Dad & Daughter Sacrifice for Troops…
Civilian Brandon Kent and his seven-year-old daughter Gabrielle are on a mission—to provide the highest quality Tactical eyewear for the troops! It’s been a long and difficult road, but they are about to send their first group of protective glasses to troops in Afghanistan. And they could use your help!
It all began when Brandon reconnected with Andy, a junior high buddy he’d lost track of over the years. Andy was headed to his 3rd combat deployment, so Brandon offered his support and asked, “What can we do for you? What do you need?”
Andy reported his unit needed high-quality protective eyewear—sunglasses and goggles that wouldn’t shatter and damage the eyes—since replacements for damaged equipment come out of soldiers’ pockets. Brandon set to work researching the eyewear Andy recommended, then contacted one manufacturer’s military division and told them about the fundraiser he and Gabrielle were doing. The company was happy to offer a steep discount but couldn’t assist until Brandon and Gabrielle had formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
They began the process of becoming a 501(c)(3), but there was a filing fee and Brandon’s life as a single father and Traffic Control Flagger didn’t give them much wiggle room. One local store manager gave them a $100 bill out of his pocket, but that’s all they could muster. Just before Christmas, Gabrielle overheard her father talking about not having enough for the filing fee and the lack of community support. “I don’t need any toys or clothes for Christmas.” she said. “Instead of having Christmas, I just want to help the soldiers.” Brandon asked if she was sure and she replied “Your friend is over there and he needs help.”
“I tried not to cry,” he recalled.
|Gabrielle poses with members of the 41st Brigade Combat Team, a unit out of her home state of Oregon. She attended their deployment ceremony to learn more about their needs and how her charity, America’s Warriors, could help them.|
Then they ran into another roadblock: the eight to nine-month waiting period for IRS processing. Brandon called every day for a week and was eventually put in touch with a very senior official who put the 501(c)3 papers for America’s Warriors in his hands in a matter of days. Since then, another major supplier has joined the team.
Other challenges they’ve had to overcome were a dysfunctional website and a website design process that went to pieces.
Finally, through sheer determination and grit, they have a functional website and their first 13 pairs of high-quality tactical glasses and googles from partners ESS Eye Pro and Revision Eye Wear are headed to Afghanistan… along with notes from friends and neighbors across the state of Oregon, a big banner that explains the philosophy of America’s Warriors, and a picture of Brandon and Gabrielle—a relentless man and his loving little girl.
This week they drained the charity’s bank account to pay the yearly website bill and postage on the packages to Afghanistan, with more bills to come as they continue their terrific work. Soldiers’ Angels encourages Americans to take a look at and support AmericasWarriors.org, as led by this dedicated father-daughter team.
|Gabrielle requests an autograph from one of her heroes.|