Where would Warfighter Hemp be without our fearless leader, Steve “Luker” Danyluk? We shudder to consider. That’s why we cornered Steve one afternoon and asked him to share with us why start a CBD company and what his new mission is in life.
Q: Steve, first, can you share with Warfighter Hemp’s fan and followers your military background? As we feel it sets the stage for everything this company is about.
Steve: I am a retired Marine; I did 30 years, both active, then, in the reserves. In that active time, I completed two combat tours. The first time I went, I was 20-years-old and the second time, I was 40-years-old. It was interesting comparing the two experiences. I could see how the experiences made an impression on me in different ways, based on my age and maturity, life choices and more.
Q: Can you share about your family a bit, too?
Steve: Yes, my wife is on active duty in the Marine Corps. She outranks a full Colonel, and I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. After I left active duty, I didn’t go into the reserves right away. I was hired by an airline, and there was a period of a few months where I had no affiliation with the military. And after about the third time of her introducing me as her “dependent spouse,” which is what we call the spouse of a military person, I looked for a reserve unit.
Q: What was it about your experiences in the military that led you to start a company for Veterans?
Steve: One of the last gigs I did in the Marine Corp was working on wounded issues in Washington D.C. I spent a great deal of time at Walter Reed Hospital and the Naval Hospital where the Marines were at that time.
I also travelled around the country visiting different treatment facilities, where primarily Marines were being treated and many other wounded service members from the different branches.
The two biggest things that bothered me were how the paralyzed Veterans were getting treated and how it seemed we were putting these men and women on a path to addiction to opiates or other psychotropic medications.
I remember clearly one Marine Staff Sergeant who was wounded in Fallujah. One day, he called me up and he was upset, telling me he’s not usually a crier, but he’s sitting in his apartment, watching a soap opera and is bawling his eyes out. He said, “This is not me; this is not who I am.” And it wasn’t. It was the medications he was on; they were making him a different person.
Many others would tell me the medications are a means to keep the guys quiet. They came up with a term for it, they call it the ‘zombie cocktail of medications.’ It basically turns them into zombies. They could speak one or two syllable words and maybe string three or four words together.
I wasn’t in a position of influence where I could do anything. And I don’t think anybody in the military, no matter how many stars you had on your shoulder, was in a position where they could’ve changed anything. It’s something that has to be driven from a grassroots level. This is why we also started our Warfighter Hemp Info Group. To help those families affected by this “zombie cocktail” and learn there are alternatives.
Q: You had firsthand experience seeing the issues that wounded Veterans were, and currently still are, facing. When did you make the connection between those problems and CBD?
Steve: I saw many Veterans who were dealing with their severe pain and PTSD issues with marijuana. And, as a Marine officer, and airline pilot as my ‘job,’ I’m the last guy in the world that you want to talk to about marijuana. But CBD is different, you don’t get high, you don’t get addicted to it. The healing element that people are discovering with CBD is the medical component of cannabis. And it seems to have a huge impact on pain and anxiety.
Q: Fifty percent of Warfighter Hemp’s profits goes back to the Veteran community. Can you share with us why and how you structured that?
Steve: I knew I wanted this business structured around helping Veterans. Right off the bat, half of the profits go to Veteran charities. Just as an example, we’ve spent about $70,000 of profits on high-tech wheelchairs for wounded Veterans so far. And we’ve got a handful of other non-profits that I personally work with and have vetted. They are all volunteer-run organizations, nobody’s pocketing money on it and they’re good groups, so we support them too. (You can find information about the nonprofit organizations supported by Warfighter Hemp on our Giving Back page.)
Q: What’s the best way for people to learn more about Warfighter Hemp products?
Steve: If you go to our Warfighter Hemp Info Group on Facebook, you can ask any question and you’re going to get a dozen people that use CBD who will respond. So, if you’ve got questions on, “Will CBD work for this problem?” “What’s the dose I should take?” or “How should I take it?”, the info group is the place to go.
Thank you, Steve, for not only your many years of service, but also your dedication to Veterans and educating them on alternatives to opiates.