In 2016, three weeks before our season opener, I stepped away from the game of baseball, largely because of my family but also because of a few life-changing events that continue to impact me to this day. What started out as a simple visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center soon turned into my involvement in the fight against sex trafficking.
It began when I was playing for the Washington Nationals. Being in DC, I began to spend time at Walter Reed with our wounded soldiers. After multiple visits it became obvious they wanted to be treated as “another one of the guys” instead of a “patient in need of care.”
That off-season, unaware of what lie ahead, my family and I hosted our first group of combat veterans for a hunt at our ranch in Southeast Kansas. After that week, it was clear why God had entrusted us with this incredible piece of property known as the E3 Ranch: we were to use it to serve these warriors and give them a degree of normalcy. Their “team-room” mentality
that had sustained them in war zones had many similarities to the “clubhouse” mentality we all enjoyed in baseball.
In our conversations with these soldiers following time at our ranch, they all shared the same thing. Since their time in combat, no one had treated them as normal guys but instead had tried to “fix” them or had pitied them. That does not happen at the E3 Ranch. This is why, I believe, almost all of them end up coming back to our ranch in a support role for future
events. Unofficially, this is when the E3 Ranch Foundation started.
No sooner had my family and I made plans to meet the needs of these heroes than God revealed an equally-overwhelming need our family’s foundation would need to address: sex trafficking.
Probably much easier to explain in person but the short of it is, a good friend and former teammate, Blaine Boyer, and I took a life-changing trip to Southeast Asia the season before I retired where we were exposed to the realities of trafficking.
Following that, I began to fly around the U.S. to meet with various groups involved in this fight. One of the first was in Atlanta (where I began my baseball career and where Blaine Boyer resides) with the head of the GBI and the Atlanta Chief of Police to find out what their greatest needs were and how we could assist.
After learning that sex-trafficking is the fastest growing type of organized crime in the United States, and realizing how difficult it was to combat this crime without being a member of law enforcement, I attended our Kansas Law Enforcement Academy and became commissioned as a Deputy in Bourbon County, Kansas. Since then, I am now dual-commissioned with Homeland Security and am honored to be an agent of our HSI Human Trafficking Task Force. Each has opened doors for me to be involved in this fight... which is where our veterans and I join forces.
Many of the soldiers that come to the E3 have had long careers as analysts of open source intelligence hunting terrorists. This happens to be the very same model we desperately need more of in Law Enforcement to hunt traffickers and those being exploited. Now, instead of these combat veterans exiting the military and feeling like they no longer have a purpose, they can link up with us in this fight to continue to use the skills that once defined them. The irony is that each experience has allowed the E3 Ranch Foundation to serve those who have given us our freedom who, in turn, join with us to fight for those who have
For the past five years, my wife Jennifer and I have been blessed to use E3 Ranch & Co. to help fund the E3 Ranch Foundation in a grassroots effort to help those with the greatest needs. I want to thank you for considering the E3 Ranch Foundation as a recipient of your donor dollars.
- Adam LaRoche