BARTON BROOKS founded Guerrilla Aid and continues to run day to day operations. He strongly adheres to the principle that if you think something should be done, well then, figure out a way to just go and do it.
Traveling to take pictures and collect souveniers started feeling a bit hollow, and it was in Cambodia where I finally was inspired to make a difference. I changed my life to reflect my new understanding, and started my little organization to create projects through random acts of service around the world.
I started back at Angkor Wat, and to make it all happen sold my only asset (a Shelby Cobra replica that I built by hand) to personally fund the first GC projects. I'll still cry about that car if you catch me on the wrong day, but that beautiful hunk of metal became an education for kids in Cambodia, and changed the lives of some beautiful women in Kenya. So in reality, it was a no-brainer...
My little organization has created a pretty sweet ride of it's own, as it was just a few years ago I was this random guy having the desire to make a difference - but with absolutely no experience in international volunteering. Now I field calls from politicians, families, students, corporations, and even the White House regarding the proper approach to international grassroots efforts.
If someone is going to change the world,why shouldn't it be me?
I started working around the world "Guerrilla Aid" style, and set off on a years journey to help as many places as I could. Nearly four months into it I was in a motorcycle accident in Uganda, and am currently just finishing up the last surgeries and rehab, but will be back out there hopefully by Christmas 2009.
A few bullet points about my experience or past work...
We all work based on the inspiration of those we serve, but I have to explain a bit about the people who have had a major impact on helping me find my life. My heroes below have shaped my thoughts about being the man I want to become, and how to create the life I want to live in.
ANGELINA JOLIE - If you look throughout history at all the celebrities who have come and gone, there are very few who have taken their fame and turned it into something powerful for millions of suffering people around the world. She is the reason I became interested in Cambodia, and it was while I was there that I decided to start GC - so yeah, she's kind of a big deal to me. It took on a whole new meaning when I watched some Cambodian children playing Tomb Raider so I said, "Angelina Jolie?" and they all started giggling and laughing. I realized that they now had someone beautiful to attach themselves to, and they collectively felt that she was "theirs" just because they knew she was part of them. I wouldn't call it an obsession, but I won't lie - I have a healthy admiration for this remarkable woman. ;-)
LAIRD HAMILTON - What an amazing inspiration for life. Every time I feel lazy or that I just want to chill and coast, I think of the way Laird lives his life. Every day should be lived to it's fullest, and every challenge we master should bring a greater challenge to conquer. His thought, "What would the knight do if there were no more dragons to slay?" kind of sums it up for me. For me, life is meant to be an adventure through conquering challenges we face, not the relaxing part after we've conquered them.
OPRAH WINFREY - There is just too much to say - but in a nutshell, there is no greater example of human accomplishment. Period.
Search, find your cause, change the world...