"We made an acquaintance in a hotel lobby in Grand Rapids Mi that would change everything. One random encounter… or was it? This encounter changed the entire direction of our business and touched our lives in an incredible way. That day in that hotel lobby we met a veteran that had a dream. His name was Gerald Alcorn. He was in town that day working on raising money for a military unit for their ‘family day’.
When we entered the hotel that evening, the hotel staff was excited to see us. We had been there before and they were big fans of our jerky and couldn’t wait to get their hands on the complimentary packages that were brought for them with each visit. While waiting in the lobby Gerald couldn’t help but notice the exchange and dialogue and came over to inquire about our beef jerky. During our conversion it became evident to him that we were very patriotic and that we had deep respect and admiration for our military. It was during that conversation, that one random encounter, that the direction of our business was changed forever and took on a whole new meaning.
Gerald began to tell us about what he had been up to in the last year…
Late summer of 2018, Gerald had been at a meeting with some veteran colleagues working on new ways to use the interconnective possibilities of today’s world that could turn the fight to end veteran suicide in the United States into the winning status. The number of veteran suicides per day in the US used to be an average of 22 per day. Currently the number is much higher and Gerald’s team had set out to put a definitive end to the needless deaths of their brothers and sisters.
Their gathering to work on this topic was no secret. Gerald and his colleagues were generating attention politically in the state of Michigan and in D.C. but it seemed like their attempts to brief senators & house committees always produced a powerful impression of their ambitious and well thought out plans. It was clear at the end of each briefing that no one had ever attempted anything like what Gerald’s team of veterans had come up with, however, frustratingly financial red tape continued to point to the need for the team to come up with a way to raise the money themselves.
About a year had passed from that time and it was now the late summer in 2019 when Gerald met us at that Michigan hotel lobby.
As we got to know each other and we talked about the cattle farm and what makes wagyu beef special, an idea struck Gerald… Dove Creek Wagyu Cattle Company beef jerky could be that long awaited vehicle to fund the veteran suicide project that was so desperately needed! After hearing all about the program, how it would be run, and the amazing people behind it, Wayne and I couldn’t help but be excited to get involved.
Not many days after we had made the decision to help with this mission, a tragedy occurred that really put things into perspective for us, as Gerald had reached out to us and was extremely upset. Utterly beside himself with grief, he told us about a young soldier from his old military unit that had just taken his own life, leaving a wife & small children behind. Gerald had been raising money to help this young soldier when we had first met him in that hotel lobby. A short time later another member of the same exact unit also took his life, also leaving behind a wife and small children. Gerald was devastated but has never given up on fighting to put a stop to these types of tragedies.
Even after hearing about and joining up with the cause, until Gerald shared these real world stories with us, we had never truly stopped to think about the horrifying facts of suicide. We learned that for members of a suicide victim’s immediate family & social circle suicide becomes a more likely outcome for their lives as a result of the original act. We also learned that each suicide affects well over 100 people directly."