Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Combat Disabled Veteran

My name is John Stafinski, I am a US Army Infantry Combat Vetern, I spent 15 months in Afghanistan, during the OEF war ( Operation Enduring Freedom). I was blown off of a 35 foot cliff by an RPG ( Rocket Propelled Granade) hitting a Rick at the bottom which folded my leg all the way up to my shoulder,
I came home in a Wheelchair Doctors said I most likely would never walk again after surgery they were able to save my leg instead of amputation, but said not alot of hope for walking. So I wound up in Orlando homeless and in a wheel chair. After a year and a half, I decided one day I was sick of being pissed at the world and taught myself how to walk. I went to school to become a personal trainer, so I could learn what it took to get healthy walking wise. I was wounded in 2009-2010 homeless 2011-2012-2013. Since then I have pushed myself physically to do the best I can. I became Alabama and North Carolina Strongest man. But currently the health issues have been taking it’s toll and the injuries are reminding me I can no longer do what I used to do. I spent my life before the army 13 years a professional rodeo clown and bull fighter. Any way I am telling you all of this cause I absolutely love your website and YouTube videos I have a $100 banjo that I have been trying to teach myself how to play for 3 years now but just a few months watching your videos I have learned more then all three years combined, my bank isn’t working now the first sting rattles when it’s plucked I know it’s touching a fret. Anyway I have to wait till my disability money come in on the first hopefully I can find a decent guitar and banjo I want to play both instruments. My focus right now going towards guitar. This is my last chance to do something I have always wanted to do, I physically am loosing abilities to move and do things I love. I am hoping music will fulfill my mind so far so good. My free time on your page is up in one day , I really do want to become a gold pick member so I can continue to learn. Will I still be able to sign up with in a month or two as soon as I can save the money.
jwstafinski@yahoo.com
I don’t want to be creepy, I live out in God’s country on 20 acres. But I would love the chance to meet u in person maybe one day and would love to watch u play and learn from u. Do u do private lessons.

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Wow! That’s an amazing story, I hope you can get a good banjo, guitar and a gold pick membership :slight_smile:

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There are some folks here on the forum that have reached out to me and would like to help get you going. I’ll be in touch, and thank you for your service!

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Let us know how to help.

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Thanks for your service John. I assume you’re already rated by the VA. Are you at 100%?

If not, it sounds like you should be. I have a great VA counselor who could probably get you in touch with the right people if need be.

Please let me know.

Jack

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Hey Jack

Good to see your on this buddy, here in the UK there’s a network of agencies on hand to assist veterans. Glad to see the same is true in the US.

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Thanks Archie.:+1:

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Honored to know you, John and welcome to the site. Ben is a fantastic teacher and guy as are the folks on this site. You came to the right place.

And most importantly, thank you for your service and sacrifice, brother. I’m a retired Navy E-8 Senior Chief (84-04) myself and still work for the Navy still as a civvie. Thinking your story might have been reported in the news, I searched on your name and found this incredible pic that’s rather famous:

https://archive.defense.gov/Photos/newsphoto.aspx?newsphotoid=11914

Honor and respect. Standing by to render assistance. God bless.

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Man, I almost forgot!

guitars4vets.org

I saw Tommy Emmanuel last November, and he talked a lot about this. He is their top ambassador and is very passionate in promoting it.

Hope they can hook you up.

Jack

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Thank you for your service John! You’re in a good place here on this forum. There is always lots of encouragement.

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Oh my gosh yall, I am a bit embarrassed, I had no idea I posted this in a forum. I am pretty non tech savvy hahah I thought I was emailing Ben. I really appreciate all your support it’s been a long road and even though I don’t know anything about music I have always wanted to play. I am Honored, to say Ben has hooked me up with a gold pick membership. I am very much looking forward to learning more about guitars. I watch guitar videos every day.

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Thank u very much I am looking forward to this

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Yes Bob thank there is also a Video of , me in Afghanistan during the same Firefight that pic was taken, someone is making posters out of that pic not sure who bit I don’t get any money from it hahahahhahahaha lol

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Also thank u for the concern about the VA this year finally I got a VA advocate that has helped me apply for the 100% we are working on it hopefully everything gets squared away

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John,
Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Ben is the real deal and a great teacher. I know you’ll learn from him and we’re all here to help if you need it.

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Thank u I am very excited.

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@jwstafinski,

I just wanted to check in on ya. As a vet myself, your story was inspirational to me.

I hope this message finds you well and actively Pickin’!

God Bless

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