Following is the short version of the story behind the development of the HandleDry™.
I’m Jason Savage, president of Freedom Memorials and designer of the HandleDry™. I have not served in the military, but my father was in the OSS during WWII. He was stationed in Burma as a teaching expert in unarmed and knife fighting, along with pistol, Tommy gun, and carbine shooting. He would later go to Germany. My mother was a stenographer on the War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg. She later worked for the CIA and then US Customs as an inspections supervisor. I want to leave a legacy honoring our military and my parents for their service to our country.
I believe, as does a majority of Americans, that we need to honor all of the fallen heroes fighting the global war on terrorism now, and not some time in the distant future.
Our project is called the Freedom Reigns Memorial, a first of its kind, international, living memorial honoring the troops who have paid, and yet will pay, the ultimate price in the wars on terrorism, and in a separate dedication, those public safety workers who gave their lives to save others after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers. (Click the image at right for an enlargement) My associate is the award-winning sculptor Carl Regutti. Mr. Regutti sculpted the famous equine life-size bronze of Aristides, Winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, the centerpiece at historic Churchill Downs.
Congress established a commission to create a memorial to Roosevelt in 1955. The memorial was opened in 1997 – forty-two years later. The National WWII Memorial was opened in 2005 – fifty-nine years after the war ended. Funding and construction took eleven years. A group of Vietnam veterans led by Jan C. Scruggs moved from incorporation to dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 3 years and 7 months. That was very impressive. However, it was almost ten years after the war ended before the memorial was dedicated. This group still did a wonderful job considering the hostility service personnel faced after that war. The Air Force Memorial took fourteen years to complete after the foundation was incorporated.
Nine years ago, Mr. Regutti and I began contemplating how we might honor our military heroes. Mr. Regutti has a brother who is a high-ranking military officer. Mr. Regutti, in addition to be a fine sculptor, is a chemist. One of my fields of expertise is graphic design. It took two and a half years of laboratory work for us to develop a technique to do high resolution etching on titanium and black surgical stainless steel. That work lead to our Diamond Memory™ tributes, which are the focus of the memorial. These special tributes to the fallen troops will survive the elements for thousands of years. (Click image on left for an enlargement)
This memorial will be like no other in the world. It will be the first to represent the faces of our fallen heroes along with personal tributes in stainless. Go to our memorial page to read a more detailed report.
Given the nature of our effort, Mr. Regutti and I anticipated no problems gaining corporate support, media coverage, and endorsements from celebrities and influential business leaders. That was an oversight. Several years after we began this project I received a letter from Senator Bob Dole. He related that building the WWII Memorial was an ‘arduous task’. I now fully understand his council.
To date, January 17, 2015, I have over sixty pages detailing failed contacts. Stories I can tell about many of my efforts are almost unbelievable, but true. All the media I contacted across the country, and that’s a lot of reporters, declined to do a story. Senators would not meet with us. Corporations were not interested. Plausible deniability was the choice of most.
Some of you readers may think that I am just not suited for this task. Let me share this with you.
A group of gentlemen in Cary, NC, (a very prosperous city next to Raleigh, NC where I am based) headed by a retired Navy Admiral, planned to build a memorial honoring all branches of the service. One of the billionaires in Cary donated a number of acres of land for the memorial. Four or five years after the project’s inception, the land was returned, and to my knowledge, the project abandoned. I have heard no more about it. I may be wrong, but they probably got the same responses we did – none!
What’s the old saying, if you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, you’re insane. Got it! I needed to move in a new direction to fund this project.
I will always be mindful of Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner’s January 14, 2014 tweet, “To be a successful entrepreneur, find a problem and solve it.” That is the approach I took with the HandleDry™.
I needed a different way to fund a campaign for the memorial. I use an electric toothbrush, and I frequently had toothpaste foam running down the handle, getting on my hand. What a mess. I took the problem into the lab and came up with a solution. I then started to ask everyone with whom I spoke if they used an electric toothbrush. Did they encounter the issue? Ninety-five percent said they did. I started sending out samples for testing. Please read the testimonials. I intend to use my net proceeds from HandleDry™ sales to promote high profile programs to raise funds for the memorial, one being a nationally televised concert honoring our military heroes.
I guess you can say the HandleDry™ was born out of frustration with an incentive from Shark Tank. Thanks Lori!