Each week join Retired Navy SEAL and Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell, Morgan Luttrell, and Producer Andrew Brockenbush as they’ll take you into the "briefing room" to chat with incredible guests who share their greatest never quit stories. This humorous, heartfelt, and entertaining podcast is changing lives and has become a beacon of hope and resilience to those who are facing the impossible. One of the best ways we can support our community is to share their stories so that we might inspire others to Never Quit.
Shay Eskew: Burn Survivor with scars over 65% of his body, Best Selling Author, Ironman, Team USA Member
1:13:49Do you believe that anything is possible? This week’s amazing guest, Shay Eskew, has proven that it is. As an 8-year old, Shay was severely burned on over 65% of his body and was told he could never be a competitive athlete. Now, several decades later, he lives life to the fullest and has a relentless “never quit” attitude. Shay is a team builder, coach, mentor, RCM authority, market disruptor, motivational speaker, best-selling author and proven sales leader. He’s a high-energy innovator, entrepreneur, and has successfully built and sold multiple companies. He has achieved multiple world championships, and after enduring nearly 40 surgeries, Shay is a 4-time IRONMAN, 4-time member of Team USA, 25-time IRONMAN 70.3 athlete, is ranked in the top 1% of IRONMAN worldwide, and has competed in 11 triathlon World Championships in 7 countries on all 6 continents. Equally impressive, Shay is the proud father of 5 children under 13. Shay’s life is overflowing with blessings. In this episode you will hear: • I felt close to God before the race, but He was not there during the swim. • My wife will stand at the exit of the swim and tell me how many women beat me out of the water. • I was accidentally set afire by a neighbor’s kid at age 8, and burned over 65% of my body. • At the University of Tennessee, I never lost a wrestling match. • I was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. • Thank God that doctors told me I’d never play sports. That was the best thing because it pissed me off enough to prove them wrong. • Many times, pain is just a state of mind. • When I started walking in the hallway of my school – there was complete silence. • If people are gonna make fun of me, I’m gonna beat ‘em to the punch. • There’s no reason to blame society. You just gotta make the most of it. You just gotta ask yourself what else can I do that I never thought possible? • The hardest thing is watching your kid suffer knowing you can’t do anything to fix it. • The more chances I’ve taken, the more time I put myself out there, the more opportunities have presented themselves. • Everything I went through prepared me for who I am in life. • On a campus of 30,000 people, nobody looked like me. They remember who you are. • We all struggle, we all face adversity, we’ve all been tempted to quit. We’ve all said God, why me? How am I gonna get through this? • Once you know that somebody else has not only been what you’ve been through, and not only survived but thrived… That’s Impactful. • The things that we cherish are the things we bust our butt to get. • Everybody’s out there racing. It’s not to win, but to finish. To finish is to win.
Chris Cruise: 82nd Airborne Paratrooper, Founder of Cruise Customs
56:12“For the greater good.” That’s the mantra of this week’s guest, Chris Cruise. It’s amazing how being delivered a setback can cause someone to step up to the plate and take on what turns out to be a patriotic endeavor. After being told that he wasn’t good enough to pursue a football career, Chris enlisted in the U.S. Army and subsequently deployed to Iraq, and learned that there truly is a brotherhood in the military. Chris sees it as the best thing he ever did as it was the path that led him to meet his wife. While re-acclimating to civilian life after his service, he didn’t know what to do with himself or how to adapt his heightened sense of awareness and constant wariness into his new life as a husband and a father. His wife Amber gave him a new mission that grew into what has become Cruise Custom Flags. He figured out that woodwork was therapeutic for him. He’d found his happy place – a place where his mind could both rest and work at the same time, in balanced concentration and clarity of purpose. Amber wanted him to make something tied to Kentucky for his next project. They both also wanted the project to honor military service, as her father is also a veteran. There are not many things that scream “Kentucky” more than bourbon, and not many greater symbols of military service than the flag. So, the first custom flag he made from a repurposed bourbon barrel hung in their home. The next two were Christmas gifts for both of their fathers. The flags were so well received, he made more for some friends and family. Word spread, and requests began pouring in. Chris says, what’s more American than a veteran handcrafted flag made out of a bourbon barrel? Bourbon, after all, is “America Spirit by law.” In this episode you will hear: • It really started when my wife wanted something in our home that represented her Kentucky roots and my service. • I had a vision of having a shop full of veterans making American flags from bourbon barrels. • Bourbon barrels once served a good purpose aging bourbon, and veterans served a good purpose and we help them both find a new purpose. • “Never quit” is not what you do, it’s who you are. • Generosity breeds success. • With a never quit attitude, you’re unstoppable. • I wish someone would have told me that I could have done my passion right out of high school without society telling me I had to climb the corporate ladder. • I’ve got a business degree, but I could have done this right out of high school. • I only did one deployment. That was enough for me. • It’s hard to build a resume after you get out of the military. • I get tunnel vision – nothing else matters – once I get focused on something – it’s on. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cruisecustomsflags/ Special thanks to Speakeasy Podcast Network for giving Chris a place to record his interview!
