Edit ModuleShow Tags

SoldierSocks Gives Back to Troops

Stamford’s Chris Meek helps troops off and on the battlefield



©flysnow/istockphoto

Robert F. Kennedy once said, The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better." For Stamford resident Chris Meek, those are words he lives by.

While he never served in the Armed Forces himself, Meek has made it his life’s work to helping those who have from providing basic necessities such as socks to giving the gift of walking to paralyzed veterans.

Back in 2009, Meek’s vision for the organization SoldierSocks he co-founded with close friend Scott Duffy was simple – collect essential toiletries, like baby wipes and socks, to send to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He and Duffy were stunned to learn the needs of troops after a friend had shared a letter from a marine who was serving in Afghanistan who had said there was a dire demand for the items. With a need so basic, Meek and Duffy knew they could fill in the gaps, and the organization was started.  

The baby wipes are essential for hygienic purposes, as many the troops were living in foxholes and away from the bases with no access to showers, and socks because of the rough terrain and extreme temperatures they were exposed to forced then to have frequent changes of socks. “I saw this as a real opportunity to make a small difference,” said Meek who by day is a vice-president at State Street Global Advisors.

The father of three partnered with Stamford’s Hope Street Pharmacy, now called Connecticut Pharmacy, and New Balance of New Canaan to help with the donation of toiletries and socks and UPS of Norwalk. 

“I was interested in helping those who serve in the military because not serving is one of life’s regrets,” said the candid Meek. “I used to work in the World Trade Center and I was in the shadows of the Twin Towers on 9/11, so I have a pretty good understanding of why and what we’re fighting for.”

The altruistic idea of helping those serving spread, and soon Boy and Girl Scout troops, police and fire departments, schools, youth groups and local retailers were lending a hand to help the cause. In a short span of time, Meek and SoldierSocks has garnered donations from Maine to Florida, and as far as California.

Following the collection of all the goods, Meek would pick up donations, and then store them in his spacious garage at his home in Stamford.  Friends, neighbors, and those interested in lending their hands to SoldierSocks would descend on Meek’s home, and sort the donations, and pack the boxes of supplies before their eventual shipment to Iraq and Afghanistan

Even elected officials took part in the endeavors -- Lt. Governor and Stamford resident Michael Fedele and his family also participated at Meek’s celebrated ‘packing parties.’  

In 2009, syndicated radio show Elvis Duran and the Morning Show selected Soldier Socks as one of its charities for the holiday season, helping the organization gain  immense national traction. In 2010, SoldierSanta was created to help send gifts to troops during the holiday season, and a year later, the organization was recognized by President Obama and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Scores of local companies such Newman’s Own, Vineyard Vines, WWE, and others are working with SoldierSocks to help secure grants and donations.

Fast forward five years, SoldierSocks has grown leaps and bounds, and today, as Chairman, Meek is taking the organization to new heights and helping Veterans who have lost their ability to walk due severe injuries and paralysis sustained while serving their country.

Last year, SoliderSocks partnered with Richmond, California-based technology company Ekso Bionics which has developed a state-of-the art exoskeleton suit that helps those with lower paralysis to stand up and walk again. Meek learned about Ekso Bionics purely by accident after reading an article in a magazine, and he had a eureka moment where he knew SoldierSocks could play a role with giving paralyzed soldiers access to the expensive suits which cost about $140,000 each.

After learning more about the company, Meek quickly gleaned that Ekso Bionics is committed to the military as the company’s Chief Technology Officer who designed the equipment has a brother who is a Navy SEAL.

“To see someone paralyzed from the chest down to stand up and walk, is fascinating,” said Meek. “When you see what the suit does and how it affects someone’s life, is great.”

Meek admits he first thought the organization would conclude much of its work as the War on Terror wound down, and as troops began to return home but he realized the even with them back in United States, their needs are still great, the work and mission of SoliderSocks is even stronger.

Is Meek surprised on the immense growth SoldierSocks has seen in short life?

“If someone had told me in July 2009 when we started that we would end up shipping over 55,000 pounds of supplies to 53 units in Iraq and Afghanistan I would have laughed at them. And then if they would have told me we also established three scholarship programs and in six months funded 5 Ekso suits at a cost of $140,000 each, I would have thought they were crazy,” said Meek.

“That being said, it’s been an honor to be involved with so many great people who have helped SoldierSocks transform and adapt to the changing needs of our military and veterans.”

