“In custody, all safe.” That’s the text message I have sent to my wife hundreds of times after a high-risk SWAT Operation. Waiting to hear those words can be daunting to a loved one as the hours pass, and what's worse is having to send and receive the other message... "I've been involved in an incident, I can't talk about it, it's going to be a late night."
It was during these hours of uncertainty, with me being paged out in the middle of the night, that my wife Libby found peace making Mala necklaces. It created for her a distraction from the violence she knew I was facing. These necklaces became sought after treasures by our friends and family on both sides of our professions. It was that energy that inspired us and launched our company, which continues to expand.
I joined the United States Marine Corps in 2004 after dropping out of college. I served as a field radio operator in the infantry. I deployed with 1st Battalion 3rd Marines to the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, and the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. After receiving my honorable discharge, I enrolled at Colorado State University. It was there I met the love of my life, Libby. We graduated together and we are now raising two beautiful daughters, named after meaningful areas within the Colorado State Campus.
Libby is a child protection social worker, and I am a Division Commander at a municipal police department in Colorado. I am also a Commander, and former Senior Team Leader on a SWAT Team in the Denver Metro area, having led through some of the most intense and dangerous situations imaginable. Our professions present us with a myriad of society’s gut-wrenching conditions. Our after-hours conversations about what we’ve witnessed shape a supportive outlet. We understand it’s an unusual perspective and have learned to embrace it.
The trauma veterans and first responders deal with day in and day out can be an albatross. I’ve lost count of the number of veterans and police officers I've known who have taken their lives or turned to self medicating to get through their days. While I have found comfort in working through my traumatic exposures with mental health professionals, the stigma of seeking mental help is real. Until we start serious conversations about the invisible wounds that first responders and veterans deal with, we will never change it and we will continue to lose our loved ones to self-harm. This burden tears communities apart.
Our mission is to provide some kick ass clothing to our fellow Americans, and to give back to our brothers and sisters in blue, green, and red. By purchasing our products, you are contributing to the mental wellness of those on the front lines, both at home and overseas. We donate a portion of every sale to organizations that work with first responders and veterans in their darkest hours, to help them Combat the Chaos of their traumas as they fight for their lives. We are all resilient, sometimes we just need a reminder of how strong we can be.