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Black and white images on a wooden table of men and women who represent Modern Icon

The Greatest Generation: 4 people who inspired Modern Icon

My grandparents’ generation inspired Modern Icon; I connected more with that generation than I did with my own. Back then, things were made to last and designed to be repaired rather than replaced. I admired my grandparents’ resilience and resourcefulness. They taught me that the way you carry yourself and take care of your things is a direct reflection of your character.

Lee's grandfather and uncle pictured, who inspired Modern Icon


My grandpa was an airplane mechanic for the Air Force in World War II then worked as an engineer for the CIA designing reconnaissance satellites. He took most of what he did to the grave. He taught me that details matter, to have a critical eye, and to understand how things work by taking them apart and putting them back together. 

My Great Uncle Billy was a carpenter by trade but served as a pilot in a B17 Flying Fortress in World War II in Europe. Like my grandpa, he also never really talked about his experience there. He was an avid outdoorsman and taught me about camp craft and how to hunt and fish. He taught me the importance of finishing well and the importance of hard work.

His love for the outdoors was infectious and led me to pursue a career as a backpacking guide and certified climbing instructor after college. Now, instead of guiding civilians recreationally, I get the privilege of training members of the Joint Special Operations Command as well as Federal Counter-Terrorism Units in the art of vertical access.

Two older photos of women who are in their 20s. They are Lee's grandmothers, his role models.
Left: Lee’s grandmother on his father’s side; Right: Lee’s grandmother on his mother’s side


My grandma on my mom’s side grew up during the Great Depression. She had to mend, repair, and make do with whatever the family already had; they didn’t have the luxury of replacing worn-out clothes. She taught me how to sew by hand, and my grandma on my dad’s side taught me how to sew on a machine as she did as a master seamstress — with experience sewing everything from leather furniture upholstery to wedding dresses. The knowledge they passed down led to an insatiable desire to customize almost everything I owned so it performed to its absolute best.

It was my grandparents’ stories, examples, and sacrifices that inspired me to join the Marine Reserves out of high school and eventually to become a law enforcement officer. 

Modern Icon represented by Lee's grandfather, Great Uncle Billy, and Lee as an LEO with a K9 in his gear
Top: Lee’s grandpa; Left: Great Uncle Billy; Right: Lee and a K9 in early Modern Icon gear


When my grandparents’ generation was growing up, they wanted to become soldiers, police officers, firefighters, and tradesmen. Those were the icons of the day; those were the people who kids looked up to as role models — and that deeply resonated with me. 

The name “Modern Icon” came from my belief that these public servants should once again be viewed as the icons of our day. I wanted to make K9 gear that communicated that value to them in a way they could feel, experience, and truly benefit from. I wanted to create the best for the best with no limitations. These modern-day icons are willing to sacrifice their lives in the service and defense of their communities — so they should never have to compromise on the K9 gear that protects them.

Modern Icon started as one man with a sewing machine and now utilizes the best equipment, materials, and talent in the industry. As we’ve grown, we’ve never forgotten that we innovate for you, our personal icons. Your voice matters most to us, and we want to know what you really think as we make the gear that protects those who serve and protect.


Modern Icon’s CEO, Founder, and Product Designer

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