Callsign The Story
Why? Why would somebody wake up one day and say I want to open up a brewery?
Back in 2015 Steve and Morris “Mo” were brewing beer in the garage getting ready for the Zona Rosa Beer Festival. At that point they didn’t have a home brewery name. While brewing beers that night, an Imperial IPA and a Brown Ale, they talked about those they’ve lost during their military career. Steve could use both his hands, and your hands, to count the number of people he’s known that have been lost during his career. Mo said to Steve why don’t we name these beers after the callsigns of airplanes that we’ve lost. Talk turned to a tanker, McConnel Jet, that crashed in Kyrgyzstan in 2013. Both Steve and Mo have time on that tail. Steve thought it was a great idea. It was that night that they decided all of their beers would be named after the callsigns of fallen aircraft. From there, they would do what they could to help soldiers with PTSD. After that the label was created along with a mission statement. Between that night and the Zona Rosa Beer Festival, the labels were done and the mission statement completed.
Fast forward two months to the Zona Rosa Beer Festival. Three things that happened that day that made them decide to open up a brewery.
First six army guys show up. They got to the front of the line got their samples, went to the back of the line, front of the line, back of the line, front of the line. They did this for about a ½ hour straight. They read the mission statement and loved the C-130 airframe on the label. After about a ½ hour the older gentleman of the group came around the table and gave Steve a hug. He said you know what, let’s never forget these guys we can’t forget them, thank you for what you’re doing. Then backs up, misty eyed and renders a slow salute. He turns around, walks away, never to be seen again.
Fast forward another 30 minutes. A gentleman shows up, jumps to the head of the line. And he goes hey I understand you have a story about your beers. Steve says, yeah, I do. He begins talking about one. And the man says, no tell me about this one. It was the label of Komodo 11, a helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan in 2003. He says talk about this one. Steve starts to talk about the helicopter crash, looks up and notices the man’s hands are over his face. The man said stop, I know the story, my wife was on that helicopter. Steve, stunned, asked if he was Tamara Archuleta’s widower. He said, yes, I am. He had his 15-year old son with him. The kid came around the table and gave Steve a hug and said thank you, nobody has done anything for my mom since she died in 2003. How do you respond to that, what do you do?
Fast forward another 30 minutes, another gentleman shows up. He’s an A10 pilot. He and Steve know some of the same people and turns out his father was Steve’s wing commander when he was flying helicopters out of Long Island New York. The man stops in his tracks after telling Steve where he’s from. He picks up the label of Komodo 11 Brown Ale and says oh my god I need to get my wife, I’ll be right back. About 10 minutes later he shows up with his wife and gives her the label. Her eyes got huge. She said, oh my God that was Jason’s helicopter, that was Jason’s callsign. At the bottom of the label there was a list of names. She sees the list and
says oh my God there’s Jason’s name. Steve asked if she was Jason Hicks widow. Jason was the flight engineer on that helicopter. She looked at Steve and said yes, I am, did you know him? Steve did know him, they went to flight school together in 2003. There was some crying at that point.
Bottom line they made an impact on someone’s life by remembering their loved one. After they left Mo and Steve decided then and there that they were going to brew more beer and would open Callsign Brewing. And they were going to do whatever they could to help veterans.
To this day, Callsign has raised money:
· for a fellow member of Steve’s squadron that was murdered, about $4000.00 for his family.
· for a firefighter and home brewer that died recently from throat cancer. He was going to head our Red-Line line of beers.
· for Missouri Patriot Paws. Six service dogs for veterans with PTSD.