Erik Korem: Sleep and Stress Resilience Expert, Founder & CEO of AIM7, Former NFL Sports Science Director
1:12:51Are uncertainty and hardship inevitable in this life? Could you use a jump start for pursuing your goals, while living a healthy, fulfilled life? This week’s guest, Erik Korem, is the guy that can equip you to that end. His unquenchable curiosity and eagerness for knowledge made him an expert in high performance. Erik started as a walk-on football player at Texas A&M, and that's where he found two things – a never-quit attitude and curiosity for high performance. After spending over 15 years working as a sports scientist, Erik’s passion for solving the data-to-action gap in the wearable tech and mHealth space came to life. He is the founder & CEO of AIM7, teaching people how to turn data into healthy habits. In this episode you will hear: I dealt with bullying, and I just wanted to change myself. Kids can be cruel. In physical fitness events, I was always last. After watching John Jacobs and The Power Team, I was so inspired and told my dad, “I’ll never be last again.” I learned there was a science to the physical gap I was in. Playing football at Texas A&M, I learned how to suffer well. You can’t fight what you don’t see coming. I could’ve paid attention to how much it sucked, or paid attention to what I could do about it. The Olympic Games are more than winning medals; it’s more like political warfare. I learned about the synchronization of the physical, psychological, technical, & tactical. Wearable devices provide much data, but what do you do with it? Stress is the gateway to improvement, but chronic long-term stress can be a really bad thing if you can’t get it under control. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain is literally full of crap. In REM sleep, your body is in a state of paralysis. I don’t praise grades; I praise their effort. If you synchronize with the sun, you’ll start sleeping like a baby. There are research studies that show that if you want to reset yourself, go camping. Sports got me into the game, but curiosity launched my career.
