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article imageRussell Wilson's manager Vic Wise talks Freedom Ruck, technology Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 9, 2019 in Lifestyle
Vic Wise, the manager of Superbowl champion Russell Wilson, launched his sixth annual Freedom Ruck. He chatted with Digital Journal about Freedom Ruck and the impact of technology on the nonprofit sector.
Freedom Ruck is a 105-mile trek that raises money for the Navy Seal Foundation. On the inception of Freedom Ruck, he said, "Six years ago, I was hanging out with a buddy of mine who just got back from a deployment and was asking how military members-- should they not come home, how their family was taken care of, and he was explaining to me how the Navy SEAL Foundation was a great resource for families in that community, and he had mentioned that they were taking care of some of the folks that he works with."
Wise continued, "I did some research and introduced myself to them and asked them how I could help. Then I had an idea and shared it with them, which was Freedom Ruck, and they loved it, and I worked with them to try and give people an avenue to donate. And they set up a donation page within our website so that all the transactions would be handled by them, and the tax paperwork-- and I didn't have to worry about [seeing?] the money, and I could go out there and do what I wanted to do, which was inspire patriotism and showcase my appreciation for the military and their families."
On the importance of the Navy SEAL Foundation, he said, "I have a couple of friends that are SEALs, and I feel very strongly that they are wonderful human beings. Should anything ever happen to them, I want to make sure that their families are well-taken care of. I’ve had a lot of experience within that network of folks, and they're the utmost professional people in the entire world. They do a lot to ensure our safety and ensure our freedoms, and I want to make sure that I'm doing my part to help them, should they ever need help."
He noted that he didn't want the primary focus of Freedom Ruck to be raising money for the foundation, but he did want to provide people with the avenue. "Should they decide to want to donate, then they could, but the primary goal for Freedom Ruck would be to increase patriotism within our communities. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy-- it doesn't matter. It's just a matter of saying thank you," he said.
Regarding his future plans, he said, "I work with Russell Wilson as his manager, and I am the COO of the company West2East. We have a lot of big aspirations for the production and TV space. So we're working on a TV show that we want to sell through. For Russell specifically, I would like to set him up for success so that his next year with the Seahawks will be a fruitful year for him on the field, very successful, and make sure that our employees are well-taken care of, and that the things that we need to get done are done on an A-plus level. Professionally speaking, those will my goals."
"Personally speaking, I want to continue Freedom Ruck and the things that we've created, and the network in the community that we've created," he said. "I try to live life with no regard for second-guessing anything. If I want to do it, I just go out and do it. I want to provide myself with the opportunity to experience life."
On the impact of technology on the nonprofit sector, he said, "It has changed it vastly. It has provided the opportunity for someone, say, that lives in California to be exposed an initiative that they might feel very strongly about across the country, and all it would take would be them stumbling upon it via a website or social media or a friend of a friend share a story."
He continued, "Technology allows us the opportunity to both absorb information and be exposed to information that we might not necessarily be exposed to if we relied solely on newspapers or our immediate community. Every type of support is very appreciated, from donating to the Navy SEAL Foundation to sharing a social post of encouragement.
On the use of technology in his daily routine, he said, "Obviously, technology plays a big role in what we do, or what I do professionally with Russell and Freedom Ruck. We work with people all over the country and all over the world, and we have to have the ability to be both reactive and communicate effectively."
Wise elaborated, "We are able to not only communicate but also create content that's time sensitive and get it posted immediately, and that benefits Russell. It also benefits West2East in general, because we have a production team that is capable of representing other brands as well. We are able to create real-time and we have capabilities that not many people, not many organizations have because of the experiences of our employees and the experiences of our team."
Technology affords them the privilege to work from anywhere and everywhere, whether that be on a plane, train, or a car. "We leverage technology in order for us to be successful, and we're not going to allow our hands to be tied for any particular situation that we're in," he said.
He shared that his parents motivate him each day. "My parents made extensive sacrifices as I grew up. They provided us with any and every opportunity to be successful and they expected us to operate at a high level. No matter what we did, they were always very supportive, but I acknowledge the sacrifices they made and I want to do everything in my power to make sure that they know how much I appreciate the opportunities they provided me with," he said.
Wise acknowledged that it is "pretty inspirational" to finish something like Freedom Ruck and have his parents be so proud to be involved in the things that we do as well. "That goes for me professionally as well with West2East and with Russell. They support everything we do, and they're Russell's biggest fan because of my involvement with him," he said.
On Freedom Ruck, he said, "Freedom Ruck is a community, and it's a community that I never really thought would come in existence. I thought this would be me walking from Richmond from Washington DC one time to raise a little bit of money and showcase my patriotism and my appreciation for our military and what they do. It turned into something much larger than I ever expected, and it turned into this sense of family. We were out there, whether it's the group that's walking or rucking, or it's the group that's running support in the vehicles and handing out waters and handing out whatever anyone needs."
Wise continued, "It wonderful to see total strangers embracing each other as family, no matter what their social economic background. Even after not seeing each other for a year, when you get back together the next Freedom Ruck, everyone comes together like you are family. That’s something that I never expected to happen, and that sense of community goes a long way because it does tie closely into what the military community does; they take care of each other and they sacrifice for each other. And that's what, I think, our country is all about."
"I just want to inspire folks to understand what that means," he added. "It's not a political issue, it's not a republican or democrat, it is a let's express our gratitude for those who serve their country and the things that they do for us so that we can remain a free nation because the sacrifices are extensive. I just want people to understand that," he explained.
To learn more about Freedom Ruck, check out its official website.
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