For San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, every day is the Fourth of July.
That's what it takes to run a 501(c)(3) that benefits families of those who put their lives on the line for their country.
Four years ago, after reading about the 2011 Chinoook military helicopter crash that killed 22 Navy SEALs, Busch started Saves for SEALs with the goal of collecting money to help the families of Navy SEALs who perished in the line of duty.
"It's my little way to give back and say thank you on a day-to-day basis. Not a day goes by that I don't think about this and I don't work on it," Busch said. "I do what I love because of these guys and their selflessness to put their lives on the line each and every day for us to have our freedom and do what we want in this country.
"All I ever thought about was soccer and now I see things so differently," Busch continued. "On my bad day I give up a bad goal and you can still get up the next day and work on it. These guys, on their bad days, they're not coming home."
Over the course of the four years, Busch has collected nearly $40,000 dollars and this year he started an online fan donation page Crowdtilt with the goal of collecting $30,000. It stands at $5,218 as of Friday, July 4.
But that's just the start. Next week he'll auction off special game-worn camouflage gloves with Navy SEAL patches and cleats (featuring popular Navy SEAL slogan "All In, All The Time"). On Earthquakes Military Night (last weekend vs. LA) there's a special Saves for SEALs package with proceeds going to the families. And then for every save he makes in an MLS match, he gives $50 of his own money and that total is matched by his club at the end of the season.
Then every December Busch takes a year's worth of donations and personally delivers them to the SEALs Foundation in Virginia Beach, where he has met some of the families and current SEALs, many of whom have since become Earthquakes fans.
"I got to hear their stories about the buddies they've lost on these missions," Busch said. "So it's really pretty amazing to hear where this money goes to — anything from buying the kids Christmas presents to fixing the airconditioning in the house that's not working."
"Every dollar makes the difference. I think sometimes when people put on fundraisers they expect or think 'I gotta put $100 or I gotta put $500' or big numbers. No, you put a dollar in I'm going to be grateful," he continued. "It goes to such a good cause to take care of these wives and these kids who've lost their father and husband and can never get them back."