Sgt. Aaron Quinonez (Sgt Q): Marine 1st Anglico Veteran, Speaker, Father, PTSD Ambassador, and Author of Healing Thru Service
1:17:38This week, the TNQ Podcast brings you the inspiring never-quit journey of Aaron Quinonez – aka “Sgt. Q” – a Marine Corps Veteran, speaker, author, father, and PTSD ambassador. Having been raised in a rough, homeless environment surrounded by people in the drug trade, Aaron became a marine right out of high school. What he didn’t know is that his real battle would be fought in his mind. Sgt. Q suffered from depression, anger, and panic attacks and was diagnosed with PTSD. He nearly ended his own life in the parking lot of a church, where later he was redeemed by Jesus Christ, who gave him a new life. When he volunteered to build housing for a family in Mexico, Quinonez was so inspired by the experience that he founded the organization, Q Missions, to bring Veterans together to construct buildings around the world and bring mental healing through mission service. Quinonez authored the book: Healing Thru Service, The Warrior’s Guidebook to Overcoming Trauma. In this episode you will hear: I grew up with rednecks, hippies, and pot farmers. Everybody I knew growing up was involved in the drug trade. To be homeless as a kid is a trip. My work ethic came from my mom, struggling to raise four kids as a single mother. I was once on the school bus driving thru the pouring rain and saw a lady carrying two garbage bags, and as we passed I realized - it’s my mom. You gotta reposition your mindset from negative experiences to find something positive and focus on that, because what you focus on - your brain will find more of. If you have one trauma, another trauma will stick to it and eventually become PTSD. Your brain is like a weapon – if it’s malfunctioning you do a function check, and you get back in the fight. I went from the battlefield to my front door in less than 48 hours, so there wasn’t any out-processing. It wasn’t until I could overcome the victim mentality that I was able to get my life together. You may have left the battlefield in Iraq, but every day that you wake up and put your boots on the ground, you’re on another battlefield – the battlefield of the mind. You can repurpose military tactics to overcome trauma. When anxiety hits, the first thing to do is return fire – speak truth: There’s no real threat; There’s no real danger: I’m totally in a safe environment. Bring yourself out of that emotional state. 67% of men in America have admitted they’ve struggled with a mental health crisis. You didn’t fight the war alone, so don’t fight PTSD alone. Communicate with people and tell them you’re struggling.
Brian Kilmeade: Host of Fox and Friends and The Brian Kilmeade Show, 5X New York Times Best Selling Author, Father
1:03:22We have an inspiring guest in this week’s Team Never Quit podcast. Brian Kilmeade shares his motivating views about reaching your personal potential, despite apparent failures along the way. Brian is a television and radio presenter and political commentator for Fox News. On weekdays, he co-hosts Fox's morning show, Fox & Friends, and he also hosts the Fox News Radio program The Brian Kilmeade Show. He has authored or co-authored non-fiction and fiction books, and is a New York Times Best-Selling Author. Brian is also a father of three. His attitude related to pursuing a dream, making things happen for a better life, and his love for this country is refreshing. In this episode you will hear: • Coming out of college, I just wanted to talk sports and news. • I played soccer through college. I wanted to be great, but I wasn’t. • If you fire me or don’t hire me, that’s your choice, but I’m not gonna quit. • It’s our job to reach our potential – whatever it is. • If things don’t work out, you can’t blame people. • Newscasters pretend they didn’t put an oar in the water or tell you who to vote for, but by a look - by the way they give one side more power that the other. When you think you’ve heard a straight newscast – no you didn’t. • If you are for an open border, you don’t care about the country. If you destroyed the oil and gas business, you don’t care about the country. If you’re gonna stand down the Army to talk about white supremacy, you don’t care about the country. • If you want to see an example of overcoming obstacles, pick up Andrew Jackson’s book. He was orphaned and he was raised by his town, his county & his country, yet he became a 2 term President. • Don’t get caught up in results. If you fail, your success is just delayed. • The only time you fail is when you quit. • The most rewarding thing to me is helping other people.
Dre Baldwin: Mental Toughness & Business Coach, Former Professional Basketball Player, Author
1:02:02Now here’s a guy with an unbelievable vision, drive, and a relentless pursuit of success. Dre Baldwin not only helps athletes get recognized for their talents; he’s a former basketball player, speaker, influencer, YouTuber, and author of The Third Day: The Decision That Separates the Pros from the Amateurs. Tre is a master at teaching discipline, mental toughness, and personal initiative. Listen in as this well-spoken motivator tells of his personal path from his high school team's bench, to the first contract of a 9-year professional basketball career, then pioneering new genres of personal branding and entrepreneurship via an ever-growing content publishing empire, publishing literally thousands of YouTube videos, viewed over 73 million times. If you could use a spark to get your life moving, this is the podcast for you. In this episode you will hear: When I realized I had no talent for baseball, I stopped that, then stumbled across basketball. I did not go pro immediately after college. After college, I attended “Exposure Camp”, a job fair for athletes. After that event and dozens of cold calls and videos to agents, I was finally signed to a contract to play basketball in Lithuania. I gained popularity, not from basketball videos on YouTube, but from the motivational things I said on them. I launched The weekly Motivation on YouTube. I had to find a way to do something I love to do, plus be a computer geek, and make money from it. I’m a very competitive person. At home, I was taught discipline, respect, honoring authority, and respecting elders. I would make up challenging stories in my mind so I’d have a target to shoot at. If I don’t have anything to aim for, I’m not gonna give my best effort. But when I do, it brings out the best in me. Our generation, ages 30-50 – we are the best generation. People are following me, not for basketball videos, but just to watch The Weekly Motivation. This is life stuff – it’s not athlete stuff. Using the challenges of your life to make yourself better for the future summarizes the entire self-help industry right there. When you have the right people around you, you can go further, faster. In life, you just have to show up.
