Our Story

I stood in front of the TV. My stomach was turning and I was horrified. Watching children running with their hands in the air. Teachers leading other children out of danger as they tried to be brave while running for their own lives. This scene was playing out in my home state of Florida hundreds of miles away. Yet I felt a sense of belonging to those children and families who were now facing the worst experience life can throw at you.

I was thinking, “What has happened to our country?”

And this thought was front and center in my mind, “What can I do to make sure my children come home safe?

My husband is a retired military veteran and I taught personal training to the military as a contractor for the Department of Defense. We are both strong people and we know if danger comes to our door, we have a good chance of protecting our family and our home. But…there we stood…feeling hopeless.

That evening after we put our sons safely to bed, we talked about what we could do. We knew sheltering them at home was not the answer. As much as we wanted to shelter them from the world we live in, we can’t. We have to set them free to live in this world without fear. It was on us to do what we could.

We talked about some level of protection we could provide our sons. We had been around body armor in our careers and knew the impact it had on saving so many lives. I couldn’t sleep all night as I thought what body armor would look like for children. The image was difficult to imagine but worst yet – the image of them being unprotected against a shooter was more disturbing.

The next morning I sent my boys off to school with the only thing I had to protect them with at the moment – I said a prayer.

I headed to the gym and found my work out partner and started sharing with her the idea of body armor for children. She is a go-getter and as I spoke about the idea, she kept saying, “Then do something.” She was encouraging me to make a difference.

We lunched together and even wrote out ideas on a napkin. After I arrived home, my friend called to let me know she had grabbed the name “A Safe Pack” as a website name. That was a name we threw around during lunch. That small act by a friend who cared, set us into researching the best type of body armor for children. We wanted to make sure it had all these attributes:

– The ability to take a high caliber bullet
– Light weight for children to carry
– Made in America – a must!
– Approved by the Department of Justice

After months of looking, we found the best on the market. A product made by VISM.

We had never started a business before and we personally bought hundreds of
body armor backpack inserts, pulled together our website, and waited for sales so other children could come home safe.

We thought word of mouth would have people knocking down our doors to buy the bulletproof inserts. We didn’t have a marketing plan and we didn’t know where to start. My friend decided to contact the local TV station and see if they might do a story about it. They indeed were interested and interviewed us. We had a spot on the local nightly news and waited for the phone to ring.

It didn’t. We received only one sale from one grandmother. That was it. There
were many comments from the TV spot and they weren’t encouraging. Many said we were making money off dead children. Others said that it was awful to have to think about bullet proofing children. Still others said they would consider buying one but they had no idea how to talk to their children about them.

The reasons for not selling our back pack inserts seemed to overpower the
reasons we had in the first place…
to make sure all children come home safe.

We were devastated. What had we done wrong?

And then another friend suggested we hire a business consultant and so we did. The decision to hire one was a big step and we knew we needed help. We could not let our mission fade away.

During one of our strategy sessions we were discussing how to teach parents to talk to their children about our product. I described how I had educated my children and used the idea of them becoming a turtle. A turtle will pull in his limbs and go inside his shell for protection. With their backpack inserts, they find a spot to curl up and hide under their shell.

And boom, we realized that’s how you talk to children about bulletproof inserts! Tank, America’s Super Turtle came to life at that session. We knew Tank would be able to relate to children. He would be the voice we needed to quiet the fear of parents and instill a sense of peace in the children.

We sketched out Tank on a piece of paper and found an animator to bring him to life. Tank’s personality was perfect for the children. They didn’t fear those bullet proof inserts and felt safer knowing their Turtle shell would ensure they would come home safe.

The journey has been long. It’s been expensive. It’s been difficult. And it’s been
worth it all because our mission to make sure all children come home safe is now a reality.

Thank you for caring enough to read our story and check out Tank and his turtle shell! If you purchase a Tank Shell for one of your children or grandchildren we know that it was a difficult decision. But please know this – you did what you could and that is all you can do. It’s a start and you did your part.

And might we add one more thing to Tank, America’s Super Turtle story? When we started our story, we said the only thing we had to help protect our children when they left for school was – “say a prayer.”

We still believe that is the safest method of all to keep our children and our nation safe from the bad guys. We encourage you to pray AND to provide Tank’s Shell as added protection. We will be researching for new products and new ways to help children come home safe and we hope you’ll follow us on our social media sites listed here.

God bless you from Ms. CarrieAnn and Tank, America’s Super Turtle!