is we went on a hike, not the one we were scheduled for. By the time we got everything squared away in a little side story some four-wheeling folks that were out, RV camping and riding four-wheelers in the forest. There they actually went and got some privately owned vehicles and came out and helped get us squared away and everything.

Speaker 2:

That was nice yeah.

Speaker 4:

And you know, complete strangers helping strangers. It kind of restored a little bit of faith in humanity.

Speaker 2:

For sure. Well, it kind of like feeds into the whole theory of what you guys are there for too.

Speaker 4:

So you know, to try to make lemonade out of lemons, if you will. Although we didn't do the scheduled event, we had to come together as a team, lift each other up. People respond to adversity in different ways, so there was a lot of internal support within any of us. As a group of strangers, we'd known each other physically for less than 24 hours, so basically we turned that into a learning experience unto ourselves and made a positive out of a negative, and that was kind of day one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it sounds like day one started with the bang, for sure it did so.

Speaker 4:

Day two, we did some rock climbing. Again, the weather was not cooperative, so there was a mountain rock face that we were scheduled to climb and descend. We had to cancel that portion due to hail and rain, but we did get to spend some time on a ropes course. It's interesting to strap yourself into a harness and connect it to a rope, to a complete stranger, and essentially your life is in their hands.

Speaker 2:

Now. Did you have any experience with these types of activities prior to going?

Speaker 4:

I had a little. Yes, I did a little climbing when I was a teenager and then I've been to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center twice, so I had a little bit of experience. I'm certainly not an expert. More of I tried it once or twice.

Speaker 2:

I think I got this.

Speaker 4:

To be perfectly honest with you, I am not a big fan of heights, so that was a little bit of a personal challenge to overcome, and also I was the only Marine veteran there. I think there were two two army, one Air Force and everybody. I'm sorry, two Navy, one Air Force and everybody else was army Out of our initial crew was about 15. Wow, through phase one and then only 12 of us showed up in Colorado. I don't know why the others opted out, but yeah, so there was a little bit of pressure.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 4:

The Marines are typically full of ourselves and we're the best.

Speaker 2:

You feel obligated, just ask anybody. Absolutely, you wanted to make sure everyone knew you were there.

Speaker 4:

Well, I didn't want to necessarily draw the attention of myself, positive or negative, but I certainly didn't want to represent my own service in a bad light. And there was certainly that inner service ribbing and rivalry, so it was good. The culminating event that morning was called the leap of faith. So you had to climb what was essentially a telephone pole jump off of a platform at the top of it.

Speaker 2:

I'm a little fearful just hearing you say that, and then catch a trapeze. Oh, so how'd that go? So I did it.

Speaker 4:

But actually everybody went up the platform and made the attempt. I think there were three or maybe four of us that actually catch a trapeze.

Speaker 2:

Yes, ma'am See way to go. Marine Corps.

Speaker 4:

And then the man that was belaying us lowered us gently to the ground. But yeah, it was not fun. It was fun afterward.

Speaker 2:

But you did it and you were proud of yourself, so that's a good thing, and you have a story to tell.

Speaker 4:

I do.

Speaker 2:

Which is great. Now you're in phase three of your time, with no barriers. Can you tell us a little bit about that, because that was news to me that there was a post-trip.

Speaker 4:

So in phase one we went over the elements, if you will, of the no barriers lifestyle and, as you build your rope team and try to come up with a plan for your way ahead, with whatever it is you want to do with your life, a lot of those concepts are new, so they're reiterated. In phase two, you're using your team as your support on your expedition and then, when you go into phase three, you revisit that plan you started to formulate in phase one and try to tie some of those things back together so that it makes a little bit more sense with Did it make more sense with you?

Speaker 4:

It did so, for example and there's no right or wrong answer. It varies for everybody. But one thing that one of the immediate goals that I came up with was just to improve my health and fitness. I tend to try to stay on top of that. I got a little lazy in retirement.

Speaker 2:

Not completely. It happens to us all.

Speaker 4:

I'm battling with some physical stuff that's an obstacle unto itself. So, for example, one of your rope team members is your Sherpa. He's like the expert, the guide that's going to help you accomplish whatever your goal is, and so I know a little bit about this sort of thing, but I'm my own worst enemy. I'm probably a halfway decent coach and a terrible student, so I needed a sanity check from the guy that I picked as a which is nice to have that person.

Speaker 4:

I needed somebody to tell me the way. It is not what I wanted to hear, and he did that. And everybody needs a person like that. Honestly, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You get to give lip service all day, but it's not really what you need to hear. Correct? Yeah, it seems like all three phases they had their connections, but they definitely had different points to kind of guide you down different paths. Now for veterans that are in our service area of Jen's Onslow would you encourage them to apply for this program?

Speaker 4:

Absolutely so. It was a worthwhile experience. I have made lifelong friends even in that short period of time. As a matter of fact, one of my teammates lives in Michigan and was here a week ago A week ago today actually I had breakfast with him.

Speaker 2:

That's great, those connections.

Speaker 4:

And then I have a friend in Texas that we hold each other accountable for similar goals. We message each other daily.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, Well, I would definitely say it's a trip of a lifetime for you and also one of those things that it won't end just because you took one trip. It sounds like it's going to last for quite some time. So for members that are interested in applying for no Barriers, they can visit joemccom slash community, slash no Barriers, or just go to the search bar and put no Barriers, or you may have a gale out there and somebody might nominate you.

Speaker 2:

But we certainly look for members that are interested in being in this program. It's one of the nice things that we have here as an electorate cooperative for folks to be able to participate in something that's helpful to them, helpful to the community that they're involved in and grow eternally forever. So we encourage all members to check it out. And thanks, dave, for being on our podcast.

Speaker 4:

You're quite welcome. Thank you for having me and thank you for sponsoring me.

Speaker 2:

Oh, you're quite welcome, thanks.

Speaker 5:

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Speaker 3:

Hello everyone, I'm Natalie Oldoni and I'm here to talk about what's happening at the co-op this month. Our Touchstone Tailgate events begin on Friday, september 15, at Richland High School and will be taking place throughout the football season at a school near you. Join us for some fun giveaways and free food before the games begin. Check out our social media pages for more information on which games we will be attending.

Speaker 3:

National Drive Electric Week is September 22 through October 1. This event aims to spread awareness about the many advantages of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. And great news for our members you can receive a rebate from Jones-Onslow when you install a Level 2 charger. Head over to our website and view our EnergyWise page for more information. And, last but not least, our Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month. Did you know fall is the perfect time to schedule a tune-up for your heating system? Home heating accounts for a large portion of winter energy bills and no matter what kind of system you have, you can save energy and money by maintaining your equipment. Winter will be here before you know it, so don't forget to check on those heating systems. Stay in the know on all things JOEMC by reading our monthly spotlight newsletter on our website. And there you have it, folks. That's what's happening here at Jones-Onslow.

Speaker 1:

Well, folks, that'll do it for this episode of Flipping the Switch Until next time. If you don't currently follow us on Facebook, instagram or any of our other social media channels, consider doing so. It's the best way to keep informed about what's going on with your cooperative. Thanks again.

Retiree's Journey With No Barriers Program
Rock Climbing and Overcoming Personal Challenges
Heating Tune-Up and Energy Saving Tips