Joseph "Jody" Plauche: Sexual Abuse and Abduction Survivor and Author of Why, Gary, Why?
59:24What an incredible saga of a ten-year-old boy, from Baton Rouge, LA, who had been sexually abused by his Karate instructor, then abducted by him and taken to Los Angeles, CA, where he continued to be abused. Our guest this week, Joseph Plauche, tells of the events that led up those scenarios. By way of a traced collect phone call, the FBI rescued “Jody” in LA and his abductor was arrested. To add to the craziness of those events, Joseph’s father waited at a bank of pay phones at the airport and then shot and killed the abductor as he walked by, all of which was captured on film by a local news crew. Plauche has worked in the field of violence prevention since 1995. He wants his story to help others in abusive situations, and he offers direction on protecting children. In this episode you will hear: Plauche authored the book, 'Why, Jody, Why?' During the sexual abuse, there was a physical pleasure, but there was mental anguish. Despite being abused, your body still responds, like a human body responds. He took me to Disneyland. Even though I was kidnapped. It’s not like I was gagged and bound. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I kinda did. When I finally told the truth, I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t like him molesting me, but other than that, I thought he was a good guy. For him (my dad) to do what he did, he had to be in so much pain. If he could have seen who I was to become in the future, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did. My dad was the kindest, sweetest man I knew. It’s a parental instinct to eliminate someone that hurts your child. A boy saw me on Geraldo, and then told his mom about being abused by his pastor. The pastor was arrested. That’s the moment that I realized that I could use something negative and turn it into something positive. I wanna help as many as possible. I feel like I can be a role model for victims of sexual assault.
D.A. Michaels: Navy Veteran, Retired Law Enforcement Officer, Author of Courageously Broken
1:23:38This week’s episode brings you the incredible, first-hand account from Donna Michaels, a US Navy veteran turned police officer – all the while suffering horrifically from depression, nightmares, and PTSD, yet embracing every day of her life with passion and courage. Donna went from victim to solution – she’s now on a relentless mission to stop PTSD suicides. She also authored the book, Courageously Broken - her journey to hell and back. Donna has quite a story to tell, including the candid memoirs of her military life, her association with Navy SEALS, becoming a cop, the dark years of her life, and her unbelievable recovery. In this episode you will hear: My career didn’t pan out anything like I thought it would as a teenager. The last thing I ever thought I’d be is a cop. I didn’t even like cops. In the Navy, I wanted to go where the action was. It was tough, but I volunteered for this shit, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna walk away from it as a quitter. Women are equally different. The teams (Navy SEALS} are elite for a reason. I love the idea of helping people. In law enforcement, I could be part of the greater good. I won’t be a bitch, unless someone really, really forces me to be one. I made up my mind that I was either gonna get my shit together or put myself out of my pain. The suicide rate among veterans and first responders is a lot higher than people realize. I want to let those who’ve been through hell understand that there are options for them. They just need to know where to look. Once you hit rock bottom, you’ve got nowhere to go but up. Everybody goes through some traumatic event in their life. I want to teach others that there’s hope. Otherwise, I went through all this shit for nothing. I want to be known for inspiring someone to get the help they needed. Never quit.
