The Story of VETPAW:
Ryan Tate has always had two primary passions, and a desire to protect both: his country and animals. As it did for many brave Americans, the call to serve grew louder after the attacks of 9/11.Ryan signed enlistment papers to the U.S. Marine Corps that same year, with a commitment to join “the few, the proud” on his 18th birthday.Several years later, Ryan was exposed to the atrocities of elephant and rhino poaching, and the devastation it was having on East African communities and wildlife alike. He knew he couldn’t sit idly by. All he had to do was consider the men and women he’d served with to see that there is no one better suited to instruct and train park rangers than post-9/11 veterans.Ryan is keenly aware that many U.S. Veterans are un- or underemployed, and would benefit profoundly from the opportunity to serve in another capacity—one that would save lives. With his military experience, he’s able to speak directly to the unique skills that veterans can bring to anti-poaching efforts. He interviewed his colleagues and saw the difficulties and frustrations of men and women who are highly skilled in combat-related areas, but unable to leverage those skills in a conventional civilian setting. They have a continuing dedication to serve others, and Ryan helps them channel it.
The goal of Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife is to help end the African poaching crisis and conserve endangered species. We do this by utilizing the unrivaled skills and experience of post-9/11 U.S. veterans to train park rangers and support their communities.