I am a warfighter, father, husband, friend, brother, and survivor of the longest war in US history. I spent twenty years in service to this great nation. I missed most of my three children’s milestones, while my wife unselfishly carried the enormous weight of their routines and activities, as well as the daily emotional ups and downs that come with that, until I retired 18 months ago. These last few weeks, the highly visible and poorly led withdrawal from Afghanistan has left me confused, angry, sad. I am enraged watching my military brothers die needlessly. My emotions mirror the ones I experienced when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred. I wrote a piece reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. This is not that piece. I had to start over.
Teammates and friends, I am humbled and fully aware that I am standing on the shoulders of giants as I accept the role of Chief Executive Officer at the SEAL Future Foundation. This organization and the great team are a blessing to me and the countless other warriors they serve. The SFF remains fully committed to our mission: To provide Navy SEALs a foundation that supports their well-being, education and career to continue a life of service within their communities.
It has been one of my greatest honors to serve as the CEO of the SEAL Future Foundation. I want to express my gratitude to everyone I served alongside with this last decade, we are only here because of your support and the collective effort behind our mission. I want to especially thank my wife and my family for helping build out this amazing nonprofit. I could not have done any of this without the love, support and guidance you have given me along the way, I love you! Today I write to inform the SFF Family that I have officially turned over my position as CEO to Ty Bathurst who has taken command of the SFF. I will continue to serve as Board Chairman, focusing my efforts on the health and wellness pillar of our organization. Ty retired from the military last February after 21 years as a SEAL and since that time has served as the Chief Engagement Officer of the SFF, leading our external community relations effort. I have no doubt that under his leadership the SFF will continue to thrive and reach higher grounds in support of the men and their families we serve. As I reflect back on this organization’s first ten years I am just astonished and amazed by how far we have come. There were countless highs and just as many lows but we always pushed through because we could not fail – our teammates were relying on us. Thank you for those who trusted us in the early years and helped us start this nonprofit. Thank you to those who helped us grow into a “community for the community” and finally thank you all for making this so much more than a nonprofit, you have made this a family.
As this very challenging year draws to a close, I’d like to share with you positive thoughts on 2020 and our vision for the future.
Throughout history we have seen this statement ring true time and time and time again. Today is no different. Amidst the confusion, fear, hatred and anger is a light, a beacon that always shines. We may not be able to see it in the fog which surrounds us but it is there, it is always there. That beacon is love. It’s compassion. It’s understanding. It’s service. It has and always will guide us, showing us how to put our differences aside, how to come together, how to love one another for a bigger cause, for our purpose. We will not only overcome but conquer these difficult times but to do so we need to put our collective needs above our own. We need to unite and we need to find that light.
NEW YORK, NY – The SEAL Future Foundation (SFF), the premiere military transition partner for U.S. Navy SEALs, has accepted a $1 Million donation from the Arizona based company, Verano Learning Partners (VLP). This is the largest donation received by SFF, the rapidly growing non-profit foundation whose mission is to provide tools and resources to the Nation’s most elite military group through health, career, education, and community support.
I hope this letter finds you and those that you love doing well. We are facing uncertain and daunting times, times like we have never seen before but we are a resilient people and together we will prevail, we always do. Let me start with how honored and humbled I am to be a part of such an amazing community, a community that has and is volunteering to act during these unprecedented times.
526. Five Hundred Twenty Six SEALs that this nonprofit has supported with their transition. What does that mean? It means that we have:
Why are the SEAL Teams so good? The number one reason is its people. The people that put mission first, teammates above themselves and a work ethic that fights tirelessly to be the best for a greater cause. My first combat mission as a Frogman did not even come close to going as planned. Right out of the gate we were taking enemy fire, our imagery looked like it was from a completely different area and our primary breach point was fouled. But, we knew to anticipate these complexities and we built a system that quickly adapted to the unknowns that we knew would arise. We pivoted to the changing battlefield and quickly found mission success.
Since the first of January we have partnered with 53 new SEALs, bringing the total number to 405 men that this community, this SFF family, has supported since our founding. None of this would be possible without the commitment and service that you have provided and continue to provide. The SFF was built to tackle the unknowns that arise from the SEAL transition experience and we have and will continue to stay flexible to provide resources as various needs arise. Many of the resource gaps required time to manifest and as an organization, we too required time to better understand the issues and address the gaps through resources developed internally or through partnerships with best-of-breed providers. Realizing the battlefield has shifted, we too have decided to shift so that we can broaden our efforts and mission. Our previous mission was to prepare transitioning Navy SEALs for a civilian life of purpose. Over time, we realized that we need to better prepare SEALs around well-being and create strong localized communities to help them thrive in their new roles at work, at home and in society. The new mission of the SFF is to provide Navy SEALs with a foundation that supports their well-being, education and career to continue a life of service within their communities. The three pillars of well-being, education and career, all rooted in service, will provide the veteran with the best resources for success and the ability to continue to serve in his community and with an enduring family of supporters. Along with a new mission, we are pleased to announce that we have officially changed our name to the SEAL Future Foundation to better describe what the SFF represents.