To learn more about this organization and how to get involved, visit soldiersocks.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stamford Agenda

  • JCC Sara Walker Nursery School Registration

    2014.08.11

    Registration for the 2014/15 school Our Nursery School programs are designed to help children learn in an interactive and playful way while...

  • Mandisa Thomas, President of Black Nonbelievers

    2015.07.30

    Mandisa Thomas, founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. will lead a discussion on creating more diversity in the secular community at a...

  • Nature’s Numbers

    2015.06.20

    Saturday June 20 – Sunday, August 30, 9 am - 5 pm; Sun., 11 am - 5 pm Escape the summer heat in this cool, colorful, and interactive exhibition...

  • Colonial Summer Camps

    2015.07.27

    Monday – Friday, 9:15 – Noon at the Hanford-Silliman House Sign up for one, two or all four weeks – different activities each week! O June...

  • Woven in Time:Kashmir Shawls

    2015.07.07

    July 7 through September 2015 A new exhibit of Kashmir shawls is opening at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Costumes Museum. The shawls...

  • Stamford Museum & Nature Center Facility Use

    2015.01.02

    January 2 - December 31, After 5pm For a truly unique and memorable venue, host your event or meeting on the picturesque 118-acre former estate...

  • Nature is Brought to You by the Number...

    2015.07.02

    Thursdays, July 2 - August 20, 3:30 - 4:30 pm Discover the wondrous ways that numbers play a role in nature! Each week we will focus on a different...

  • "Peak Season" Loft Artists Association Group Show

    2015.07.31

    The Loft Artists Association annual all-member group show, “Peak Season,” opens Saturday, August 1st in their East Gallery at 575 Pacific...

  • The Met Opera in HD SUMMER ENCORE: Lehar's The Merry Widow

    2015.07.31

    Renée Fleming stars in Susan Stroman’s new production of Lehár’s beloved operetta, opposite Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn. Sir Andrew Davis...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2015.07.07

    Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays July 7 - August 22, 3 pm Stop by our new exhibit, Heckscher WILD!, meet one of the animals, and discover how they...

  • Burgess Models Portfolio Shoot-Out!

    2015.06.27

    Burgess Models Shoot-Out every Saturday this Summer! Burgess Models just opened up in downtown Stamford!  Take advantage every Saturday this...

  • WILD! Feeding

    2015.06.06

    Saturdays June 6 - August 22, 12:30 - 1 pm (no program on 7/4) Ever wonder what lizards like for lunch? Discover the many things our animals like...

  • Daniel Nault; Performing Live at Table 104

    2015.06.27

    Daniel Nault- Musical Performer Acoustic Singer  Table104  203-388-8898

  • Patterns & Forms: Numbers in Nature!

    2015.08.02

    Join us for a special celebration of our summer exhibition, Nature's Numbers, with a look at the patterns and sequences of numbers in nature....

  • Five Tibetans Class Special!

    2015.08.02

    The 5 Tibetan rites or rituals originated with monks in the Himalayas. Using this specific sequence of movement and breath (repeated 21 x each)...

  • The SM&NC Sunday Farm Market Is Back!

    2015.06.28

    Sundays, June 28 through October 11, 10am – 2pm Many of the previous vendors are returning and we've added some new vendors to offer a wider...

  • Market Madness Sundays

    2015.07.12

    Sundays, July 12 - August 23 10 am - 2 pm, (no program on 8/2) Support local farmers and explore the SM&NC through hands-on activities. Join us for...

  • SPLASH - Art Exhibition at C. Parker Gallery

    2015.08.01

    Just when there seems to be no relief from the heat and humidity of summer, the C. Parker Gallery offers a refreshing respite. “SPLASH” a...

  • A Day in a Farmer's Life

    2015.06.24

    Wednesdays, June 24 - August 19, 2 pm Meet at the Chicken Coop, (weather permitting). Come by and discover what it takes to be a farmer on...


Show More...
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular Articles

  1. Beer Garden At Shippan Landing Is Baaack!
    Enjoy amazing views and delicious local craft beer
  2. Food & Wine Celebration 2015
    Stamford Museum and Nature Center
  3. Best Bartender Contest 2015
  4. Alive@Five 2015 Lineup
    Six week music series kicks off July 9
  5. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
    Game show returns to Stamford
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags