This is our first blog post. I want to start off with the very beginning and what put me on this journey. Back in 2013, I was put in a very scary situation where I needed a firearm for a defensive purpose. It was dark, cold, and I was alone. It was me and a bad guy, struggling on the ground until I was saved with my lawfully owned firearm. This encounter put me on my path to where I am today. I became a gun rights advocate and an NRA certified instructor.
I was a brand new instructor trying to find my way in a very ego-driven, testosterone-fueled industry. I was working with many parents that were new to firearms, they were finally realizing the importance of a firearm to protect their families. I will never forget where I was when the Lord spoke to me. It might sound crazy but, It was a higher power that started me on this journey. Back in 2014 I was working for an underground utility company during the Mon-Fri and teaching on the weekends. I’ll never forget where I was when I heard that voice. We were working on a project in downtown Eugene. I was driving a dump truck in the middle of the night, on 6th St. I heard a voice, “you have to protect the kids.”
I remember at the time thinking what does that mean? Who said that? My only answer was that it was my higher power. I got off work at 6:00 AM. I went home and slept for 2 hours and woke up. I hopped on my computer and started researching kids firearm safety. There was one program available, it was by the NRA. Being from Eugene, I was concerned about how well-received it would be. I didn’t want to only reach 5 kids, I wanted to reach 5K kids or more.
I started to develop my own program. I traveled all over the state of Oregon gathering information to put it all together. It took close to 2 years of trial and error to put it all together. I probably put 1000-1500 hours to bring it to life. Many of those hours were spent in front of kids learning how best to present the information to them. It was a great experience and with their help, I was well on my way. I learned as much from them as they did from me. It was absolutely incredible to watch, what started as an idea and with a tremendous amount of hard work. Now has turned into something that will hopefully change the face of safety in our country.
The Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation was born in April of 2016. I remember the first official class at a local business, I was terrified. Would the public be supportive of what I was trying to do? It was such a new and provocative topic. The first class was featured on the local news. The public was surprisingly supportive. I had passed my first test. This gave me the confidence to keep pushing forward. As our foundation grew, so did our message. Every class that we taught was a testament to that safety education was a viable solution over-regulation. We began doing random events in the public involving many of our wonderful volunteers and their families. It has been so much fun. In 2018 I wrote legislation that would have authorized our program in the first grade for all of Oregon’s public schools. We had a good run and opened a national dialogue when it comes to the safety of our kids. This is just the beginning though.
Thank you for following us on our journey. I plan on continuing to write blog posts to educate, entertain, and engage with you all. I learned a lot during the shut down because of the pandemic. I really missed working with the kids and writing about our experiences together. It’s my hope that this will give the public solutions to the dangers that our kids face. Leadership is more important now than it has ever been before. ZERO firearm accidents is the only acceptable goal!! ™
This was the very spot where the idea came to me.