Heroism and leadership were the themes from guest speaker Clint Bruce at the McKinney Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Business Meeting and Quarterly Luncheon, held Thursday, Jan. 23 at Eldorado Country Club.

Bruce was the keynote speaker for the event, sponsored by Baylor Medical Center at McKinney. The event kicked off the Chamber’s yearlong centennial celebration.

“We are extremely proud to be celebrating a Century of Success – 100 years of service to the McKinney business community and are grateful for our member businesses and community leaders who have played such a vital role in our accomplishments,” said Chamber President Jodi Ann LaFreniere Ray. “It truly is an honor for all of us to serve the Chamber at such an exciting time in its history.”

The meeting began as LaFreniere Ray welcomed the 2014 Chamber Board and Leadership team members, recognized outgoing board members and celebrated the Ambassador of the Year (Barbra Dutton of Branded Floors). The accomplishments of 2013 were celebrated and goals for 2014 were outlined by incoming Chamber Board Chairman Ray Eckenrode of Appian Commercial Realty.

The microphone was turned over to Bruce, and the former Navy Seal hit the ground running as he talked about heroes, leaders and the Carry the Load project.

“Hero is a word that you need to use for the right reasons,” Bruce said. “For me, I don’t think we use the word enough.

“My definition of a hero: Anybody willing to do more for somebody in that moment. Heroes aren’t just on the battlefield. If you spend five minutes with a kid who doesn’t have a dad, that makes a big difference in that kid’s life. And that makes you a hero. Single moms are heroic. Men raising kids alone, that’s heroic.”


Bruce began by talking about growing up in Garland, playing football and his training to become a Navy Seal.

Clint Bruce talked about heroes, leaders and the Carry the Load project during a powerful speech.

Clint Bruce talked about heroes, leaders and the Carry the Load project during a powerful speech.


“It’s amazing how much Dallas and McKinney have grown since I was a kid,” he said. “The Naval Academy was hard. I wanted to be with people who wanted to fight for this great country.”

He said all those experiences molded him into the man he is today. And while he is proud of his work as founder with not only Carry the Load, but also the Trident Response Group LLC and for Thirty&3, at the end of the day, being a leader is what matters most and focused on traits most important to success, both professionally and personally.

“Profitability is not a purpose, it is a tool. If you treat it like a purpose, then you will be only one who cares about your success.”

He continued: “Leaders taught me we never pray to win. God doesn’t care who wins a ball game or something like that, he cares if I am excellent and I’m a leader. Heroes shrug their shoulders. True leaders know they didn’t get there alone.”

In his many roles, Bruce says, “I protect leaders and I hire heroes.”

When discussing Carry the Load, Bruce talked about the importance of Memorial Day and to those it honors.

“World War II and Korean War veterans, we are losing them more and more,” he said. “We can’t tell them thanks often enough for their sacrifice for this great country.

Carry the Load is a movement created in 2011 to restore true meaning to Memorial Day and to honor the sacrifice of not only Military, but Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Rescue personnel as well.


Chuck Grimes is the Associate Editor of McKinney Magazine. You can reach him at 972-542-0165 or via email at cgrimes@mckinneychamber.com.