This post is written by RJ Kasper, Coordinator
First, I want to thank you for reading our blog and being a part of the great work done here at the Eagle Fund. If you don’t know much about the Eagle Fund program, I encourage you to look around our site and reach out to us if you have any questions.
This month the Eagle Fund announced a partnership with Bottle Breacher, a small business owned by former Navy SEAL, Eli Crane. Some of you may have heard of them from the hit TV show, Shark Tank. Eli and his wife, Jen, went on the show and “wowed” Sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary with their unique item, the Bottle Breacher. Eli describes a “breacher” as “an operator whose job is to get the assaulters into whatever target is being hit.” A Bottle Breacher’s job is to “breach” into your bottled beverage of choice. The company turns .50 Caliber bullets into bottle openers with the ability to customize each with logos or personalize them with names and nicknames.
I spoke with Eli and Jen in December and educated them about the Eagle Fund program and they couldn’t wait to help out. Eli decided he wanted to give each Eagle Fund participant going through the program a personalized Bottle Breacher with his or her name or nickname etched on it. They took their partnership a step further and will be selling Bottle Breachers on their website in early February with the Eagle Fund logo on them and will be donating 100% of the proceeds back to the Eagle Fund.
Since the start of this partnership, we have had seven Eagle Fund participants graduate the program and have received seven brand new personalized Bottle Breachers for each individual. The participants have responded with extreme gratitude when receiving their “breacher.” The men and women who come to this program are often severely injured, suffering from a range of major injuries. They come to our facility having exhausted their attempts at improving their health or having a better quality of life. When they leave, with improvements in their health that they long since felt were impossible, they are already grateful for these intangible benefits of the Eagle Fund. Improved mobility, reduced pain, being able to go back to active duty, or just being able to lift their kids without debilitating pain, that is truly all they desire.
It was our vision to give them something tangible, something to show our gratitude to them for defending our country, to show them how thankful we are to be able to serve them and that’s where Eli made that vision a reality through Bottle Breacher. We didn’t want to take money away from the fund to purchase these gifts because that would mean a fewer participants we could serve, and the need is great and the means are still few.
So, when I approached Eli with the idea, he said, “We want to give one to each person that goes through the program,” and I was ecstatic. I didn’t think about asking someone to give an item for FREE to our program, but that is exactly what Eli and Jen wanted to do. Eli is a former Navy SEAL who clearly loves his brothers and sisters in arms and knows how to show it. So, when we get a package that says “Bottle Breacher” on the label, I am excited because it has quickly become the best day of the week. I get to get out of the office and walk down to the gym and, sometimes for the first time, meet the men and women in our program and present them with a gift that is our way of saying “Thank you for serving this country and protecting our families.” All the while, they are thanking me over and over for this gift that I have just handed them and, as I try to hold back tears, I just repeat back “No, thank you for what you do.”
The best part about this exchange is I get to meet them, learn about them, and hear from them personally how they have progressed through the program, or how they are excited to get back to service, or details about what their next step is from here. Previously, I didn’t get to meet many of our participants because I work in an office, behind the scenes for the Eagle Fund, I didn’t get to be down there working with them. Now I walk away every time with a smile on my face, excited because I know next week or two weeks from now I will get to do it all over again with the next group of guys, humbled by the opportunity to shake the hands of some of the toughest men and women in the world.
I’d like to end each post with a recent testimony from one the Eagle Fund participants. I will include that below. I also have included the Bottle Breacher logo with a link to their website. They will be offering the Eagle Fund Bottle Breacher for sale in early February and donating 100% of the proceeds to this program and helping us serve more men and women. Please visit their site, buy some Breachers, and support our veterans, like Eli, and our active duty men and women in the Eagle Fund. Follow us on Twitter @Eagle_Fund and follow them @BottleBreacher. Tweet them how excited you are for the Eagle Fund Bottle Breacher! Please comment below if you have any questions and, again, thank you for your support. None of this would be possible without you.
“After 10+ years of dealing with these injuries I believed that I would be living the rest of my life debilitated and in pain. This past month has given back to me a quality of life that I believed to be gone for good. I have gone from not being able to hold my newborn son, to being able to run and play with him and not having to worry if I was going to be able to be a “good” dad. I am truly blessed to have been able to attend EXOS, and hope more of our operators are able to attend.” – Eagle Fund Participant Testimonial