Hello good buddy :) hahah! So lame! Every damn time I start something like that, either a convo, text, or email... like this one... this stupid image runs rampant through my head. hahaha
Last year around this time I was talking a lot about the upcoming live auction event we were participating in with our handmade water feature. This event is in honor of Marc Lee, the first Navy Seal killed in the Iraq War. Every year at this time we celebrate his life and birthday as a large group, birthday cake included, talk about him, his sacrifice, and the legacy his Glory Letter has had on thousands of people. The letter inspired and motivated his mom, Debbie Lee, to start America's Mighty Warriors. a nonprofit that helps the families of our fallen warriors, our surviving vets who need special help, and random acts of kindness...
There are guest speakers who served with Marc to paint a more intimate picture of who he was. There's laughter, crying, mixed with excitement, leadership, inspiration... I could go on.. it's a very special event. People from all over the country donate items they have either made or purchased all to be auctioned off live or silently for the birthday bash. The AWESOME! thing is that 90% of all the money raised at the event (and foundation) goes right back to the foundation. The theme last year was called "Marc of a Hero".. of which our contribution was a handmade water feature. Through creativity and our time we were able to provide $3,000 to America's Mighty Warriors.
It was a wicked cool event! And was the last water feature I would end up building. We likely could have gotten more, but when everyone realized, Debbie, Marc's mom, was bidding on the fountain, they all respectfully stopped... which I would have done the same... all good though! :) grateful regardless! Here's the video of the actual auction taking place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An0rEqMsxcU&feature=youtu.be Fast forward to this year... the theme is "Marc of a Warrior".. I didn't have the emotional capital to build another fountain, but I definitely wanted to make something and have it be powerful in its meaning. Although we will not be participating in the live auction event this year, we will however be part of the silent auction. For a simple understanding, the live auction obviously takes place live and in front of the crowd. There are about 10 items or so that have significant or priceless value. For example, the 50cal rifle to the left of the fountain, auctioned for near $10,000.. Prior to and during the live auction there are about 30-50 other unique items that are being silently auctioned. You have to be present for the live auction, however, people from all over the country can participate in the silent auction because it's 100% digital. Once you're there, you'll be able to enroll in a simple app function. People will be able to see all the items, their details and values.. and like Ebay, you'll be able to bid... but as soon as someone out bids you, you'll get a text message saying "hey bro, need to pony up" hahah! ... reminds me of Tristan bidding on his boat last year... man that kid was up my ass about it the ENTIRE night!
I'm a big quote / saying kinda dude... and there was one that Debbie said that changed my life.. not so much changed, as much as sharpened my focus on intentionality.
"Live your life worthy of their sacrifice"
I lost a close friend of mine years before meeting Debbie.(RIP Chris) His eulogy literally changed my life. When I met Debbie and then heard her quote... it gave words to what I was feeling. Since then it has become part of who we are, definitely who I am. As you've probably seen, it's in my email signature, in my office, and on our for sale signs.. I deeply believe in it, so much so I made a small change... a change of personal accountability..
"Living a life worthy of their sacrifice"
Like having the words "grateful" tattooed on my forearm, these words equally influence my life's compass to true north.
They cannot be here to do X....
The best thing I can do is honor them through X...
So this year I took the "Marc of a Warrior" to heart. WIth that inspiration I designed a life sized field cross in honor of those warriors who left their mark on us.. and on me.
I spent a lot of time researching sizes of the helmet, gun, and boots to get it right. This is designed to be outside, in the front yard and live through the weathered elements. I reached out to a handful of people to help... and if the universe aligned my intentions... a former warrior, a Marine, a man who survived an IED, kept all his fingers and toes, reached out and said he was all in. Damn... gives me chills... Located in Georgia, we've been going through the mechanics of the design...
But we're making hella good progress!! :) :)
We spent about 30 minutes on the phone yesterday ironing out the final patina options. I've also given him creative leeway as well. So his mind is moving too... which only adds more excitement and emotion. There will be an angled aluminum spear that will allow this to be stuck in the ground and stand as a stationary piece. Damon, my heaven sent metal artist, said he loves the metal idea. He said (I'm paraphrasing) Metaphorically, the metal is decaying, rusting, it's dead... like a fallen Warrior... but it's metal.. it's resilient, long lasting, hard, strong, difficult to forget... like a fallen Warrior... Having a small understanding of what he went through personally, to hear his words motivated from an idea I had... damn dude. hit the feels hardcore. There's been so much emotion into the build of this, I can't wait to show you the next steps. I am so excited to see and touch this in person. There's still some more work that I need to do for it, but, that is the latest of our new project. :)
The live event happens two Fridays from now:
March 20th, 2020. VIP: 4:30P - 5:30P Event: 5:30P - 10:00P
I would so love to see you there!! :)
In addition to contributing in an art piece, I've also been helping prepare all the live and silent auction items to be marketed at the event through the app. Here are just a couple of them :)
Extreme Ownership, Muster TICKET plus gear! Valid for one upcoming 2020 Muster Event: Orlando, FL . Includes Discipline Equals Freedom 3x5 flag, 4 Molk Protein packets, decals, patches, and desk pad | Value: $2,700
Trijicon MRO® 1x25 Red Dot Sight | Value: $580
Strike force flavors of freedom!, Grape, Orange, Fruit Punch, Carry the Load Memorial Day T-shirt, 50 Can olive drab tote bag, Vortex Patriot Hat, Freedom isn't free decal | Value: $230
Hand stitched by Glory Quilt by Gold Star Mom of Socks Thomas Valentine (1970-2008) to bring comfort & warmth to another gold star family. Value: $300
American Sniper Book, autographed by the Legend himself, Chris Kyle Value: Priceless This was an overwhelming picture for me... Especially as a civilian holding something like this in my hands, knowing the significance of this person, and that he touched and held the book.. mind boggling.. I don't think most people understand the impact Debbie and Marc had on Chris Kyle... more overwhelming yet, I had the honor of reading his precious words direct to Debbie. Moving beyond description.
It probably goes without saying, but this is not an auction item
I can only imagine what Chris would have said if he'd had the opportunity to speak at Marc's birthday bash. His message to Marc's Mom, Momma Lee as they call her, will have to suffice as his simple words carry a lot of meaning and love. RIP Chris Kyle. Needless to say friend, a lot is going into this event. Their mission to honor the sacrifices of our troops and the fallen and their families by providing programs that improve quality of life, resiliency and recovery all starts by people like ourselves. To us and our little family, seeing this unfold, to participate in, having witnessed the life saving moments... all of this, we are beyond grateful to have a hand in making it possible. It should be another great event the Friday after next. It would be hella awesome to see you there, or hell, even participate in the silent auction event. I will be sure to send out another email later that night with a link should you want to participate but cannot attend. As always, thank you for allowing me to share something so special to us. If you have any questions we are happy to answer them.
As Marc ended his final letter home...
"Pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life"
What I know about Marc, he would have appreciated this picture. For Marc :) Have a grateful Friday friend :)