Lew's has officially launched its American Hero Speed Stick rod series “out of genuine respect for America's military veterans and with a sincere promise to never forget them.”
American Hero is more than just a product line though. It is a program that Lew's developed as a way to help organizations that support veterans in their return to life after military service, and especially those organizations that use fishing as part of the transitional process. American Hero has already provided fishing gear support to a few such groups, including FOCUS Marines Foundation, Reel American Heroes Foundation and Operation HOOAH.
Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves says his company's decision to give back to veterans is probably the easiest one his management team has ever made.
"We have an obligation to those who have served our country, and this is one small way that the folks at our company can say 'thank you,'" he explained. "I can promise you there is no marketing-driven agenda behind American Hero. Our intentions are truly based on wanting to help veterans get an opportunity to enjoy some of the same activities that we have been participating in while they've been on duty, such as fishing.
"As many of us who fish recreationally already know, there's nothing like being in the neutral setting of the great outdoors with family and friends, and having a rod and reel in hand, to refresh the mind and soul."
A portion of the profits from the sale of American Hero and other specially identified Lew's products go into a budget line item for the program. Company officials review rod and reel requests from organizations, mostly focusing on those groups that provide assistance to veterans with health concerns.
Steve Kokai, a veteran who also works in the fishing industry, originally owned and trademarked the American Hero brand.
"It was during an unrelated phone visit with Steve that I realized he and Lew's shared a similar vision as to what American Hero was all about," said Gary Remensnyder, Lew's president.
"It wasn't long after that he graciously made the brand available to our company. Steve is active in programs like the Reel American Heroes Foundation of Virginia that helps wounded warriors and veterans of all services, and we consider him a valued ally in our efforts to provide meaningful support to such organizations. We couldn't have a better name than American Hero for this initiative."