By Scott Henson, Nike Brand Director & Brandon Young, Team RWB Director Development
Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Team USA Olympians like Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton. These individuals, and many others, are American sports heroes we look up to. They challenge us to run harder, move faster, add another rep, and win for the team. They inspired us with their charisma and performance, but mostly their commitment to their craft. The unwavering passion to compete and win on the field of play. Each of them wore the colors of their nation on a uniform emblazoned with the U.S. Flag and with the Nike Swoosh.
I’m no professional athlete, no hero of sport. I never will be. But there is a kindred connection that unites me to these American champions. I honed my craft in the service of our nation, moved “further, faster and [fought] harder”, committed to an unwavering passion to execute the mission and win on the battlefield. Today and into the future, I get to share another special similarity with these icons as I wear my jersey emblazoned with the colors of the U.S. Flag and with the Nike Swoosh.
A simple garment is not so simple after all. It can inspire us, identify us and connect us in meaningful ways. When we were served, we always knew which team we were on. Old Glory hung on our shoulders, our branch of service above the right breast pocket marked us as Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. Whichever unit you were assigned to, you always knew you were a member of the “big team”, you always knew you were “in”.
Nike Brand Director and US Navy Petty Officer First Class, Scott Henson, reflects how the challenges of reintegration can compound into catastrophic outcomes at times in our community. “This March, I attended the funeral of a Navy shipmate who took his own life. He had a wife and a newborn, and always appeared in good spirits when we saw him at Navy Reserve drill weekends. Unfortunately, that was not the case.”
Despite years of operating in concert with others, when we take off that uniform, we can feel alone. Immediately unsure of where we fit, at times unsure of who we’re supposed to be. At Team RWB, we understand and embrace this challenge. We are a team committed to meeting our veterans where they are at and connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. We are committed to reminding veterans where they “belong” after exiting service…with us. Home. And we are committed to executing veteran enriching programs that increase health, connection to people, and a regained sense of purpose.
Scott is one of the Nike Leaders committed to enriching the lives of America’s veterans, who has labored to bring our teams together for years. “Seeing the growth of Team RWB over the past few years gives me hope that Veterans can find others who may share similar experiences, and find fulfillment and purpose through the engagement and support of those who appreciate their service and sacrifice, and help them toward more positive outcomes.”
We are excited to announce this month that we will continue our partnership with Nike, for the next 5 years, fueling veteran enrichment together. Since 2014, and into the future, every veteran who signs up for Team RWB, receives their Nike Team RWB Dri-Fit Performance shirt emblazoned with the Eagle and the flag they fought to protect. A gift and a humble symbol of unity and inspiration. An invitation to join the Eagle Nation fueled by Nike, an American icon birthed in the Northwest by U.S. Army veterans Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight.
“Phil Knight served in the Army Reserve, and Bill Bowerman served on active duty in World War II before going on to be a world-class track coach at the University of Oregon, and the co-founder of Nike.” Scott asserts that, “supporting Team RWB through this partnership is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have donned a uniform, and allows us the opportunity to join Team RWB in inspiring Veterans to apply the same dedication and commitment to whatever their next pursuit will be.”
As part of this celebration, Nike has created a special METCON 3 Team RWB shoe. Supplies are limited and a portion of the proceeds directly fund veteran enriching programs.
Lebron James, Landon Donovan, Derek Jeter, The American Veteran. United by sport and inspired by our great nation. Together.
It’s Our Turn.