One Team, One Fight

From the CEO |  Spring 2020

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.

The Navy SEAL Ethos begins with “In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed… I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions” The SEAL Future Foundation (SFF) lives by this ethos. We do not advertise the nature of our work nor seek recognition for our actions. We do not advertise with billboards along America’s highways nor do we create social media videos with actors glorifying what we did on the battlefield. Instead, like we did in the SEAL Teams we quietly action our mission and move on to the next threat, the next battle. And that next battle, that time of uncertainty presented itself recently with COVID-19. I am proud to say that this organization and the community that it represents answered the call. Let me point out that now is absolutely not the time to post your 4-star Charity Navigator rating on Instagram. Now is not the time to upload videos on social media of actors portraying SEALs playing war. Now, however, is the time to acknowledge the current environment with empathy. Now is the time to give back to those who have given us so much by serving as guardians to our fellow Americans. Now is absolutely the time to answer the call!

Let’s take a moment and pay our respects to those who are currently serving. Those serving abroad on the front lines, fighting for our freedom. Those who have and are serving our veterans as they transition through this organization and others. Finally, let’s pay our respect to those fearless nurses, doctors, medical professionals and all those who support them fighting on this new front line, serving tirelessly against this new enemy. We as a world are indebted to your sacrifices and are so grateful for your service.

A few weeks ago, this nonprofit along with others immediately acted against the new threat. Although small, this effort compounded by the team of teams effort has had a tremendous impact on the local communities that we support. Despite not being on the front lines we still helped those medical professionals as best as we could with donations, volunteer work, community websites and more. This organization has also started offering free weekly leadership webinars sharing our SEALs’ experiences making critical decisions in uncertain environments and featuring thought leaders speak to topics like mindfulness and mediation. This is another small way the SFF gives back to those who have supported us. It is so amazing to see how many people and organizations have come together to help each other during these times. It is also amazing to me to see how many nonprofits that have been supported by this great nation are doing absolutely nothing.

This past Tuesday the SFF was asked to send a request to our network on an urgent need to support on the front lines against COVID-19. The request was directed to our SOF medics (SOCM, 18 Delta) and civilian medical doctors, nurses and medics to volunteer to serve at the Ryan Larkin Presbyterian Field Hospital currently being stood up in New York City. The field hospital is in memory of USN SEAL Ryan Larkin who served over ten years in the SEAL Teams and succumbed to his brain injuries sustained from multiple blast injuries. Ryan took his life on April 23rd, 2017 and every year we are honored to present the Ryan Larkin memorial award at our major golf event in San Diego. The award goes to the individual who has served the cause of SEAL and veteran transition in an exemplary manner.

Yesterday, the ground force commander in charge of the Ryan Larkin Field Hospital informed us that they have far surpassed the number of volunteers needed to support this initial effort. I cannot tell you how astonished I was by the immediate and overwhelming response from members of the SFF family. Dozens of you raised your hand to volunteer to go into harms way, to answer our Nation’s call. I am so proud of all the retired, former and active duty military and civilians who selflessly volunteered and I am grateful to call you teammates and friends.

Now, I ask that you to take moment to recognize the organizations that are acting during this time of need. The organizations that are incapable of standing on the sidelines during battle. I know a lot of you help multiple benevolent organizations.  I implore you, in fact I demand you to ask the leadership of these organizations why they are ignoring the current environment and why they are not taking up arms in this fight.  I demand you to ask why they are sitting on the sidelines while the rest of the world is fighting. The only way we will achieve victory over this new enemy is if we all contribute. Doing nothing is unacceptable!

This organization was born of the SEAL Teams and service has and always will be a part of its DNA. We have leaned on this nation to aide in supporting our veterans’ transition from the military but the need to give back has always been a strong component of this organization’s mission. Therefore, it’s no surprise that our network of SEALs and supporters, our family, continues to answer the call. That is the difference between our organization and others. The culture of SFF is about community, it’s about serving, it’s about family.

Let me end with gratitude. Thank you for empowering and trusting the SFF and our leadership to help over 800 SEALs with career, education and wellness needs. We are always humbled by the generosity of our great supporters and are so grateful for the many ways in which you support our organization. As we adapt to this new period of uncertainty I ask you to think about how valuable your support is to these men and their families but also to realize the ripple effect it has on society. Our warriors are incapable of not serving and not being guardians of you and they have and will always answer their Nation’s call. If you are in a position to support with our highest priority needs, the medical needs of over 20 SEALs, please realize that your help will empower these men to continue to serve during times like these.

I’ll end with a simple question. When you reflect back during this period, during these tough times we found ourselves in, will you be proud to share what you did to support the cause or will you wish you did more? Please challenge others to do more. Even the smallest acts of kindness and support compounds exponentially.

Thank you for your service and God Speed,

Jonathan Wilson