Improving relationships on the front lines
Spirit of America has provided millions in targeted assistance to help locals on the front lines
- Duration 9:57
- Date Apr 11, 2012
Spirit of America has provided millions in targeted assistance to help locals on the front lines
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Losing a good news Jerusalem Israel does.
Well we're just here's religious school we're passing on jackets this Yahoo! local kids.
Got about a 150 jackets about a 130 kids so we're gonna go in there and you know just the other jackets who have kids.
We get different sizes for the difference Kuwait.
If they can -- because they can given there Brothers sisters.
Powerfully and it was a -- the street -- -- you can see him wearing like five layers and a jacket and I had and these kids over there if you look at another clearly -- -- is wearing a sweater and maybe a jacket on top so it's quite cold vehicle.
America we're able to from start to finish from talking to our contacts there until now the -- hasn't.
In three weeks we've been out of blood and medical supplies and sustainable energy.
Even jackets for the kids coming to -- from school we're never gonna do something that.
That is while not all be amazing projects organized by an extraordinary.
Foundation called spirit of America I hope you'll tricked out that website during -- break spirit of America.
Dot net what they have done is put together this model whereby they provide millions of dollars of assistance to help US troops.
Help local people.
So they find out from the troops while the local people need and then they organizing and getting it to them so the troops could distribute it that was.
Jackets as you still being given out to local people into -- -- down.
We -- on -- now to be joined in the studio here by the founder and CEO of spirit of America.
Jim -- great to have you -- Jim.
They and I know you know all the colts thought was a man who actually introduced us to you so you speak at Ted.
Which is another extraordinary organization actually tell us why eight U founded.
And started running this organization -- -- drew you to do it.
Was really the attacks of 9/11 that they led me to start spirit of America after 9/11 like many years most Americans I really wanted to do something to help.
And took little -- -- figure out what that was I have a background in the Internet -- technology and Internet entrepreneur who work.
And I mean I wanted to help defend that extend the ideals for which we stand and -- so.
Put your point of view though was driven by the different by winning the the old adage of winning hearts and minds I guess because this is not.
Action in any sense at all to defend America it's to win people over.
Right -- its history where people referred to a soft power so.
In the military is typically thought of in terms of hard power you know -- conventional military -- with guns and bullets and so forth.
But in this irregular warfare environment it's very wiped -- a military person whose population centric.
So it's about winning over the population and not winning over a little bit of a simplistic term but it's it's gaining the support of the local population and helping.
And in doing so to achieve the stability and security which is important to our own defense but.
How on earth to stop doing this I mean it after the attacks of 9/11 when you decided to do this.
What do you do pick up the phone into the Pentagon and say hey don't know what people over that need and I'll get -- over that -- I mean how does that look.
No actually I'm not from north to where you start is not really the top of something to start the bottom of something.
To really understand what's happening and how it works so.
-- I started down in the weeds and specifically what I learned about where that was the work of a team of special forces soldiers in Afghanistan.
And that I learned about the things that they were doing -- a small scale humanitarian nature they were doing that with help from folks back home.
So they were providing clothing and blankets and school supplies and even athletic equipment to that these Afghan villagers.
So I I solid this is on a National Geographic -- at the time in 2003.
And I knew that you could use the Internet to connect requirements -- needs like these soldiers had back to people like me in the states.
That would be happy to support them if they knew where their money was gone.
They're very specifically so I tracked down the special forces sergeant his name is.
And do the producers of the show -- -- for pragmatic with him and his team and said here here's the idea.
When guys like you need something to help the local population.
You contact me or my organization and will use the Internet to get people out.
And these side guys were essentially jumping out of their -- saying this would be terrific and I you have no idea how important it is and it will save lives.
-- went on to explain that the -- that because of the relationship that he had a special forces orders and -- with the Afghan villagers in or do.
This is the remote village on the Pakistan border than that the Afghan villagers -- the night watch patrol to protect our soldiers.
Because al-Qaeda and crossing the Pakistan border ignite the fire rockets on the camp.
So when Jay said that this would save lives I.
