The Special Ops Survivors Outdoor TEAM is a group dedicated to bringing awareness to Special Ops Survivors through Fishing and other Outdoor events.
Master Sergeant Mark McCowan, a 3rd Special Forces Group Team Sergeant came back from one of his multiple overseas deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and took a new assignment that would afford him more time for family and fishing (his other passion). He had always had a heart for service and for giving back, and he was looking for a charity to give back some of his time and energy to.
Mark reached out to three separate Gold Star spouses on three separate occasions and asking them each which of the numerous military charities did they receive the most healing and benefit from. (Note: There are over 45,000 military non-profits, and they don’t all do what they claim they do.) To Mark’s surprise, each of them said the Special Ops Survivors was the organization that had the most significant impact on their healing journey. Mark had never even heard of Special Ops Survivors much less knew anything about it.
Like any good Soldier he began digging and conducting his due diligence on the organziation and found that much like the quiet professionals of the elite Special Operations Forces, this quiet group of non-profit professionals was not only doing exactly what they said they were doing, but healing hearts and changing lives while ensuring every dollar met or exceeded the non-profit industry standards of 75% of every dollar going to the intended beneficiaries. (in 2018 Special Ops Survivors had very low overhead ensuring 85% of every dollar went to the Gold Star spouses).
Mark decided to put his fishing passion, quick wit, and contagious smile into action and began raising money through fishing events for the organization he had come to know and respect. From 2015 to 2017 Mark and his fellow 3rd Special Forces buddies started the Outdoor Team for Special Ops Survivors and raised over $50,000. Mark and Team Special Ops Survivors became well know in the Bass Pro-fishing world and among the many patriotic companies who support this cause.
In February of 2017, Mark and one of his fellow soldiers were walking into the hospital on base to visit another service member who had just completed a scheduled surgery. As they entered the hospital, Mark paused and grabbed his chest and told his buddy he wasn’t feeling well. “Are you alright man?” his buddy asked, to which Mark replied, “Nah man, I’m a little scared.” A few seconds later Mark collapsed, and despite being at the hospital, the medical professionals were unable to bring him back. It was later assessed that Mark’s heart had given out after multiple overseas deployments and traumatic blast injuries had rotated his heart inside his chest cavity and had been putting undue strain on him.
Mark’s legacy continues through his lovely wife and children and the amazing Men who carry on his memory through Special Ops Survivors Outdoor Team. November 17, 2018 was the 1st Annual MSG Mark McCowan Memorial Bass Fishing Tournament and was a huge success! Thanks to the wonderful volunteers, the generous individual donors, and corporate sponsors, and the members of the local community, the Team Special Ops Survivors bubbas continue to make a huge impact! Team Special Ops Survivors is one of the fundraising Teams within our family of SOS Teams and helps provide an avenue for others to get involved and make an impact in the lives of those whose husbands made the ultimate sacrifice and who make the daily sacrifice playing both Mom, Dad, and primary breadwinner.
In honor of MSG McCowan, the Outdoor Team holds a World Class fishing Tourney every year in November honoring a different Survivor and her fallen Special Operations Warrior. MSG McCowan inspired all of us to continue our efforts for raising awareness and funding for our Survivors year in and year out.
Team Special Ops Survivors is not just for fishing or outdoor events. If you’d like to host a golf tournament, bowling tourney, poker-ride, billiards, horse-shoe, bourbon barrel or other fundraising event or just want to volunteer for one in your local area, please contact us.