GERALD ALCORN, the CEO of the Tango3 nonprofit, can be seen in Fayette Square in Owosso displaying some of the Dove Creek jerky his organization is offering in support of veterans. Behind Alcorn is the WWII monument, as well as the bronze plaque that Alcorn designed for the park in 2008. The plaque was added as part of the revitalization of Fayette Square, an effort commissioned by the city of Owosso and led by Alcorn.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
“There is a serious mental health problem in the United States right now that needs to be addressed,” explains Gerald Alcorn, a longtime Shiawassee County resident and U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “According to government statistics, on average, 132 Americans die by suicide each day. Suicide is also the 10th leading cause of death among all ages and the second leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 34 in the United States.
“And as a veteran myself, the rising veteran suicide numbers are especially troubling to me,” continues Alcorn. “On average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day, and for every one of those deaths, over 100 individuals are negatively affected for life and statistically are much more likely to commit suicide then their peers.
“And this COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated our country’s mental health issues. I know we can’t end it alone, but we can put a significant dent in it, and for every one life saved, that’s 100-plus that don’t have to experience the heartbreak of losing a loved one to suicide; let alone consider it an option for themselves; exponentially that’s huge.”
Alcorn, in his 15th year as the coordinator for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots in Shiawassee County, is a serial entrepreneur who regularly works to address military, health care and other social issues locally and around the globe.
“My colleagues and I have worked for years creating health-care platforms for a substantial number of organizations in the U.S. and abroad, for everything from opiate addiction to post partum depression, with incredible patient outcomes,” shared Alcorn. “When I realized just how big a problem veteran suicide had become, I decided to take action.
“One of my colleagues and I decided that we could build a platform for suicide prevention, our same basic platform that is used in hospitals around the country to produce better patient outcomes.
“We took our idea to various senators, congressman at the state and federal level and various other government agencies to include submitting our proposal to the president’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), which is supposed to focus on a holistic public health approach to suicide prevention.
“Honestly I just got tired of the bureaucratic red tape and decided to try and raise the money to build the platform myself.”
The idea began to take shape more than a year ago, when Alcorn met Wayne and Michelle Johnson, fifth generation owners of Missouri-based Dove Creek Cattle Co. They specialize in high-end cattle, most notably the Japanese breed Akaushi (the red Waygu), where they sell steaks to exclusive restaurants. Their number-one selling steak sells for $150. Alcorn had met Wayne while in Grand Rapids for a veteran fundraiser.
Shortly after Gerry had initiated a conversation with the cattle rancher, the two had struck up an informal agreement to use Johnson’s premium Wagyu marbled beef to make and distribute the highest quality jerky available commercially in the country, maybe the world, with the intent of using all of the profits to fund veteran projects most importantly the suicide prevention platform.
It was then that Alcorn realized he needed to start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which became the catalyst for Tango3.org, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization.
“Looking back Tango3 is really just the culmination of decades of philanthropic work. The plan is for it to do many things around the United States and the world, hopefully to make the world a better place than I found it.” said Alcorn.
After Gerry, the Johnsons and their partners worked out manufacturing logistics, Alcorn sat down with representatives from SpartanNash, based in Byron Center, MI, and secured an agreement to start selling Dove Creek Wagyu jerky in 70 SpartanNash corporate stores across Michigan. The bags can be found locally at VG’s Grocery on N. M-52 in Owosso.
“Thanks to Wayne, Michelle and others who have given selflessly, profits from every sale of this jerky will go to Tango3 – short for Time, Talent and Treasure,” shares Alcorn. “All profits from beef jerky sales will go toward veterans programs, and in particular to help prevent veteran suicides.”
For a limited time, there is a special promotion of the jerky available to military personnel, first responders and hospitals. For more information contact Gerald Alcorn at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please feel free to visit them at Tango3.org on Facebook.