Knew that guy I had dead -- can -- to make it happen wind that's extraordinary and has -- as the military from top to bottom the US military embraced you as an organization on new projects forward we've developed wonderful relationship with with the military and it's.
Come about because we focused on the bottom so where we really understand and add value.
Is to the men and women on the front lines those that are working on achieving a particular outcome in a village or district or whether it's in Afghanistan Iraq Parker elsewhere.
Had because of that value added that we come and we say essentially what are you doing.
And how can we help.
Now if you're of the business which again I I didn't.
If -- shows up and says how can I help and actually means it.
It is a happy day if you're trying to get another job so because we're able to add value down as again I'll I'll say in the weeds down on the front lines.
How that makes them safer -- more successful in their missions.
That's what the higher levels really appreciate -- we upright operating a very decentralized way which is in keeping with the challenges of this irregular warfare environment.
-- -- -- And you're not a man -- easily impressed god knows I've tried to.
You -- that you're at this conference called Ted went from viewers who don't know about is kind of a loose organization that brings together.
People with big ideas -- -- -- you were up one of these and you you heard Jim speak and you will blown away by this I -- I mean this is the kind of thing that just lights me up and getting busy about trying to help not complaining not like united we sit around and talk about the stuff on television -- right for this guy is actually.
Today nothing that's a big big difference you know I'm not and -- and I know how hard it is to get something up and started in working and operating really functioning well to help people.
And this guy was doing it in spades in the thing and I consider the most important thing there is which is the defense of the United States of America so -- I want to tell us a little bit about some of the projects you have going now.
And how any of our view is that going it -- -- how they can then I get involved and how well it.
If that viewers go to spirit of America dot net www.
Spirit of America dot net.
There are specific projects.
Many in Afghanistan that involves special operations soldiers side Bob Marines involved regular soldiers as well.
And the good thing for people -- now is that a 100% of their donation goes exactly to what they want to go to Baghdad that's.
An important thing I think our overhead expenses are funded separately.
So people go to the website and see that so what are the ones that's featured there right now.
Is that a special operations team is looking for help with a GPS devices to give to the Afghan local police that there mentoring.
So the Afghan local police can be more effective in identifying and dealing with -- ED -- -- I geezer that are big the other primary killer of Barcelona -- also have devices yes.
So that is opera project that -- people can support right now.
Another one and also featured on our site is with -- where eyeglasses for Afghan got children and adults.
Which is spearheaded by an army special operations.
-- Who has come up with a pretty innovative way that it's it's -- -- more detail on the site.
Vision for four Athens and all these things dovetail with the military mission -- sorters are not just running around doing nice things for people that everything has.
A specific purpose and it needs to through their lives -- risk.
So if things for me the interesting intersection was humanitarian assistance -- National security and in our country's position in the world that's what these tiny projects often -- that picture.
And my a lot of our view is weighing in Sara west says the spirit of America idea is -- some.
All -- -- case with -- -- twelve exclamation points the looks -- things -- he -- spirit of America sends absolutely wonderful.
How proud -- you how proud are you of what this organization has become from the day you first had the idea.
Well I'm I'm very proud we have an excellent team we have.
Former military personnel right now on our staff who are serving our organization on the ground in Afghanistan.
And they're really the the the lead -- -- -- -- so they are working within and alongside military units in Afghanistan so I really take our my hat off to do that we have about.
Former army captain -- -- back is there how we have former army sergeant Mike press another army sergeant.
I sic Evans who -- were serving.
Alongside our troops in Afghanistan directing private sector support to the mission there so I'm very proud of them are very proud of the rest of the team as well.
And I have to say I agree with Sarah thank you.
All right it is a great organization.
It it's helping our troops obviously.
And helping the people who have -- so much.
On this amount pretty appalling regimes under the Taliban presence in Afghanistan we really appreciate you coming in today Jim.
Fascinating to hear about it and again the web site if you want to find out more to get involved there it is spirit of America don't -- help the troops help the people.
And I believe that is a message from a Stanley McChrystal from things that are yes -- -- he's on our guys who -- these on the advisable to OK great Jim.