SAN RAMON, Calif. (KTVU) - When troops serving overseas need to replace a helmet, boots, communication equipment or any number of items, many don't contact the military these days.They send an email Troops Direct in San Ramon.
"They contact us. It shows up a few days later," said Troops Direct founder Aaron Negherbon.
Negherbon started the non-profit eight years ago when a friend of his was deployed to Afghanistan and told him of the supply shortages.So Negherbon left his real estate business and started Troops Direct.
"Our mission is to get the service member the items they need so they can conduct their mission. But also to get them back home safe and alive," he said.
On Tuesday Negherbon showed as an email request he received Monday.
"We were assaulted and we lost equipment as we were low crawling through rocks, under fire. He's asking for replacement boots. Sleeping bag replacements.This is a normal every day occurrence with Troops Direct."
We spoke with a retired Marine in North Carolina who described a mission three years ago when he worked special operations.
"As we were ramping up to go into Mozul to get rid of Isis we realized we didn't have what we needed. I contacted Aaron and he supplied us with rescue kits. And we ended up saving a civilian girl's life," said retired Marine Sgt. Jacob Jones.
Jones now works for the non-profit. Troops direct says the military is aware of what it is doing. But hasn't expressed any concern. Negheberon said troops direct can simply get supplies to far away places faster than the bureaucratic military.
Troops direct simply orders online and has the items shipped at no cost to the service man or woman. The non-profit says it operates solely on donations. Troops Direct estimates it has helped hundreds of thousands of service people.
"I love what we do. It's a shame Troops Direct has to exist," said Negherbon.