And We Have A Winner… Irwin Vise-Grip Contest


Over the weekend in Las Vegas the winner of the Irwin “Tell Us Your VISE-GRIP Story” was announced. The winner was Dr. Bryan Fax a US Navy Surgeon. Read the full story below or visit the IRWIN Contest Site:

IRWIN Industrial Tools® Announces Emergency Battlefield Spine Surgery Tale as Winner of ‘Tell Us Your VISE-GRIP Story’ Promotion

U.S. Navy Surgeon Awarded Custom-Built IRWIN® VISE-GRIP® Chopper for Unique Story About One of America’s Favorite Tools

LAS VEGAS – (March 1, 2009) IRWIN Industrial Tools, a Newell Rubbermaid® company and maker of the most reliable and versatile locking tools, the IRWIN VISE-GRIP, announced today that Dr. Bryan Fox of Chesapeake, Va., was selected as the winner of the “Tell Us Your IRWIN VISE-GRIP Story” promotion. Dr. Fox, an orthopedic surgeon for the United States Navy, was honored for using an IRWIN VISE-GRIP to perform spinal surgery during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A member of the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years, Dr. Fox found a unique use for his VISE-GRIP as a spine surgeon on the battlefield in the Middle East. In the heat of battle, Dr. Fox needed to perform emergency spinal surgery on a soldier who had a combination of screws and rods that had been implanted into his infected spine. Complicating the medical challenges at hand, Dr. Fox did not have access to the specialized tools necessary to deal with the soldier’s different spine implants. Dr. Fox did, however, have access to a pair of VISE-GRIP locking pliers. He sterilized his VISE-GRIP tools and used them to remove the rods and screws from the soldier’s infected spine, effectively saving his life.

As the winner of the “Tell Us Your Vise-Grip Story” promotion, Dr. Fox was awarded an IRWIN VISE-GRIP custom-branded chopper valued at $25,000 built by East Coast Custom Cycles.

“As a lifelong fan of IRWIN VISE-GRIP tools, I’m thrilled to be selected as the winner of the ‘Tell Us Your VISE-GRIP Story’ contest,” said Dr. Fox. “IRWIN VISE-GRIP tools allowed me to save lives on the battlefield, and I firmly believe that VISE-GRIP tools are the most reliable and durable tools available. If you can’t fix it with VISE-GRIP tools, duct tape and a bigger hammer – it can’t be fixed.”

“IRWIN’s ‘Tell Us Your VISE-GRIP Story’ showed us the creative ways our loyalists use their VISE-GRIP tools outside of traditional workshop functions. Bryan’s emergency battlefield spine surgery story serves as a great example of how our fans use the product in inventive ways to solve a variety of challenges every day,” said Curt Weber, director of product marketing for IRWIN Industrial Tools. “We are excited to reward Bryan for his commitment to serving others and his loyalty to IRWIN.”

For years, IRWIN has received hundreds of unsolicited stories from professional tradesmen, contractors and do-it-yourselfers about the unique ways they’ve used a VISE-GRIP product outside of its traditional use to solve various problems either in a pinch or as a permanent solution. From July-October 2008, consumers were asked to share the different and exceptional ways they have used VISE-GRIP locking pliers or wrenches to solve various problems in the workplace or at home.

IRWIN received more than 850 stories describing how consumers used VISE-GRIP tools in different situations ranging from spine surgery to car repair during the “Tell Us Your VISE-GRIP Story” promotion. Fifty submissions were selected as finalists and consumers voted to select the best three entries. The winner was selected from the top three finalists by a panel of judges made up of industry experts in education, training, retail, motorsports and manufacturing.

The other finalists for the “Tell Us Your Vise-Grip Story” promotion were Paul Schraps of San Rafael, Calif., and Paul Smith of Valley Center, Calif., who won second and third place, respectively. Schraps shared how he held his truck’s exhaust system together while driving his mother to receive cancer treatments in Mexico. Those same VISE-GRIP locking pliers are still holding Schraps’ exhaust system together 28 years later. Smith lost a brake line during the grueling Baja 500, and he used his VISE-GRIP locking pliers to maintain power on his remaining brakes to finish the difficult race.

Schraps was awarded a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card for his second place entry and Smith received a $500 Cabela’s gift card for his third place entry. All three finalists received an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas where the grand prize was awarded.

The VISE-GRIP Locking Tool was invented in 1924 by William Petersen, a Danish immigrant and blacksmith in DeWitt, Neb. Today, as a result of innovation and product development at IRWIN, the VISE-GRIP brand leads the market with a variety of innovative pliers, wrenches and tools for specialty jobs, making it the most widely owned brand of hand tools by working professionals in the United States.  

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