This was a magical experience that I believe will bring She Never Quit into an ongoing effort for the WOMA, beyond the genesis of the once a year event. It is a cousin of the military ethos to “leave no man behind”.
As Deb Ferns, founder of the WOMA stated “Our goal was always to have a unique event that would make a significant difference and continue our ongoing message of women and firearms. We found our home working with Melanie Luttrell and Team Never Quit.”
To me, She Never Quit not only addresses a life changing event that you battle through, but the continued fight to grab all the shards and glue them back together and transcend the day to day, the imperative to temper that hardship with resolve to not only survive but thrive. This applies to every woman I know and we were able to be part of the process through Julie and Tiggs, through the grace and welcome of Melanie, and through additional conversations among ourselves. Women face some unique challenges, and this in no way diminishes men as they have different challenges, and all together we have human challenges. This is not a competition, as Julie said.
Here is a snapshot of a woman we were lucky enough to spend time with, learning self defense. She was there with Jessica Adanich of Mace, one of our SNQ sponsors.
Here’s her story:
Julie Werhnyak was a Tempe police officer with 19 years on the job when she was stabbed by a 26 year old man, less than an inch from her carotid artery. She had answered a call, a welfare check, concerning a young woman. What they later learned was the woman’s boyfriend had held her hostage for 3 days; she was bound, beaten, and stabbed. Julie was the tip of the spear as the police rammed the door, and went in clearing the rooms. The man burst out with a hunting knife as she rounded a corner, and stabbed her. Julie was able to fire 2 shots at him, and gathered her mental wits, despite her physical injury, to escape the situation.
Julie was prepared every day she went to work, reminding herself “I expect and accept I will be involved in a lethal encounter today and I will do everything I can to ensure my survival.” She did exactly that, and yet the media focused on the fact that she was a martial arts expert. Indeed, she was on the national Tae Kwon Do team twice but that is not an immunity shot against life’s terrible situations.
Women like Julie and Tiggs, a SEAL wife who lost her 4 year old to cancer, have an iron will to survive and shared lessons learned while finding their way through life altering situations.
What makes this a unique event is more than the fact there are many quietly strong women who have gravitated here…it is the acceptance of the fact that no matter how strong you are, it is a spiritual vacation to accept there are people right there beside you, ready to lend a hand when you need it, eager to lift some of that burden.
Read Julie’s story firsthand in the two part post which will be posted on the WOMA.