SoldierStrong Making an Impact
SoldierStrong founder Chris Meek featured on Fox News “The Story” with Martha MacCallum (transcript)
Chris Meek (on Capitol Hill): “On September 11 2001, I was running floor trading operations for Goldman Sachs at Ground Zero in New York City. As I watched the first responders running into the carnage of that day, I resolved to do something to give back to those who serve. April 27th, 2011 was my daughter’s fifth birthday. We celebrated like many families with cake and ice cream and without a care in the world. 6,800 miles away army sergeant Dan Rose was being medevacked from the battlefield to Kandahar. The vehicle he was it was in hit an IED and his injuries would rob him [of] the ability to walk again. Dan’s experience that day was a personal reminder of how much we owe our veterans and how their sacrifices allow all of us to take for granted the lives we were blessed to live here.”
Martha MacCallum (on Capitol Hill): “I will never forget the day that sergeant Dan Rose came to our studio to demonstrate how his soldier suit allowed him to get up from his wheelchair and take the steps that he never dreamed he would be able to take again. As Americans, we must make sure that we give back but give back in a way that is uniquely American that relies on this cutting-edge technology and never take no for an answer.”
Martha MacCallum (in Studio): “So that was part of an interesting experience that we had on Capitol Hill this week exploring new ways to empower the lives of our veterans through cutting-edge technology and I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of SoldierStrong, an organization that I have been on the advisory board of since 2014 and it aims to help injured heroes get back on their feet using this amazing new development in rehabilitation technology and joining us Chris meek. He is the chairman and the co-founder of SoldierStrong he founded it he works on it every single day and he is a hero to me and to many who are helped by his work. Chris great to see you this evening thanks for being here. You know we were there to talk to the House Science and Technology Committee about this cutting-edge technology and how it can be integrated into what our into how we continue to serve our veterans, and you feel that the way that we work on technology for the battlefield has to be extended across that bridge to after they come home.”
Chris Meek: “Absolutely and a lot of devices that we fund were originally funded through DARPA which is a part of the Department of Defense, and as you mentioned, we give our warfighters the absolute best technology we can on the battlefield but once they come home and they face the VA system there’s really no DARPA for veterans back here. And so we’re trying to fill that what I call the death valley gap. What they have in the battlefield versus the care they received back here at home.”
Martha MacCallum: “…And there are American companies that are making you know as I said during the hearing it’s that you know “Ironman isn’t just in the movies” I mean they’re creating arms that are fully usable from the elbow to the wrist all the way down to the fingers tell people a little bit about what can be done now that is so new and incredible.”
Chris Meek: “Well, now it’s even going a step further so the one device you mentioned actually is the only full range that includes the shoulder but now they’re hardwiring them into your brains so you actually just think about it and it moves other things like virtual reality. There’s one veteran we worked with at Vanderbilt University where he lost his arm in Vietnam and through technology, he put on through virtual reality actually turned a doorknob and he started crying it was the first time he actually felt a doorknob in 25 years and so to your point science fiction is becoming science fact.
Martha MacCallum: “Let’s just watch a moment with Dan Rose when he was in our studio a while back.”
Dan Rose: “Standing up was surreal like you know the act of like actually you know pushing up standing up and being high level with people again was just an amazing experience.”
Martha MacCallum: “The other side of this is government spending, and how it’s used right this technology is so psychologically beneficial as Dan says and it can turn people’s lives really talked about the fact that 20 veterans commit suicide every single day this technology helps to improve their lives and we hope to prevent some of those lives from being lost in that horrific way.”
Chris Meek: “Absolutely, and it’s one thing to think about being able to stand and bi-level with the world again it’s something that unites would take for granted but going that step further we’re actually working with some VA medical centers on a mental health study showing those benefits obviously the medical benefits are there things like reducing urinary tract infection increasing a muscle and bone density which the things that you don’t think about the unseen wounds of war that they talk about.
Martha MacCallum: “We’re going to see SoldierStrong this weekend at the Indy 500 right?”
Chris Meek: “We are, we are. We’re very fortunate to work with United Rentals one of our major sponsors and they are a sponsor of Indy car team Rae Hall Letterman Lanigan and they launched a program called turns for troops. the website is turnsfortroops.com and what they do is for every lap that driver Graham Rahal completes throughout the entire IndyCar season United Rentals donates $50 to our program thanks to them and to him.
Martha MacCallum: “It’s an extraordinary event you’re gonna be there this weekend so have fun send us some pictures and in the meantime, we’ve been putting on the bottom transfer troops in soldier strong org please make it part of your Memorial Day to log on and to check this out we hope you’ll help.”