Jeremy Button, director of federal sales for Crestron, remembers his days sitting in a Wounded Warrior facility after being injured during his time as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and he says the mental fatigue and anguish he faced was almost as bad as the physical recovery he had to make.
He and other Crestron staffers want to make sure today’s servicemen and women never have to go through such a drab and depressing recovery, noting that mood is often one of the drivers that helps Wounded Warriors recover more quickly and without using as much medicine to do it.
The Crestron Eagles program started more than a decade ago when the company launched its government team as a way to add some modern technology to veterans’ hospitals and other such facilities as a way to show at least a small token of gratitude toward those who had sacrificed.
Crestron has worked with the U. S. Army Special Operations Command, William Beaumont Army Medical Center Replacement Hospital at Fort Bliss in Texas and other military facilities through the Crestron program—and it’s an effort that was supported by late Crestron founder George Feldstein.
“The whole point of the program is to do what we can for those who do more for us than we could ever repay,” says Button. “We’re trying our best to do our best for everybody.” Crestron staffers talk to the leaders of these facilities and the patients about what tech they want to speed their recoveries.
The Crestron Eagles program has built out several rec rooms, of course, but they’ve also constructed an interactive Warrior tribute wall that allows people to learn more about some fallen military comrades. Crestron isn’t looking to make waves with the government and certainly not looking to get paid.
“The government has to be careful about what they allow us to do,” says Button. “They can’t make it look like they’re giving any special benefit to anybody.” The Crestron Eagles program has also raised money for a Special Operations scholarship fund for children of soldiers that have died.
What Crestron Eagles Do for Soldiers
Button says the pace of technology makes it so the Crestron Eagles are always updating their previous work with the most state-of-the-are AV they can.
“You can very quickly leave something behind in our industry,” he says. “We can think it up faster than we can build it. We’re not going to leave them a system that has to be maintained. We’re going to do what we can to make sure as many soldiers as possible can enjoy that system for years to come.”
The whole point of the initiative is to say thank you to those who fight for our freedom every day.
“This brings everyone together,” says Button. “It allows them to congregate with their comrades and brings them back to life. Those are not easy times. It’s very easy to dwell on the bad rather than looking forward to the good. If watching a football game or bringing in a gaming system can bring people together, we’re all for it.”
Button and other Crestron Eagles members regularly try to visit the facilities where they install these systems, usually in a subtle way, to gain more insight about how the soldiers feel about the systems and what else they might want to be added.
“We do it very, very quietly, one vet to another,” he says. “I do it sometimes just to get ideas—and sometimes you don’t even need to ask. It’s not about getting a pat on the back. This is us giving a pat on the back to them.”
The Crestron Eagles initiative is a perfect match to the ever-increasing reliance on technology we all have.
“It’s a very technical world and our servicemen and women were raised in that,” says Button. “It kind of gets them back in their environment. It gets them out of their room to a place where they can come together.
“They need a step back into their normalcy. When you can provide a room to do that, it accelerates everything,” he says.
Button notes that some of the work by Crestron Eagles are in facilities where there is no other Crestron gear.
“One of the greatest things I learned in the Army was about selfless service,” he says. “It’s not about what they spend with us. It’s not about what they plan to spend with us. It’s what they do every single day.
“The littlest thing in the world can turn into the biggest benefit for someone else. I wish we could do even more. It’s just too important to let these men and women know we appreciate everything they’re doing for us. I’m still that green suiter at heart,” says Button.
“We seek these things out more than them coming to us. They’re far too humble to do that,” he says.
Inside Orbis Flying Eye Hospital
In addition to its Crestron Eagles initiative, Crestron also teamed up with Orbis International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that works in developing countries, to fight blindness, installing more than $300,000 in AV and automation on Orbis’ Flying Eye Hospital.
The aircraft trains eye care professionals across the globe and is equipped with medical equipment to help patient who need immediate eye care, traveling to underserved areas to treat patients at risk of losing their sight, while also offering local doctors the chance to be trained from the plane.
The mobile teaching hospital features an onboard ophthalmic training center, which hosts a 46-seat classroom, full surgical suite, operating theater, laser treatment room, communications center, recovery room, and audiovisual/IT room.
“By equipping the Orbis training facilities with our latest technologies, we are helping them to train more doctors and save more patients,” says Button. “Crestron is truly helping to make a difference.”
Coming next Monday: The next installment in our Connected to the Community series. If you know about an AV or IT company doing something good, email executive editor Craig MacCormack at email@example.com.