An interview with Chuck Lee, our Director of Veteran Affairs
Every once in a while someone comes along that changes your perception of the world around you and makes you want to be a better person. Charles Lee, or Chuck as he’s known to his friends, is one of those rare people. He’s a quiet man, but he speaks with a steady, sure voice. It’s this steadfast, yet passionate heart for others that led him to the military, and it led him to act as an advocate for those who get overlooked in society.
We sat down with him to talk about how he became connected with Ring-Co and the TUC, and learn about his exciting efforts to bring awareness and support for veterans in Washington, DC.
How did you end up working with Ring-Co?
I connected with Ring-Co in 2016. Several years ago when I was discharged from the military, I ordered a chair from Action Track, and I found that they were like medical scooters; they get individuals from Point A to Point B. It was great, but I thought that there had to be a better way. I wanted a smoother ride, something individuals can use, something anyone can use. My wife and I started Freedom for All Mobility, and organization that helped people get tracked chairs around the world, and then I met Jarrett Waters, one of the owners of Ring-Co. I told him what I was looking for from a vehicle, and we partnered together.
How did Ring-Co’s TUC develop?
During the process of research and development I kept our partnerships with non-profits, and I started reaching out to my network in the veteran community and the army to see if they were looking for the same things I was. Everyone was on-board.
Tell us about a couple of the exciting opportunities that came out of your recent trip to Washington, DC.
I met with the Attorney General and talked with him about the vehicle, and he loved it — he’s on board. He asked if they’re available now! I said yes, and he said we’d be in touch. We’re going to be featured on Bill O’Reilly, and I met with Jim Brown, who is head of the VA in Indiana. He loved the vehicle, and he believes it goes hand-in-hand with hyperbaric chambers. Jim took it to the VA hospital, and we’re awaiting results, but we have been invited back to DC to speak at the Summit.
What is it about the TUC that makes everyone so eager to talk about it and support it?
It’s totally different than anything out in the market. Everything out there now is either recreational or medical — TUC is about utility and working. It’s suitable for people in a wheelchair, but it also has the capabilities to get people out there and mow their own yard after coming back from serving, or after an injury. The TUC can be a part of the healing process depending on the treatment. It gives people purpose and gives them reason to keep going on. It even offers the benefit of employment in industries like construction and other service industries.
Tell us what you enjoy doing when you’re not changing lives.
I love being outdoors; I love the woods, mushroom hunting, and hunting in general. I love my family and traveling — my family is my backbone.
Any special places you want to travel to and see more than others?
Ireland, Alaska, and Hawaii!
What are some of your goals for this year, both professionally and personally?
I’m a big believer. God has saved me in so many different ways. Being in war I’ve seen all kinds of things, but the one thing I’ve never seen is someone whose back is up against the wall and him shout out any other name than God’s. He has saved me so many times. It’s about serving others and helping others have a better quality of life. This lets me make connections, so I can have conversations and give out Bibles.
My main focus is to get the TUC to the veterans and to get it into the VA system. I want it to go beyond medical, and treat people by getting them outside. I want to lower the suicide rate. Give people God. Give them a purpose. We’ve lost a lot — too many — both over there and even when we get back. And we can do so much more.
CHARLES “CHUCK” LEE
Director of Veteran Affairs, TUC by Ring-Co
Retired Airborne Ranger, Service Disabled