Discover The Real-Life Heroes Who Trust Their Vision to Eagle Eyes

Meet the Heroes

Whether they’re fighting five-alarm fires, helping former prisoners start a new life, educating the next generation, or performing lifesaving surgery in the ER, these real-life heroes are helping to make the world a better place every single day—and the people of Eagle Eyes Eyewear are proud to play a part—protecting the vision of the heroes who protect us.

Meet these inspirational men and women—and find out how Eagle Eyes advanced optic technology is helping them do their heroic work even better.

Walt Cunningham
Former Astronaut and Veteran, US Marine Corps

Walt Cunningham was an exceptional and extraordinary man and true American hero. During his time on earth, he was well-grounded, but was always shooting for the stars. Walt was one of less than 600 people who flew in space, but that’s not even the most interesting thing about his life.

Walt joined the Navy in 1951 and served on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of colonel. He flew 54 missions as a night fighter pilot in Korea. Walt accumulated more than 4,500 hours of flying time in 40 different aircraft, including more than 3,400 in jet aircraft. Walt also worked as a scientist for the Rand Corporation for three years, working on classified defense studies and problems related to the Earth's magnetosphere.

Walt’s life changed forever, however, when he heard the radio broadcast of the rocket launch that took Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut, into space. That experience set him on a journey that would eventually lead him to becoming an astronaut, spending eight years at NASA, and 11 days in space on the Apollo 7 mission.

When Walt joined NASA he had nearly completed a doctorate in physics from UCLA, but after leaving the space program, instead of finishing the physics program, he made the move to Harvard Business School, becoming an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and an aerospace consultant. He also received an Emmy award for the live coverage of the Apollo 7 mission in space, and published a best-selling memoir of his time at NASA.

Walt was a noted Eagle Eyes hero and a long-time supporter, believer and personal wearer of our brand. For as long as our products have been around, Walt was a fan, friend, and member of the Eagle Eyes family. In 2022, we designed our 22k gold Freedom Apollo glasses in Walt’s honor. We will never forget and are forever grateful for Walt’s contributions to our nation and to the Eagle Eyes space technology brand. We will miss him dearly.

Jodi Slicker
Pasadena Fire Department Fire Captain

Whether it’s fighting fires, performing dangerous rescues or being a first responder to an emergency, Jodi Slicker does life saving work every single day.

Born and raised in Southern California, Jodi hung out at the local fire station where her dad was a firefighter. And as soon as she realized women could become firefighters there was no question what career path she would take.

For over ten years Jodi served in the Pasadena Fire Department, earning the trust and respect of her colleagues. Then Jodi decided to go out for fire captain. She told her dad that if she got promoted, he would be the one to pin the captain’s badge on her uniform—and he was.

Jodi is only the second female fire captain in Pasadena’s 140-year history. In a field traditionally dominated by men—only 3% of firefighters nationwide are women—that’s an incredible feat. It’s undecided whether Jodi will set her sights on becoming Pasadena’s first battalion chief, but one thing is certain: she’s up for whatever challenge life throws at her.

Kevin Schmiegel
Veteran, US Marine Corps

After devoting twenty years of his life serving his country, Kevin Schmiegel is now committed to helping other men and women who have served.

"Having my own experience in the Marine Corps and seeing so many young men and women who were transitioning out having difficulty finding meaningful employment, I took that as an opportunity to start a nonprofit inside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foundation," said Kevin.

His nonprofit is called Hiring Our Heroes, and since its founding in 2011, more than a million veterans and military spouses have been hired through their job fairs and corporate partnership programs.

The response that Kevin received from former service members who found jobs through Hiring Our Heroes cemented his desire to continue nonprofit work, and he subsequently has led two other national nonprofits that impacted millions of Americans, including more than 1.3 million service members, veterans, and their families.

Mitch Utterback
Veteran, US Armed Forces

After years of serving his country in the military Mitch Utterback still finds ways to serve every day. From disaster response efforts to volunteering with veterans to animal rescue, Mitch is a real-life, everyday hero.

Mitch enlisted in the Army at 21, and while he humbly refers to himself as simply a veteran, the reality is that he served for more than twenty years, including as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Today Mitch is part of a National Incident Management Team that responds to natural disasters, helps veterans transition back to civilian life, and provides expert military analysis to national and local news organizations. He also volunteers his time with animal rescue organizations and travels the country speaking about his life and experiences.

“I’m retired from the military, but I’m not done serving yet,” he says. “I’m out in the world, trying to leave every place I go a little better than I found it.”

Clyde Terry
Veteran, US Marine Corps

“I’m retired from the military, but I’m not done serving yet,” he says. “I’m out in the world, trying to leave every place I go a little better than I found it.”

Not many people start off in the military, transition to law enforcement and then end up transforming the lives of ex-prisoners, gang members, and homeless youth. But then again, nothing about Clyde Terry’s life is typical.

Clyde’s story has many parts—but each is steeped in honor and heroism. He served in the United States Marine Corps for a decade before moving to Southern California and joining the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy. He became a gang investigator, and it didn’t take long for his dedication, intelligence and calm under pressure to elevate him to undercover work in organized crime, including two years in an FBI Task Force.

In 2003, he took a leave of absence to take a position in Iraq as an International Police Adviser for the State Department. Soon after returning home from Iraq, Clyde decided that he wanted to serve the community in a different way—by helping marginalized people become productive members of society. For nearly ten years, Clyde has served as the director of the Emerging Leaders Academy, a nonprofit that empowers former prisoners, gang members and homeless youth through guidance, mentoring, and training.

Jessica Sullivan
Registered Nurse

For Jessica Sullivan and thousands like her, nursing isn’t just a job—it’s a calling. When Jessica began her nursing training she didn’t know she’d end up in one of the profession’s most emotionally demanding specialties: caring for critically ill children in one of the country’s top-ranked hospitals.

Nurses can choose to work in a range of facilities and situations, but for Jessica, the bigger the challenge, the more appeal it held. A volleyball scholarship helped pay for Jessica’s bachelor degree in nursing, and from there she went on to earn advanced certifications in resuscitating pediatric and adult patients, as well as assessing and treating stroke victims.

That led to Jessica’s current career in nursing, where she works in two high stakes areas: the emergency department and the pediatric ICU. In both, Jessica and her colleagues work closely together to make decisions that can save the lives of young patients needing critical care.

“It’s all worth it when a four-year old comes back to the unit to say ‘thanks’ after finally getting to go home and play with his siblings,” she says.