While we have shared stories about our relentless pursuit of outdoor cooker and cooking perfection leading to the creation of the Orion Outdoor Cooker 15 years ago, we also realize such things are trivial in the grand scheme of things.
Hey, we all love the pats on the back, high-fives and fist bumps we get when we serve up an incredibly cooked meal. We hold our heads a little higher, puff our chests out a bit further and maybe, just maybe, incorporate a little strut into our gait.
Ahhhh, yes, a grillmaster’s moment of glory! For most, this is as close as we get to a hero’s welcome. And, hey, don’t think for one second that we’re suggesting you not bask in it or offer up any apologies. It’s all in fun...and Lord knows you can never have enough joy in your life.
What we do ask, however, is that when that when you’re done taking your victory lap and (in your mind) you’ve finally finished thanking all those who made this moment possible, you return to reality and give thought and thanks to the true heroes who exist in this world.
At Orion Outdoor Cooker, the only thing that rivals our commitment to our customers is our appreciation to the men and women who serve this nation. While we fully recognize that we could never possibly repay these heroes, and the countless others who have come before them, we certainly believe in supporting them whenever possible.
While there is no shortage of opportunities and organizations out there — and we applaud each of them — there are a couple in particular that we have been fortunate enough to forge relationships with in recent years.
One in particular is Pedal for Patriots, a nonprofit that was created to provide financial support to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Navy SEALS are members of U.S. special forces teams that bravely enter the most dangerous areas and situations around the world in an effort to protect and defend our country and its interests.
True warriors, Navy SEALS are modern-day heroes. Most could never fathom the risks and dangers that these elite individuals face each and every day. The risks they are required to take and the sacrifices they willingly make both remarkable and unimaginable.
These heroes are not only courageous, but also modest. If you’re fortunate enough to know an active or former SEAL, you’ll quickly realize they are not eager to share stories about the action they’ve witnessed or missions they have accomplished. For them, it is not about recognition or glory. It’s not about fame or riches.
It is about duty.
It is about a sense of purpose.
It is about an unwavering desire to preserve the freedoms and values upon which this nation was built.
No matter how tough or battle-tested these heroes are, or how indestructible they may appear, they too encounter hardships. Whether it be during active duty or later in life, there are times when even they could use occasional assistance. For this very reason, the Navy SEAL Foundation was formed and, since 2000, has created a series of programs that are designed to provide financial, educational and emotional support programs to SEALS and their families.
They provide this care in a variety of ways, including camps for children and family retreats, providing financial assistance for memorial services, and helping to fund the construction of Navy SEAL statues and other monuments.
Deciding to support the efforts of an organization such as the Navy SEAL Foundation is simple, but it was a visit to the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California, back in 2014 that truly inspired Christian Fitzgerald, the founder and CEO of Orion Outdoor Cooker Outdoors.
“We tend to believe that SEALS are the best of the best, and that they can’t be harmed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and many of them are severely injured or killed in action. So many have made the ultimate sacrifice over the years,” said Fitzgerald. “When this happens, it not only affects the SEALS, but also their families. By the time my tour was over that day, I knew I wanted to find a way to give back.”
Soon after, Fitzgerald launched Pedals for Patriots, and annual long-distance bike ride that solicits donations, with all proceeds given to the Navy SEAL Foundation.
The first ride took place in November of 2015, when Fitzgerald rode 619 miles from his home in Atlanta, Georgia to a Navy SEALS base in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he presented the foundation with a check for an undisclosed amount.
In the years since, Fitzgerald and a group of fellow supporters have completed rides from Atlanta to Tampa, Florida; Atlanta to Fort Pierce, Florida, home of the Navy UDT-Seal Museum; and, this November, he will lead a pack of riders on a 390-mile trek from Atlanta to Amelia Island, Florida.
“The rides can definitely get a little grueling but they’re a lot of fun. It’s extremely rewarding, too, when you remember who you’re riding for and how this will, in some way, help an individual or family that has done so much for us and our country,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s an honor to give back in some way, and I wish we could do more. These heroes are so deserving of our support.”
Christian not only coordinates and participates in this annual fundraiser, but Orion Outdoors and the Orion Outdoor Cooker are sponsors of Pedal for Patriots.
“This is an organization that I feel a personal connection to and want to get behind, but it’s also a relationship I wanted to support professionally,” said Fitzgerald. “I am proud to have Orion Outdoor Cooker be associated with such an important cause, and we truly appreciate these incredible heroes.”
If you’re interested in making a donation to the 2019 Pedal for Patriots, or if you’d like to be a corporate sponsor, please visit the website, www.pedalforpatriots.com. You can also find more information by visiting the organization on Facebook (Pedal For Patriots) or Instagram (pedal4patriots). Thank you for supporting the efforts of the Orion Outdoor Cooker.