Genuine American Hero: Steve Viola

It’s not too often we hear stories of true, genuine American heroes. Command Master Chief Navy SEAL Steve Viola is one such hero. He’s a man that has seen just about everything and overcome every variety of challenge that life has posed him with. Overcoming these issues, Steve says, is all about how you approach them.

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Garth, Hannah and Steve at Steve’s 30 year retirement ceremony.

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There’s two ways to do something. The right way, or again. In Steve’s eyes, failures are not a bad thing. They are instead an opportunity to learn and improve. It’s all about humbleness. The ability to analyze and learn from your mistakes is what separates the achievers from those who merely try. Although highly decorated, Steve’s path to heroism was not without obstacles. Initially, Steve desired to do a 2 year service and return to college, however during his term a friend convinced him to attend BUD/S or Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training. After a grueling 6 weeks of SEAL training, Steve failed the running test by only two seconds. Determined to prove himself, he returned 6 months later, only to fail the water treading test. You know what they say, the third time’s the charm. After finally passing BUD/S, Steve was deployed in the Gulf War. Sometime during his service, he was recommended to attend the Green Beret Medic School. During his attendance there, he failed the final exam by only a few points. This meant he had to repeat the course from day 1. Steve doesn’t look at the setbacks as detrimental however, instead viewing them as beneficial. Steve says that repeating all of the training for BUD/S and the Green Beret Medic School only made him better at it because he had been practicing it for so long.

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Steve rocking a Pirate

Steve says that your failures do not define you. He comes from a community where the difficult is done immediately, and the impossible is done by appointment. Everyone is a work in progress and learning from your mistakes is what gives us the ability to improve ourselves. In his words, his primary mission is to help everyone willing to improve to succeed in life. Take it from someone who’s seen everything and overcome countless adversities, if you have a capable attitude you will see results!

American Hat Makers STeve Viola Retirement party. Garth and Hannah Watrous (7)

A case displaying Steve’s many awards and medals.

American Hat Makers STeve Viola Retirement party. Garth and Hannah Watrous (2)

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Hats for American Heroes!

At American Hat Makers, we believe in giving back to our community. It is not only a core belief of ours, it is written into our mission statement:

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At American Hat makers our mission is to produce distinctive hats while treating our customers and employees with compassion and integrity and bettering our community through service and philanthropy.

Recently, our American Hat Makers family has been asking ourselves:

“What can we do to make a difference in the lives of American service men and women?”

As part of our ongoing dedication to bettering our community, American Hat Makers is proud to announce a new initiative, Hats for American Heroes.

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Decorated serviceman Audie Murphy

The purpose of Hats for American Heroes is to give back in the best way we can to those who have given – and continue to give – their all for us. We want to do anything and everything we can to the men and women in uniform – both active military and veterans.

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U.S Air Force Veteran and founder of the Make-a-Wish foundation, Frank Shankwitz.

Did you know:

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, and approximately 10 percent of them are women.
  • California has the highest number of veteran residents, with 2 million, followed by Texas and Florida, each with 1.6 million.
  • According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, as many as 20 percent of troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 have come home and reported having PTSD.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2013 there were 722,000 unemployed veterans.

To that end, through Hats for American Heroes, American Hat Makers will:

  • Donate hats to America’s heroes through community events and charitable giving opportunities.
  • Donate financially to reputable organizations that support our service members and veterans.
  • Offer employment opportunities to America’s military personnel and their families.

 

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Hannah & Garth Watrous attending Master Chief Navy Seal Steve Viola 30 year retirement ceremony as a notable Navy Seal with several accolades.

We want to show support and gratitude for those on active duty, retired veterans, and the wounded, injured, or sick. We hope that our efforts will not only help our heroes, but also inspire others to volunteer, donate, and support the men and women who so selflessly put their lives on the line for our freedoms.

Please join us as we salute and give thanks to our American Heroes!

Written by Jessica Johnson for American Hat Makers

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