A Hero Helping Heroes

If anyone knows how much a care package means to our deployed troops, it's Kevin Schmiegel.

At a young, energetic 51, Kevin has had the life experience of someone twice his age. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps--and that was just the beginning of his service. Immediately after retiring from the Marines, Kevin took a high-powered job in Washington, D.C. But he knew that the vast majority of veterans struggled to find meaningful employment--so he did something about it. In 2011, he founded Hiring Our Heroes, a nonprofit devoted to finding good jobs for military veterans and spouses. Since then, more than half a million veterans and military spouses have been hired through their job fairs and corporate partnership programs.

Kevin realized that nonprofit work is simply another way to serve--so he kept at it. In 2017, he became the CEO of Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that sends care packages to deployed U.S. troops. To date, Operation Gratitude has delivered more than 2.1 million care packages--including 10,000 packages containing sunglasses donated by Eagle Eyes.

Kevin is more than happy to share Eagle Eyes with U.S. service members--because he himself wears them.

As the CEO of a national nonprofit, Kevin works 14-hour days frequently. From driving to and from meetings to spending hours in front of a computer, Kevin's work takes a toll on his eyes, so he uses Eagle Eyes advanced optic technologies to protect and enhance his vision.

Kevin says that Eagle Eyes DigiTec® glasses really help for long days in front of the computer, fielding emails and managing staff. "Now that I'm 51, it's even more impactful because my eyes get really tired by the end of the day, and this really helps me focus on the screen and see the words clearer. It really helps to have something that enhances what you do every minute that you're in front of the screen."

Late nights are a part of the job, and Kevin has been amazed at the difference Eagle Eyes Night-Lite® glasses have made.

"As someone who's in their early 50s, these do remarkable things for my eyes--so much so, that my wife now has a pair too, and she uses them all the time. And not only do I wear these at night, I also wear them at times of the day when there's low light, or on overcast days when it's really cloudy out. [They] really enhance what you see through the windshield. Everything becomes much, much clearer."

And when it comes to the daytime, sunglasses are a must for Kevin. He loves that Eagle Eyes sunglasses can withstand the constant travel and still provide excellent protection against harmful UV rays, scattered blue light, and glare.

"They're so well made. As a Marine, we can pretty much beat up everything, but these sunglasses have withstood a lot." He also loves including them in care packages because of the excited responses that he receives from veterans.

After receiving a care package, one veteran wrote to Operation Gratitude to thank them and shared a photo of herself with her gift--and wearing Eagle Eyes. "I'm wearing my favorite item--the awesome folding sunglasses," she said.
Another veteran was also delighted by his care package, especially the notes, letters, and drawings from kids.

"It's reassuring to know that America's young people are being introduced to the sacrifices their country's veterans made to insure the freedoms we all enjoy," he wrote in a thank you letter.

"It's great for me as the CEO to know that we're putting this quality of a product into our care packages, because they're so well made and the technology protects our heroes, too, which I think is really important. We have found in the emails that we get back from recipients that Eagle Eyes is a brand that heroes can count on."

Learn more about Kevin or meet our other Heroes.

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