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This is a story about what can happen when a handful of people, a random encounter and a passion for a cause come together.
In August 2018, I met with a handful of colleagues (some of them veterans like myself) to discuss ways we could build a digital platform that would definitively turn the tide in the battle to prevent military veteran suicides in the United States. From that meeting, we generated plenty of politicalattention in both our home state of Michigan and in Washington, D.C. But every time we briefed a senator or House committee, we heard the same thing: “This project and the team behind it are impressive; no one has anything like this – but how do we pay for it?”
Frustrated with the red tape, we decided to raise the money we needed on our own.
Less than a year after that first brainstorming meeting, I happened to be in a hotel lobby in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and struck up a conversation with a couple of strangers sitting nearby. Their names were Wayne and Michelle Johnson – fifth-generation cattle ranchers visiting from Missouri. Turns out, they owned a business called Dove Creek Wagyu Cattle Co. and had a new venture in mind.
As we talked more about their business and what makes Wagyu beef special, the idea struck. “Wayne,” I said, “Do you consider yourself a patriot?”
The melding of those two business ideas brings us to this moment: The product you are holding right now is, to our knowledge, the highest-quality beef (graded higher than USDA prime beef) being made into jerky anywhere in the United States, if not the world. It is also now the first commercial project to benefit a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Tango3.
Thanks to Wayne, Michelle, and others who have given selflessly, profits from every sale of this jerky will go to Tango3 (short for Time, Talent and Treasure). All profits from beef jerky sales will go toward veterans’ programs, and in particular to help prevent veteran suicides. More information is available here: Tango3.org.
Approximately 22 veterans per day commit suicide in this country. On behalf of their families, and all of our veteran community, we say thank you -- for sharing some of your own time, talent and treasure -- to help facilitate good.