Like most good adventure stories – it always seems to start with a backpack. Backpacks are the ever sturdy and reliable friend, filled to the brim with everything needed for exploration. They have seen thousands of miles, hundreds of cities, traversed over mountains, hiked through forests and visited some of the most extraordinary places in the world. Decorated with treasures from travels: patches, pins, spills, and dirt… if you look closely enough at a well-traveled backpack, you may find that they have a bigger story to tell.
And in the case of our story – it starts with a few.
A Chance Encounter
In 2004, Dan Nevins, a 15-year Army veteran, had just been through the amputation of both of his legs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after being in an IED explosion in Iraq. At around the same time, Nevins was visited by a representative from Wounded Warrior Project®, an organization that strives to give much-needed support to veterans with both seen and unseen wounds after returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In that first meeting almost 20 years ago, WWP gave him a backpack, and to this day, Dan says the impact of that backpack changed his whole life, and it was the most significant gift he had ever received. The backpacks, packed full of essential comfort items, were given to warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our other two backpacks come into the story a few years later in 2012 with the creation of the Basecamp® brand by Sweda. The Navigator and Concourse backpacks were the first bags on the market from Basecamp® – and they were instant successes. Armed with the idea that adventure and exploration do a body and soul sound, Basecamp® worked hard to focus on the details. They challenged themselves daily to make products that could easily traverse between the urban jungle and the great outdoors.
Now, fast forward to 2015 where Dan Nevins and Basecamp®’s stories intertwine.
A Special Partnership
Kellie Claudio, SVP of Sales & Marketing for the Basecamp® brand, was faced with the task of finding a guest speaker for their national sales meeting. The theme “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” led Kellie to contact John Melia to inquire about a veteran that might be willing to tell their story and speak at their meeting. Without hesitation, John suggested Dan.
Maybe it was luck, or perhaps it was a little bit of fate that John put Kellie in contact with Dan. But as soon as his speech started – it captivated the Sweda family. Kellie said it was one of the most memorable speeches she had ever heard; it was raw, emotional, captivating, and incredibly motivational. To Kellie and the rest of the Sweda family – they knew that Dan was something special and that he was someone who embodied Basecamp® in both soul and mind.
Meanwhile, the vision for the Basecamp® brand had a conundrum. Kellie felt it was missing a connection to the consumer and after hearing Dan tell his story, she knew that he was it.
Above all else, Dan believes in connecting, especially when it comes to those who need it most, and that’s what led him to his partnership with Basecamp®. He has since fascinated audiences throughout the promotional products industry, sharing his story as a personal speaker at several high-profile events and sales meetings annually, as a retreat leader, and as founder of the Warrior Spirit Retreat.
As Basecamp®’s brand ambassador, Dan has been able to offer other veterans the same support he experienced more than a decade ago. He has increased Basecamp®’s brand recognition while still giving back to his Warrior Spirit Retreat. Basecamp® is proud to support Dan, as he is an integral part of Basecamp®’s DNA now.
As the brand continues to grow, Kellie, the Basecamp® team, and Dan have now turned their focus on giving back to the community of veterans even more. Shifting their support to the Wounded Warrior Project, a portion of the proceeds of each-and-every Basecamp® item sold is donated to the charity along with a pledge of directly providing the organization with $115,000 in cash. They also donate supplies and provide additional funds to the organization’s backpack program – because, after all: it all started with three backpacks.
There are few companies out there that shine when it comes to giving back to their communities – ones that work hard to make sure that those who take care of them are taken care of. With corporate responsibility being a hot topic for many consumers – Sweda and their family of brands have set a gold standard! We can’t wait to see how they continue to grow their partnership with Dan and the Wounded Warrior Project.
To learn more about Sweda (SAGE #56805) and Basecamp®, you can check out their website here.
If you would like to learn more about Wounded Warrior Project and how you can support their organization, you can visit their website here.