Over 60 brethren of the Mark and Craft degree in Devon joined the meeting with Brethren from across the border in Cornwall and from far flung outposts such as the Isle of Man, to hear how Mark viewed and managed his recovery. R.W.Bro. Peter Balsom thanked everyone for their attendance at this the Fifth Zoom Talk, the second by Mark Ormrod and began with a minutes silence in respect for His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, former Captain General of the Royal Marines. W.Bro. Martin Lambert-Gorwyn then introduced Mark to the audience as an inspirational athlete and now a social media star, fundraiser and Freemason.
Mark then gave a brief recap of the incident and set the scene for his arrival at Selly Oak Hospital on Christmas Day with his catastrophic injuries. His survival had been due to the prompt First Aid given by his team in the field, the staff in the Military Hospital and on the evacuation flight. He also mentioned the resuscitation he had undergone during the time. So, at the age of 24, he arrived in Birmingham in a coma, full of pain relieving medication, drifting in and out of consciousness and trying to get to terms with what had happened to him. Mark then related to us the stages that he recognised throughout this period of recovery and made the point that every person is different, no two situations can be the same and no two individuals can react in the same way. There may be similarities he noted, but essentially we all do things differently, in different time scales with different outcomes.
Stage One: The immediate aftermath, the acceptance that things had changed in a major way and the realisation that there are 'opinions' and 'facts'. Mark recounted meeting with two individuals, one who expressed an 'opinion' of Mark's chances of recovering and the other person presenting some real 'facts' about what could be done based on experience and determination. This led to Mark's Stage Two: Developing a Perspective. Mark and been isolated following the incident and subsequent immediate treatment. The isolation also which also occurred at Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre near Epsom. this meant that Mark and limited exposure to others and could not gain a view of where he 'fitted' in the seriousness of things. Eventually, he was able to gain this perspective by meeting other injured people and was able to gain his all important perspective, gaining strength from the experience.
Stage Three: The Mindset. The adverts for becoming a Royal Marine 'It's a state of mind' clearly ring true with Mark. He became very clear about being a 'victor' not a 'victim' seeking out opportunities, looking for positives and a strong drive to reclaim independence.
These personal drives lead to Stage Four: Goal Setting. Aiming for the positives and lighting the energy within to achieve. Developing clear understanding of why one is doing a particular activity or following a particular path towards a goal. Asking 'who am I going to be..?' These appear to be core values and standards of a Royal Marine. Mark said that he 'had to become a leader of myself, then to others'. This he found achievable by identifying and setting specific goals.
Stage Five: is about support, who is around you to support and empower, whilst at the same time avoiding people and situations that can drain energy. He spoke of his support groups and mentors around the country and in the USA where he had spent a short space of time learning more about setting goals and achievements in regaining the independence. That was the last time Mark had used a wheelchair. Mark also spoke of the immense support he had had from the Royal Marine family and the prosthetics supports he had been able to use.
Stage Six: says Mark is about celebrations. Celebrate and reward yourself for all the 'small steps' as well as the 'big steps'. Make time to have fun.
In closing Mark gave us his Stage Seven: Gratitude and Contribution: Giving something back and paying things forward into the future. He went on to talk about his work as a fundraiser for many charities and now specifically for REORG (https://reorgcharity.com/). He explained that when service personnel transition out of the military they leave behind a life of structure, purpose and camaraderie. For many former service personnel this can be a very difficult time, especially if they are also suffering the after-effects of physical and psychological trauma, which is the case for all too many of them. This is where REORG comes in to give drive and purpose to people that suffer this struggle. REORG helps them overcome their challenges through learning a new, difficult and incredible rewarded martial art. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mark spoke of setting goals to raise funds by doing a 5000m run. Aiming for £5000 this was soon exceeded after a film of Mark in training hit the social media platform and has now reached over £250,000. Mark is now in training for a swim around Drake's Island in Plymouth Sound and has several other projects underway. Check out his social media....
Many questions were put to Mark about other aspects of his recovery including the effect on his mental health by the brethren which he answered candidly. Mark also spoke of his enjoyment and delight at being involved in Freemasonry as it forms a significant part of his support being surrounded by people of like mind, wanting to do their best, be better and give back to the communities of which we are all part fitting in perfectly with the Seven Stages of Recovery Mark has adopted.
W.Bro. Martin Lambert-Gorwyn thanked Mark for his talk and the many positive messages it contained, urging us to be 'radiators not drains'.
R.W.Bro. Peter Balsom echoed the thanks of all the brethren assembled and reminded them of the REORG Charity if anyone might care to donate. https://reorgcharity.com/
Another splendid evening in the Province.
The enthralled audience!