USA + EPIC: Wild & Free

June 30, 2017 by David Leffler posted on Adventure, Inside Epic

Here at EPIC, we’ve fought to solidify ourselves as the ultimate snack for active life. From trail runners and crossfitters to Olympic snowboarders, skiers, and boxers, we proudly fuel some of the best athletes in the world with our protein-dense, on-the-go products. But far and away, the people we are most proud to support are the ones protecting our nation: America’s Armed Forces.

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It’s true. Over the past few years, we have slowly developed a relationship with U.S. military compounds across the world. This hasn’t been easy—there are, understandably, tight restrictions and vetting processes for getting retail items into on-base and in-office stores—but we were convinced our no-nonsense meat snacks would appeal to America’s bravest. Fortunately, we were right.

Nowadays, you can find EPIC everywhere from forts in the American Midwest to bases in the Middle East. For a company that was based in a duplex in Austin, Texas just a few years ago, that’s pretty remarkable. But there’s more to the story here. It’s not just about where EPIC is—it’s about who we serve, and how we fit into their daily lives. To get an inside look at this, I caught up with Greg Chaney, the Navy Senior Enlisted Adviser for Navy Special Warfare Unit THREE’s Intelligence Department.

“Joining the Navy in 2003 was the biggest decision of my life,” Greg replies calmly as I ask him about how he got here. “I was only 21 and headed down a bad path. My grandfather and father both served, and I thought it would help set me straight. It truly was a moment of clarity.”

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His voice crackles a bit over the phone. He’s calling me from a base in Bahrain but, despite the 8-hour time difference and shoddy connection, is surprisingly excited to speak with me. As we chat, I quickly realize how full the past 14 years have been for him. He’s been all over the world, staying in places like Guam, Iraq, and, his favorite, Italy. While climbing the career ranks from Junior Sailor to Security Specialist to his current role—which is heavily involved in handling, dissecting, and delivering sensitive information to commanders—he’s practically seen it all. That applies to rations as well as people.

“I’ve been in the Special Warfare community for about four years, which works closely with the best of the best: SEALS, Special Ops, the top guys,” he explains. “EPIC bars have been approved by the Navy and our Head Nutritionists for our pack-out for training, exercises, and operations.”

Although soldiers can purchase EPIC products at on-base stores, we send Greg direct care packages every now and again since he loves them so much. This makes him a very popular guy. If he’s not careful to ward off begging friends, the entire box of goodies typically runs out within an hour of being opened. Greg’s typically quick to share, but it’s not as if he can just buy more when he runs out—packages take weeks to get to their remote location, and there’s nothing else like EPIC on-base.

“The quality alone is unmatched. It’s all-natural, farm-raised, and based in Texas, which is huge,” the Dallas native says. “I work in a field where we’re very conscious about what we put into our bodies, so I’m definitely of the belief that you need to eat things that will treat your body better in the long run.”

As an American food company, there’s no higher praise we can get than this. We strive to make products that let people feel their best, regardless of whether they’re between meals with their kids or pushing their bodies to their absolute brink. But to know American soldiers are choosing us to keep them fed, fueled, and alert while they defend our homeland—that’s the kind of stuff you don’t overlook, even for a second.

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So whether you're celebrating the Fourth of July or paying your respects to American veterans on Veterans Day, we ask that you take a moment to thank the countless men and women who have, are, and will defend this country. And Greg: Thanks for everything you do. We’ll have a new box out there for you in no time.