I will never forget where I was, in the middle of the night, when the universe spoke to me. I was working a graveyard shift on a local rapid transit project. I was driving a dump truck through downtown Eugene about 3 AM. There was a flash of light and a voice said “you have to protect the children!” It might seem unbelievable but, I do believe that was the catalyst that started me on my journey to get me where I am today. I got off of work at 6 AM and went to sleep for 2 hours. When I woke around 8 AM I was a man possessed. What did “protect the children” actually mean. I hopped on my computer and started doing research. Being a new firearms instructor I thought about how I could actually teach the kids safety. Through my research I did see one program available. It was from the NRA. Being from Eugene, I was concerned on how well it would be received by the public. So I set out to develop my own program. I remember in the beginning, I was told “you can’t do this.” “It will never work.” “You are wasting your time!” People had doubts in what I was trying to do. I had to believe though.
I remember in the beginning I would have friends bring their kids so I could demo what I was starting to develop. Some got tired of being a guinea pig but, were supportive. They gave me the critical help I needed in the very beginning to take an idea, turn it into a concept, and then build a nationally recognized organization around that very concept. As I write this I reflect on the journey and the tremendous amount of work that it has taken for me to get to where I am today. As I began to get traction in the community, I started to get exposure in the media. I remember our first interview in the media. The news featured a picture of a 9 year old kid shouldering an AR-15. I was teaching him about muzzle discipline and trigger discipline. The response from the local community was supportive and I remember at the time there was no negative PR. I’m not sure if I could pull off that same image again today in the climate we face. After that first actual class that was open to the public, I filed all the necessary paperwork to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Once approved I came up with the name the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation. In the beginning it was challenging splitting my time between working full time, training adults, and putting in the time needed to get this new organization off of the ground. I worked nights and weekends building what we do today. I missed holidays, I sacrificed a lot to get KSF to where we are currently, nationally.
It was a mission that was very important to me and too many supporters from around the country. It’s their support that helps keep us going, innovating, and pushing to get to that next level. We are so close to rolling out nationally. With the help from many different qualified instructors. This is a very important time in our country. There are evil forces at work that use fear and emotion to control part of our populace. They are very well funded and well organized. They are trying desperately to control the narrative and push further restrictions. The one part they are lacking is true education. It is my belief from all of my years of professional experience that their approach is misguided and naive. Just in sheer numbers their ideas are flawed and dangerous. One thing that hasn’t been tried yet is actual “Gun Safety.” We all want to save lives only a select few only know how to make this happen. I have an estimate of over 2500 hours in design, trial, and working in front of the children. I know first hand knowledge that what we are doing works. We have reached over 23,000 kids through out our travels. What is the most amazing part about what we do as an organization is, that we are small and nimble. We are able to shift and change our focus to go where we need to go to protect our children.
Now is the time for action. It is time that we come together as a nation and it is time to try something that we have never given a true opportunity too, education. Gun safety is for all children, not just the children with guns inside of their homes. Kids can come in contact with a firearm in many different environments in their everyday routines and proper education will help ensure they will live long happy lives. What we need is to have those that have the loudest microphones to stop with the rhetoric and to listen to the experts in the subject for a while. While talking to children about guns might be scary for some, what is the alternative? Kids dying and we as a country to kick the can down the road and to blame the gun? The amount of partisanship that is attached to this topic or any other gun related topic is unacceptable. Calm heads should prevail and leadership is needed right now. There is literally no way they can physically take firearms away. It is impossible. It will never happen. So we all need to come together and coexist. As gun owners, we care about the safety of others. What is unfair is how we are painted as being heartless and violent. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is my belief that if we can finally work together, we can make a difference to help save lives, for real. No make believe, no smoke and mirrors, actual safety! So now is our time, it is our time to make them listen. The future generations depend on us. Our country depends on us as well. We are up to the task though. Stay tuned 2022 is going to be a great year for us. Until next time. Be safe!