Interview with David Guernsey, Jr. Executive Director of Special Forces Charitable Trust
The Special Forces Charitable Trust, a military nonprofit that provides meaningful and sustainable support, through programs and services, to the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) Community, has just successfully completed its Third Annual Great Americans Shoot.
In three years, the annual Shoot has raised nearly $4 million by bringing together donors for a weekend shooting competition that is as unique as it is successful.
We spoke with Special Forces Charitable Trust Executive Director David T. Guernsey, Jr., about the Shoot and the work being done by the organization.
David, tell us more about the recently completed Great Americans Shoot.
The Third Annual Great Americans Shoot, hosted by the Special Forces Charitable Trust (SFCT), raised $1,233,877 in a two-day shoot at the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall, CA in late September. The Great Americans Shoot was co-chaired by Mr. Terry English, retired Special Forces and President and founding member of SFCT, and Robert S. Bray, Jr., MD, a renowned Los Angeles area neurological spine surgeon. This year’s shoot was in honor of Laura Berry of Corpus Christi, TX, who has been among the Shoot’s top fundraisers in each of its first three years.
How do you raise that much money in the course of just two days?
It’s really a yearlong effort to raise the money for the Shoot, and we just couldn’t do it without the dedication of our supporters and participants.
The event has a unique platform, which facilitates fundraising and enables civilians to meet some of the men and women who have protected, and continue to protect, our country’s liberty. Sixteen teams competed in the Shoot this year, each consisting of five members and one “6th man” from the United States Army Special Forces or Special Operations Community.
Each team member, with the exception of the “6th men,” who are invited guests, raises money in order to participate. That’s the most extraordinary feature of this event; the patriotic fervor of our donors who raise significant amounts of money for our cause.
We understand that the Special Forces Charitable Trust shares the proceeds with some other deserving military nonprofits, which truly makes the event unique in the world of fundraising.
Each team chose a military charity they wished to represent, with the Special Forces Charitable Trust receiving the first 50% of all monies raised. The chosen charities of the top five fundraising teams split the remaining 50%.
- 30% to the top fundraising team
- 25% to the second ranked fundraising team
- 20% to the third ranked fundraising team
- 15% to the fourth ranked fundraising team
- 10% to the fifth ranked fundraising team
In addition, the top individual fundraiser, Co-Chair Robert S. Bray Jr., MD, was awarded the Grand Prize of a 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4 x 4, tricked out by Devious Customs of Riverside, CA. Dr. Bray immediately gifted the Toyota a recently retired Navy SEAL whose son is afflicted with a debilitating disease.
There was something new in the Shoot this year: tell us about that.
A new competition at the Shoot was inaugurated this year, with teams of sharpshooters from the Green Berets, Navy SEALS, the U.S. Marines, Army Rangers and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department competing in a three-gun event. Each team comprised of two sharpshooters and one private citizen who bid to be on a team.
You, your co-chairs and all of the participants must be thrilled with the results.
The Special Forces Charitable Trust thanks all of the donors, participants and volunteers who made this Shoot another rousing success. We are humbled by the support shown to the Special Forces and Special Operations Communities. The money will allow us to provide meaningful and sustainable support, through programs and services, to the United States Army Special Forces Community, past and present, and their families. Without this enthusiastic altruism and patriotism, we would not be able to perpetuate this level of support, which each of these military nonprofits provide to our nation’s heroes.
In the past three years, the Shoot has raised over $3.9 million for our nation’s Special Forces and other military nonprofits.
Tell us more about the Special Forces Charitable Trust
The Special Forces Charitable Trust provides meaningful and sustainable support for the Green Beret Community and Their Families. By United States Army Special Forces, we mean only one thing: The Green Berets.
The United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets) are a special breed: highly trained, fiercely proud and quietly effective. Known as the “quiet professionals,” they are the unsung heroes of the past and the diplomatic warriors in today’s war on terror
They have endured the highest casualty rate of all Special Operations Forces. In addition to the commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq, Special Forces Soldiers are deployed in over 45 countries worldwide.
Proceeds from the Great Americans Shoot will go a long way in allowing us to provide meaningful and sustainable programs and vital assistance to these brave soldiers and their families in the areas of Family and Community Support, Education and Motivation, as well as Veterans and Heritage assistance.
We have two websites that tell our story. www.specialforcescharitabletrust.org outlines our mission, shares success stories, and is a great way for people to donate to this vital cause. We also have a website for the Great Americans Shoot, www.greatamericansshoot.org, which explains more about the event, what we have achieved in three short years, and what we are planning for next year.
Anything you would like to add?
The Special Forces Charitable Trust and some of the Shoot’s most dedicated donors are already beginning to plan and fundraise for next year’s Shoot. All of the participants agree that it is never too early to think about and plan meaningful and sustainable ways to give back to members of the United States Military and their families.
Anyone can donate or participate. Just go to www.greatamericansshoot.org for details.
David, Thank you for your time today and thank you so much for the work you are doing for our veterans!