Dr. Billy Alsbrooks: Motivational Artist, Award-Winning Poet, Author of Blessed And Unstoppable
1:57:27To say that Dr. Billy Alsbrooks is a driven motivator with a ton of positivity is a gross understatement. Billy gets real about his life’s path from martial arts at the age of 5, achieving his Black Belt at the age of 9, becoming a songwriter and Billboard recording artist, producer, and dealing with the struggles of his dad’s alcoholism, and yet becoming an influencer, author of the book Blessed and Unstoppable, and motivational speaker, with a goal of improving the lives of 1 billion people. If you’re searching for direction, inspiration, hope, and something to believe in, this episode is for you. In this episode you will hear: Alcoholism is not going to happen to me. People go one of two ways and I want nothing to do with it. When I was doing music, I was a huge promoter of that lifestyle, even though I couldn’t stand it. My goal is to reach and positively Impact 1 Billion People in my lifetime. At school, I’d wear a smile, but I was broken inside because we had been up all night, trying to sober daddy up. To make progress, you gotta deal with the hard stuff. I witnessed his father’s death when a blood clot hit his lungs. My motivational career started at the funeral home. When seeing my family’s cemetery plots, I was told “Here’s where you’re gonna lay”. Those words hit me like a ball bat inside my head. How do you sum up a man’s whole life in 2 or 3 sentences for a tombstone? If I was to die right now, what would they put on my tombstone? I had to ask myself that question. Our only purpose for being here is to leave this place better than we found it. God’s not against us having nice things, but He is against those things owning us. The moment my dad died, the mic got ripped away from me. When I say God, I don’t mean religion, I mean relationship. There’s a difference. God is all-powerful, but He needs our invitation to come in. To get to the next level, you gotta get in the ring with those things that scare you the most. I was born a champion. Raised a champion. I have champion in my bloodline. All I’ll ever be is a champion.
Niels Jorgensen: Leukemia Survivor, Retired FDNY Firefighter, Host of the 20 for 20 Podcast
1:07:10What do you get when you serve as a firefighter for 21 years, and get exposed to the toxins during the 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery operations? If you’re retired FDNY firefighter Niels Jorgensen, you come away with an advanced form of Leukemia ten years later, due to those exposures. Even so, Niels is thankful and blessed to be staying ahead of cancer and enjoying full remission. He is the host of the 20 for 20 Podcast, sharing the stories of 20 heroes, keeping their stories alive for future generations. Niels tells about his horrific experiences from that scenario and his fight with cancer that led to his forced medical retirement. In this episode you will hear: When you have a bunch of significant emotional events, you get saturated, and being in a quiet place is best for the mind and soul. I miss the good of New York, but it’s not the city I was born in, unfortunately. Tennessee is family, country, and I know it still exists in Texas. I was in the firehouse at five years old. Those giants with mustaches are laughing and loving life. I want to be like that. I want to go to work and be happy. I loved being a cop, but I realized quickly that people don’t like cops. In 1994 the fire department had a manual with a target on the World Trade Center that said It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when – Be Ready. We were en route to the World Trade Center when the second tower went down. We were overcome with guilt because we were late for the battle. I felt like I failed my men – my best buddies. 20 years after that horrific attack, two families finally have DNA evidence of their loved ones. They finally have closure. In firefighting, we were used to finding whole bodies, but we weren’t gonna find any in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse. I’m American, you’re American. And we need to support each other. Politicians are like dirty diapers. They’re full of shit and they stink. I want to bring back the unity of 9/12. The 20 for 20 Podcast is one of the highest honors of my life - to speak about my brave friends because they were the best that this country has to offer. We’re not hearing the stories of the good guys. We’re worshipping the knuckleheads. I say to my kids, look up from your phone. Look at people’s eyes. Look up to your creator above, and be thankful. Come back to faith. Come back to family. Most of all, be grateful for every day. Just be a good person.