A couple of weeks ago, I was able to make the drive up to New Jersey and spend the day with U.S. Elite and see some of the good things happening with them. Steve Keefer, owner of U.S. Elite, invited Spotter Up to be present when they announced the first of three initiatives that will be part of their quest to find their Higher Purpose. In attendance were several officers from the local and Regional SWAT teams, a former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik and his son (Newark PD SWAT officer), former members of the SOF community, U.S. Elite team members from out of state and product representatives Steve and Hugh from Amer Sports (Arc Teryx, Salomon and Suunto). Steve brought in Brad to share his story of recovery and how Warriors Heart Foundation saved his life.
Brad opened up to share with all of us how addiction had taken hold of him and where it had taken him. He has been sober for 337 days (and counting) since leaving the Warriors Heart facility in Bandera, (near San Antonio) Texas. While in treatment, Brad had a roommate from a SOF unit also dealing with addiction. His roommate had shown up with his only pair of footwear, the same boots he had deployed with. They in rough shape and far from serviceable. Brad ordered a pair of Salomon Forces boots from U.S. Elite to give his roommate to start his journey to recovery. Brad did this 3 more times while at Warriors Heart to give his brothers solid footing on their path forward. Steve and U.S. Elite has since shipped $50,000 of Salomon Forces footwear to Warriors Heart Foundation, that’s 275 pairs, each with a handwritten card for the recipient. Steve’s goal is to continue to donate boots to the recovering warriors by donating a percentage of every sale of Salomon Forces footwear from U.S. Elite to provide a pair for every participant. With this being only the first of three initiatives, that Steve and his team has for giving back to the community he continues to serve, I am looking forward to the other two.
U.S. Elite is the only company to have partnered with Salomon for an exclusive variant of the Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid; the Sua Sponte. The Sua Sponte comes in Wolf Grey and is only available at U.S. Elite. They now have the Sua Sponte Mark II, (XA Forces Mid non-Gore-Tex) in the same exclusive Wolf Grey with the current Salomon upgrades to the sole, added abrasion resistant medial and toe protection and black accents. While at this event, Amer Sports regional sales managers were on hand to speak to the focus for the coming year for Arc Teryx LEAF and Salomon Forces and share a little company history. The Forces line is focusing on protection for its law enforcement users by adding anti-slip, anti-static and anti-puncture properties to their soles. The Forces line has been around since 2015 with reduced logo signatures and upgraded durability, but Salomon has been making footwear for military users since the early 2000’s. Arc Teryx will be re-introducing the Spinx combat pants due to demand from some of its DoD clients. Arc Teryx started the LEAF (Law Enforcement Armed Forces) program in 2003 offering low-vis logo and subdued color schemes. To speak to their quality, there is an Alpha Jacket that has been on deployment and in use for over 16 years, getting handed off to the incoming war fighters. These brands only exemplify the quality of gear and the service that Steve is maintaining both in his company and customer service but also in his resolve to give back to the community.
This was a great trip to meet a fellow 2/75 Ranger, his team and some industry professionals while representing Spotter Up. I got to spend some time talking with Brad after he shared his story. You could really hear and feel the passion and focus he has looking for every opportunity to pay it forward. This embodied the atmosphere found in the offices of U.S. Elite, taking care of and giving back to the community they serve both locally and globally. After all the news and business was taken care of, I was invited to dinner at the Front Porch Pub. A perfect end to the day, sharing some beers, stories and time with the team and the reps from Amer Sports. If you haven’t checked out U.S. Elite, please go stop by their website or social media feeds. They carry top quality brands, sold at competitive prices and their customer service is top notch.
*All photos provided by U.S. Elite staff