(KWTX) When the two children of famed American Sniper Chris Kyle were born in California more than a decade ago, their Texas-born father, who was stationed in California as a SEAL, wanted to make sure the first soil his children’s feet touched was Texas soil.
The American Valor Foundation is sharing photographs of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle dipping his babies’ feet into Texas soil that his brother delivered to California, where Kyle was stationed at the time. (Courtesy photo)
Kyle’s brother, Jeff, who now lives in Robinson made sure that happened.
“It meant everything to him because being from Texas and being true blue Texan, he didn’t want his kids’ feet to touch California dirt first, he wanted them to touch Texas soil,” Jeff Kyle said.
The never-before-told story is just one that the Central Texas family, including Jeff and his wife Amy as well as Chris’ parents, Wayne and Deby from Hamilton, is sharing six years after Chris was killed and five years after a movie made about his life was a blockbuster hit, as they work to spread the word about their foundation created to keep Chris’ memory alive by helping other veterans and first responders.
“We’re trying to share family stories of who we are and why we do what we do, just to give personal stories about us and about Chris to let people understand what the foundation is about and what we’re about.”
The American Valor Foundation was founded in Hamilton by the Kyles in 2014 and has given out $3 million to $4 million to veterans and first responders and their families since.
This week the foundation shared the heartwarming photographs of Chris Kyle dipping his babies’ feet in 2004 and again in 2006 into the Texas soil that Jeff brought with him in a one-gallon zip lock Baggie on a flight from Texas to California.
“When they were pregnant he would tell me I really wish they could be born in Texas and so we got to talking and I said when your son is born I can bring some Texas soil out,” Jeff said.
At the time Chris’s son was born, Jeff was an active duty Marine stationed in Hawaii, but he made a trip home to pick up some dirt from around San Antonio to deliver to his brother, who was stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
When Jeff’s niece followed two years later, he was in the reserves and living in Wichita Falls where he once again packed the unusual gift to take out west.
Jeff says he and his family will continue to share personal stories so the world can learn more about Chris than the snippets shown in “American Sniper”, which became the highest grossing war film of all time in 2014 making nearly $500 million worldwide and the bestselling memoir that his brother penned before his untimely death.
Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed at a gun rage in Erath County in 2013 while trying to help a 25-year-old veteran who was later found guilty of their murders and sentenced to life in prison.
Since that time his family in Central Texas has worked tirelessly to continue with their brother’s mission of helping veterans.
“We just want to do what we can to keep Chris’ legacy alive,” Jeff said.