When ever I hear the name “Taylor” – I used to think about really outstanding Acoustic Guitars, built by craftsmen right here in America.
Alas, no longer.
While Taylor Guitars are truly the stuff of dreams – now, that name has been replaced with the face of a fallen American Hero.
I think after reading this, the fine folks at Taylor Guitars will forgive me. I sure hope so. I actually dream about owning “one of their beloved children” someday…
This is a little bit off-topic, but if you read these pages regularly you know how we feel about American Families and the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend them;
People have seen the blurb on our pages about a program we started, to donate Fender Guitars to servicemen serving overseas.
Some people have seen the blurb on these pages (scroll down to the bottom of this page) about the guitars that we rebuild using recycled parts and old Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters… and then we give them away… they’re donated to American soldiers overseas…
… and these low-lifes have actually sent us hate mail, accusing us of diverting “family housing money” to fuel this “unworthiest of causes”.
Some of them were NOT so “polite” about it. We’ve been called every kind of “war-mongering MF” you can imagine.
People forget that these guys and gals – brothers, fathers sisters and mothers all – leave everything behind, so that they can go put their lives on the line daily, to fight for what they believe in. Many of them pay the ultimate price. Many more of them come home broken and scarred, as they try to return to a “normal” life with their families.
Ofttimes that life will never be “normal” again.
Those “long days and nights in country” take their toll. We know from experience that anyone who says otherwise is either drunk, heavily medicated, lying or insane.
Freedom isn’t FREE. It’s a right that is PURCHASED. It comes with an invoice for over a MILLION Dead American Men and Women.
We send guitars to guys and gals so that they can (a) find some peace in a hostile place and (b) share that joy (albeit temporary) with others.
So, we build “Alder and Ash love offerings” for guys and gals who need it.
We call it; “Ronin’s Secret Strat Project”.
The soldier never knows WHERE the guitar comes from. He/she only knows that someone who cares about them has sent them some Stratocaster or Telecaster LOVE.
If you’re spiritual or religious, you’ve probably been shown that acts of charity are supposed to be anonymous. WE don’t need pats on the back. THEY do.
And as a guitar player, I can tell you that a Stratocaster or Telecaster gives back love all day long.
For the record: Not ONE penny of “RR” money has EVER been spent on this mission.
The money that fuels the guitar builds isn’t “RR” money, and it never has been. It’s money that comes from the paychecks earned by a small group pf Vets who want to send some love to folks who need it. We take “hand me down guitars”, pawn shop guitars, and “cast offs” we find in places like Ebay and we turn them into gems…It’s kinda ironic that we send Mexican and Japanese Strats and Teles to American soldiers, but we just can’t afford the American versions.
In other words, we take what we can find/afford and we bring it back… with hard work – as love and admiration for the soldier that we know is going to receive it. .
And… for the record:
We use the money from the “RR” book sales and ISBU consulting to fund the planning and building of homes for families that often can’t quite reach them otherwise, including – our own.
In fact, EVERY PENNY of the book money goes directly to the “Corten Cavalry”, for use buying materials and tools for both families in need and global emergencies.
But “Ronin’s Secret Strat Project” happens because we’re inspired, even compelled to do it…
We don’t have to look far to find the inspiration…
We do it because of American Heroes like this:
From “inChive“; (Where an incredible fund drive is going on right now to help Taylor and his family build a cabin)
(Editor’s note: I’ve reformatted this to make it easier to read and I warn you in advance, some of the following photographs and paragraphs will make you cry… At least they made ME cry…)
Taylor Morris learned at an early age he was hooked on the outdoors, adventurous, the middle of 4 children and always the last one inside for dinner at his home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. His mother Juli recalled, “Our family took a camping trip from Niagara Falls down the East Coast one summer. Taylor set up the tents every night, started the fires, cooked the meals. Taylor was only 8 years old.” As Taylor grew older and took to extreme water sports and rock climbing, Taylor discovered he was also very calm under extreme pressure.
This quality would later make him the perfect candidate for the Navy’s EOD, Explosive Ordinance Disposal.
Explosive ordinance disposal specialists were made famous in Kathryn Bigelow’s - The Hurt Locker. They are the preeminent tactical and technical explosives experts. Nicknamed ‘The Shield’, OED specialists always lead, the first to put themselves in harm’s way to tackle unexploded ordinance and IED’s.
Less than one month ago near the Kandahar province in Afghanistan, Taylor was doing his job, right out in front.
Leading a team of Army Special forces to a classified location, Taylor stepped on an IED. It exploded underneath him and blew off all four of his limbs. Taylor recalled the moment to me over the phone,
“As soon as I stepped on it, I knew. There was a moment, then I heard the blast. I felt the heat. I knew I had lost my legs. As I somersaulted through the air, I watched my legs fly off.”
Taylor landed back in the blast crater.
This is where the story of Taylor’s bravery goes next-level.
After the explosion, Taylor didn’t lose consciousness, he didn’t go into shock. His thoughts immediately crystallized. Even though Taylor was bleeding to death, he called to the oncoming medics NOT to come get him, putting their safety in front of his own life.
“I recounted the moment of the explosion. There was no visual on the mine and no sound ID on my mine detector. That told me the mine was old. If there were other mines out there, the medics wouldn’t see them or detect them unless it was cleared properly. I knew I had arterial bleeding from all 4 limbs and I was bleeding out fast. I told my buddies to stop, it would only have hurt me more if somebody stepped on another one.”
The area around Taylor was finally cleared by the second EOD and the medic finally administered combat casualty care. Taylor remained conscious through the ordeal.
Three days later on May 6th Taylor landed back in the States and was transported to Walter Reed hospital in Washington D.C. to begin the long and painful rehab process.
You can read more about Taylor, here:
Taylor, as you face each challenging day… I’m so proud of you that it HURTS.
May the big guy above bless you and your family, buddy. You’re in our hearts and prayers.
And to those of you that are bothered by our actions, contributions or deeds?
Brave Men and Women like Taylor Morris paid for your right to be a jerk.
Go exercise that right somewhere else.
We hate having to “explain/defend ourselves” for doing something that we believe in so strongly.
We just thought that you deserved to hear about this from US, first…