Local veteran on a mission to fight skin cancer

Posted at 3:05 PM, Mar 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-26 19:21:20-04

A former Navy SEAL has launched a successful business right here in San Diego.

It started with a Kickstarter campaign, and in less than 24 hours he surpassed $15,000 on the money-raising website.

You name it, Nick Norris had it in his arsenal during his 10 years as a Navy SEAL.

"My primary weapon was the assault rifle, a full compliment of magazines, fragmentary grenades, rockets," he said.

He wore a lot of armor and packed a lot of heat, which made the blistering sun in Iraq more brutal.

"You're sitting there in a torture chamber just being slowly cooked alive," Norris said. "You go scrub cammo facepaint off your face, and you're scrubbing sunburn, and your lips are blistered and cracked."

"It's horrible, and it's miserable, and it's probably everything that you think it is," he said with a laugh.

Those were the times they really bonded.

"They're brothers," he added.

They thought they were invincible at first.

"You go into deployments thinking nothing bad can ever happen… you know… we're unstoppable," Norris said.

Reality came crashing down.

"Obviously you're crushed," he started. Norris' eyes filled with tears as he recalled what happened.

He knew there was a chance he could come home in a casket, but it was his friend, Brendan Looney, who was killed in a helicopter crash during his final mission in Afghanistan.

Flying home next to his friend's body dug into his heart.

"You put yourself in their families' shoes," he said. "You know how difficult it's going to be for their family to deal with that."

Now, he is worried skin cancer is a killer creeping up on vets.

"I think it is a big deal, and it's going to haunt me and a lot of other people," he added.

That is why he launched Predator Warpaint. 

"It's SPF 50 and water and sweat resistant," Norris explained.

It is also cammoflauge face paint, which they wear in combat.

When it is kill or be killed, there is not time to worry about applying sunscreen, so the product eliminates an extra step.

"We're not saying our product is a cure to skin cancer, like it's going to fix everything," he said.

But, it could add to their arsenal, and it is his way of shielding those who protect us.

Right now, it is around $20, but they are trying to drop the price.

Even the military is starting to buy the product, which is made in the U.S.