Fitness and wellness have become a top priority for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. A lot of focus has been devoted to not only new recruits entering service but for those that are transitioning out of service and living out their lives as veterans. In some cases, the service members themselves are finding ways to make a difference.
One such veteran is Kevin Flack, who has seen combat as a soldier and is working to excel in business now as a supplement brand owner. Fitness has been a part of his life going back to childhood, and he’s committed his life to helping others see the benefits today.
Flack described his younger self as energetic. He grew up in Washington state and was active in snowboarding, kayaking, and fishing, which are common in that part of the country.
“I was just engaged with a lot as a teenager,” he recalled. “I also did baseball and soccer, but it was outdoor stuff 24/7.”
Another common thread of his youth was service. His grandfather was a pilot in World War II, but he never got to meet him. His father was in the Air Force as well.
“Our whole family is full of patriots,” he said proudly. “I used to watch those WWII in color documentaries and try to figure out what my grandpa did because I never met him. That was the largest part of me joining.”
Flack and his younger brother both served in the United States Army. Flack was a part of the 10th Mountain Light Infantry Division from 2006 until 2012, and he saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was overseas when he became a father to his son, Wyatt.
“I held him for the first time when he was a month and a half old, and I was on leave from Afghanistan.”
Flack returned home and relocated to Iowa, where he devotes as much commitment as a father as he did as a soldier. He called the decision to focus on fatherhood his proudest moment from his time in service.
“Wyatt is the whole reason I ended up in the Quad Cities. It was time to be a dad, and it’s been me and him ever since.”
Flack got a job contracting as a Family Assistance Specialist for the Illinois National Guard. As is the case with many heroes who return home, Flack faced struggles that would lead him to seek treatment. He would self-admit to St. Cloud VAMC for a three-month inpatient PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment program. During that struggle, his role as a parent to Wyatt was compromised, but he would overcome the adversity and become a regular part of Wyatt’s life again. He and Wyatt’s mother now share joint custody.
“That’s my pride and joy right there.”
Activities such as kayaking and camping for days at a time helped him mentally while he was shifting from military life to civiilian life. These excursions served as a positive outlet to progress through life beyond the uniform. Later on, he started Downrange Excursions, a nonprofit organization which was his way of not only finding peace for himself but for other veterans as well.
“You can either self-medicate, or you can use what brought you peace as a child, and outdoor activities was what brought me peace. When you’re out on those trips, you’re not focusing on those things you can’t control that can cause some people to self-medicate because you’re thinking about what is going on in front of you.”
After nearly ten years of commitment to Downrange Excursions, Flack is now focused on another passion and avenue for helping others improve wellness. Downrange Supplements is known as “the brand of the troops” because it was founded by members of the military for the members of the military as well as the general public. With supplements such as their preworkout “1st Call” and their “Mermite” protein powder, their goal is to help their consumers “continually improve their fighting position,” which is an infantry expression that Flack feels applies to everyone’s lives. Flack has been active in the weight room since he was a kid, and it’s a part of his life today. So, creating a brand that can help maximize potential in the gym made perfect sense.
“When one door closes, another opens. I learned that throughout my journey. I realized that this is my actual passion.”
The growth of the supplement brand is oyet another way that Flack is still advocating for the well-being and support of those in service as well as for law enforcement, first responders and their families. He’s not alone in this venture, either. He’s working alongside other veterans and leaders such as retired SEAC John Troxell, soldier and MMA fighter Colton Smith, and other members of the brand’s Task Unit. Flack found a way to stay connected to everything he loves while making a positive impact. He sees a bright future for Downrange, and he hopes that it can serve as a part of more success stories in fitness and service in the future.
“The connection to the military and love I have for supplementation made me realize there was a need for a legitimate brand of the troops. Making money is cool, but having an actual brand that people from administrative levels to infantry truck drivers to connect to and can help make health and fitness the focus is what it’s all about.” For more information on Downrange Supplements, go to www.downrangesupplements.com and follow @downrangesupps on Instagram.