Mat Best, Tim Montana Host Fundraiser For Families of Fallen Soldiers

April 19, 2023Lauren Warner
mat best screaming eagles brcc

More than 2,500 people from the community came out to support SEAA at the Clarksville, Tennessee, BRCC outpost. The fundraiser was hosted by country musician Tim Montana, left, and BRCC co-founder Mat Best, second from right. Photo courtesy of Black Rifle Coffee Company.

In just two days, Black Rifle Coffee Company’s Clarksville, Tennessee, location raised $45,000 for the Screaming Eagles Aviation Association (SEAA). The funds raised by BRCC for SEAA will go directly to the families of the nine Fort Campbell-based soldiers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash on March 29.

The BRCC outpost in Clarksville was packed with supporters on April 7 and 8. An email campaign raised an additional $10,000 for SEAA from within the broader BRCC community. 

“To see the community come together locally and even nationally, with Black Rifle Coffee, to see all the people come through, it's truly humbling,” said Col. Clint Cody, commander of the 101st Aviation Brigade. “We’ve felt so much love and support in the past week — it's helping the families and our soldiers get through this.” 

SEAA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports Screaming Eagle Aviation soldiers of the 101st and 159th Combat Aviation Brigades. The nine fallen soldiers, whose families will receive the money SEAA has raised, were members of the 101st.

Black Rifle Coffee Company co-founder Mat Best hosted a fundraiser at the Clarksville, Tennessee, BRCC outpost that brought in $55,000 for the families of nine soldiers who died in a March 2023 helicopter crash near Fort Campbell. Photo courtesy of Black Rifle Coffee Company.

“Giving back to our veteran community is the heart of what we do here at BRCC,” said Casey Currey, BRCC senior marketing manager. “We are more than just a premium coffee company— we are a community focused on taking care of our service members and their families during their highs and lows."

The Clarksville outpost saw more than 2,500 community members show up during the fundraising event. Some people drove for more than two hours to attend.

BRCC co-founder Mat Best attended the two-day event, as did musicians Tim Montana, Jerrod Neiman, and Craig Campbell, who performed at the store Friday evening.

“[We] were honored to perform a writer’s round at [the Clarksville BRCC],” Montana said. “We performed for soldiers, families, and employees. Some of the soldiers were very emotional, but [they were] glad we had shown up. It was important to take an hour, fill the air with music and laughter, and celebrate the lives of the brave soldiers lost in the training accident.”

tim montana clarksville tenn brcc screaming eagle fundraiser

Tim Montana performs at the Clarksville BRCC store. Photo by Paul Borcq/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

“I am still in awe at witnessing the community coming together to give to the nine families,” said Becca Martinez, Clarksville outpost’s general manager. “So many people called from across the nation to see how they could donate, and being a part of the community, raising over $45,000 to donate to the Screaming Eagle Aviation Association was truly an honor.”

“Because of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s generosity, we can support these nine families better,” said Robert Huffman, founder of SEAA.

“This event gave countless citizens the opportunity to demonstrate their support of our fallen nine. Mat Best and Tim Montana dropping by the outpost allowed people to smile after a rough 10 days. Each member of the BRCC team was focused on this mission and executed it flawlessly."

The nine fallen soldiers, clockwise from top left: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, Cpl. Emilie Bolanos, Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, Staff Sgt. Joshua Gore, Sgt. David Solinas, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, Sgt. Isaac Gayo, and Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy. US Army photos, released.

“Black Rifle [Coffee]’s mission statement has always been to take care of veterans,” Best said. “Anything we can do to support and bring awareness, we’re a part of this family and community, and I think the whole nation needs to show support for this kind of thing.” 

“We’re just humbled and honored to be able to support the families,” he added. “Having a support mechanism to understand the loss is important — there’s no ability to stop the grief. But it's about the respect and reverence to those who raise their right hand and do the hard job.” 

Those who were unable to attend the event but still want to donate can do so via the Screaming Eagle Aviation Association’s website.

Read Next: 9 Killed In Army Black Hawk Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Lauren Warner
Lauren Warner

Lauren Warner is the managing editor of the BRCC Blog. She's only slightly connected to the military community, growing up as an Army brat before serving in the Army herself as a public affairs specialist, then becoming an Army spouse and caregiver. With degrees in English, journalism, and a master's in marketing, to say that she enjoys reading and writing might be an understatement. She spends her free time drinking too much coffee and going on adventures with her husband and three dogs (yes, they're all rescues).

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