Fort Discovery markets new rifle with promotional help from Sequim native
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Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
Miss Fort Discovery Stephanie Reed of Sequim after firing a practice round with the new Fort Discovery Expedition rifle made in Gardiner.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

Unity of Effort picnic fetes public protectors
By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

GARDINER –– Security Services Northwest will host its annual Unity of Effort picnic at Fort Discovery to celebrate those who protect the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The public event at Fort Discovery, 3501 Old Gardiner Road, celebrates military, law enforcement and first responders.

Representatives of more than three dozen agencies are expected to be on hand.

“There's no safer place to be on Aug. 23,” said organizer Joe D'Amico, owner of Security Services Northwest.

A $20 suggested donation is asked of members of the public.

Military, law enforcement and firefighting personnel will be admitted free.

Proceeds will benefit the Special Operation Warrior Foundation, which supports families of wounded and fallen special operations soldiers, D'Amico said.

Barbecue will be available.

Attendees can bring picnic lunches.

Invited guests include representatives of the Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team; the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Forensics Evidence Response Team from Seattle; State Patrol; State Parks; U.S. Border Patrol; police departments in Port Angeles, Forks, Port Townsend and the Makah reservation; and Jefferson, Clallam, King and Kitsap county sheriff's offices.

Highlights for the 17th annual event will be tours of helicopters from Airlift Northwest and the Border Patrol and police dog demonstrations by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Port Angeles Police Department.

Erected recently is a new 91-foot, 2-inch flagpole donated by Interfor Pacific.

D'Amico said the pole is the largest wooden flag pole on the Olympic Peninsula.

Sequim's Stardust Big Band will perform at 10:05 a.m.

At 10:50 a.m., Stephanie Reed of Sequim will be crowned Miss Fort Discovery after the inaugural pageant D'Amico organized to promote his company's new rifle, the Fort Discovery Expedition.

Mallory McKendry of the Navy band will sing the national anthem at noon, with a prayer from the U.S. Navy chaplain leading things off.

The 56th Army Brass Band will start cranking out Dixieland jazz tunes at 1 p.m.

Children can partake in several activities such as the jump house, arts and crafts, and the “straw toy find.”

Vendors will include Epic Firearms, Top Notch Tactical, Fort Discovery and Costco.

Parking at Fort Discovery is limited, so guests are encouraged to use the free shuttle provided by 7 Cedars Casino.

The shuttle will leave from the casino's upper parking lot at 270756 U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn hourly starting at 9:30 a.m.

Return shuttles from Fort Discovery leave at the top of every hour.

RSVPs are requested but not required.

To reserve a spot or for more information, email Jennifer Scott at


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at
GARDINER –– Sequim native Stephanie Reed will be crowned as the first Miss Fort Discovery on Saturday as part of Fort Discovery Inc.'s efforts to market its new Expedition semi-automatic rifle.

“We're really excited about this new rifle,” said Joe D'Amico, owner of Fort Discovery Inc. and Security Services Northwest.

“Our goal was to find someone to promote our product line — the Fort Discovery 'Expedition Rifle' — and love for the shooting sports,” D'Amico said.

Fort Discovery Inc. is a licensed manufacturer with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Expedition rifle is the company's first offering and sells for just under $2,000, D'Amico said.

Reed will be crowned during the annual Unity of Effort picnic D'Amico's company Security Services Northwest is hosting Saturday.

The picnic is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fort Discovery, a 3,500-acre site at 3501 Old Gardiner Road along the west edge of Discovery Bay.

The gun is named after Capt. George Vancouver's 1792 HMS Discovery expedition of the Pacific Northwest.

During his journey, Vancouver found what is now known as Discovery Bay.

“It is a great home-personal and home-defense rifle,” D'Amico said.

As part of the rifle's launch, D'Amico organized the Miss Fort Discovery pageant, which was held Aug. 3 and included tests of physical agility, shooting, a written exam, interviews and a survival test.

Reed, a 26-year-old registered nurse at the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, topped the 10-woman field.

“It was pretty intense,” she said. “But it feels good to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Reed will autograph photos of herself with the Expedition rifle after she is crowned at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

“We are excited to have Stephanie's enthusiasm and attention to detail and love of the sport,” D'Amico said.

A competitive pistol shooter who trains at the Sunnydale Shooting Grounds owned by the family of 1984 Olympic shooting gold medalist Matt Dryke, Reed said the Miss Fort Discovery contest was just the second time she had fired a rifle.

“The first was the night before,” she said. “Matt gave me a quick first lesson.”

Reed graduated from Sequim High School in 2007 and earned her nursing degree from Peninsula College.

D'Amico spent the past two years developing the rifle, which he said is lighter than other AR-15 platform weapons and includes two magazines.

“In 2013, we started the development phase and created a solid model,” D'Amico said.

“Our team consisted of civilian, military special forces and prior law enforcement expertise.”

D'Amico has one employee assembling the rifles out of “furniture” rifle components made by Magpul in Boulder, Colo., and Daniel Defense in Black Creek, Ga.

D'Amico's company has the makings for 200 rifles and has sold 50 this year.

Printed on the side of the gun is the coordinates to D'Amico's Fort Discovery that, when plugged into a global positioning system, will lead the owner to “The Rally Point,” a steel marker placed in the ground there.

The rifles arrive in hand-crafted wooden boxes that are branded to look like cargo on Vancouver's historic tall ships.

D'Amico plans future offshoots of the Expedition rifle, which he plans to also name after members or landmarks of Capt. Vancouver's Discovery expedition.

One of the rifles will be awarded to a full-time member of the military or law enforcement officer through a raffle at D'Amico's 17th annual Unity of Effort picnic Saturday.

“If they can pass a background check,” he joked.

For more on the rifle and Miss Fort Discovery, visit


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at

Last modified: August 21. 2014 7:13PM
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