Lyle Eastham is one very busy man. Serving as president of Big E Drilling Company based in Houston, Texas the successful entrepreneur is also a husband to his beautiful wife Andrea; and a father to three beloved daughters ages 18, 16 and 12. With so many hats to wear and responsibilities to fulfill, it’s a wonder how Eastham still finds time to give back to causes near and dear to his heart. Fortunately for us, Boot Campaign has been an organization, in which, Eastham has never been too busy to turn his attention away from and provide his resources toward—even when, one day, he was spending some personal time working out of the office.
It was 2009. As fate would have it, Lyle was going about his day putting some personal time in at a local gym, when he overheard a conversation. The discussion was between two Boot Girls, Heather and Leigh Ann and from what he could gather, they were discussing an upcoming, inaugural fundraising event for their recently launched foundation, Boot Campaign. As the conversation went on, he also overhead the girls mention the name Marcus Luttrell and the book, Lone Survivor. The substance of the conversation piqued Lyle’s curiosity further, especially since he had already read Luttrell’s book and was familiar with the retired Navy Seal’s story. Naturally, a conversation between the three ensued and his invaluable relationship of support and assistance with the newborn foundation began. “I’m blessed by the people I know, and I’m a doer. I’m not a taker. I never ask people for things, but when it came to this, the military, I started asking,” Lyle expressed.
Natural curiosity, asking questions and jumping in to get involved is what he did then and is still doing now. Today, Lyle’s, seemingly unconditional support for Boot Campaign, the girls who started it and the people it serves remains, endures and continues. From buying tables, selling tables, contributing funds, purchasing boots and just being a regular voice and force for Boot Campaign—it’s safe to say, Lyle and Big E is a big part of the Boot Campaign’s success.
As a regular cheerleader and supporter over the last six years, Eastham’s passion for the cause and the thousands of veterans it has served over the years inspires him to continue working closely with the Boot Campaign every chance he gets. “Lyle has been actively involved in Boot Campaign’s efforts since day one,” explained Boot Girl Heather. “His commitment is critical to those it’s served since the foundation’s beginnings, which is invaluable in and of itself. But, it’s his heartfelt gratitude for our service men and women’s sacrifice that has really enabled his enthusiastic American spirit to spread. His passion has become contagious and that’s how he’s helped others catch the same inspiration and commit to the cause.”
But, Lyle isn’t quick to take any credit for furthering the foundation’s efforts. In fact, he attributes Boot Campaign’s success to those who founded it and run it day to day with passion, integrity and their own strong commitment to the values and principles which founded it. “The Boot Girls are energetic and passionate about their cause and I knew they were really going to do something with it,” he explained. “I’m honored to be a part of it and to see it grow. I knew it would gain traction just because they were so passionate. It’s just great to know all of the Boot Girls and to see all of their hard work make a difference. Every single one of those girls wouldn’t skip a beat to ensure a veteran gets help in any way [needed].”
With that humility guiding his commitment to Boot Campaign, the successful business man will continue spreading the word at work and in his everyday life. In fact, one of the first contributions he made was the purchasing of combat boots for his employees at Big E, which translates into about 300 boots. His dedication also spilled over into his own family, where he managed to recruit his wife as a regular, proud supporter. His sixteen-year-old daughter caught her dad’s philanthropic fever too, regularly making time to help out and volunteer at events or wherever needed. But his devotion doesn’t end there. Eastham understands he’s been blessed by having the chance to connect and network with other influential, business leaders in the private sector. Therefore, he often tries to spread the word in these circles reassuring them that Boot Campaign is in the trenches with veterans for the long haul and that their commitment in dollars or time will garner a positive return on investment.
“I literally would like Boot Campaign to continue forward on exactly the path it has led up to now. The expense ratio in any charitable organization is what people look at. They want to know that if they’re going to give you $100; how much of that $100 is going to go toward what that foundation is about? I have always bragged to everybody that I sell it to,” explained Eastham. “I mean at one point in time, we were well over $90, which is stellar. I challenge you to find a military foundation that is within 20 percent. You won’t find one. That is something key to continuing on.”