Nightly News | January 04, 2013
>>> finally tonight, one man's mission to make a big difference in the lives of tens of thousands of american troops in afghanistan and other conflict zones. this former mortgage broker from oakland , california has found a way to get them equipment and other things they need quickly and directly, without going to the military. nbc's mike taibbi has his story tonight.
>> reporter: you won't see aaron nearborn featured in one of the pentagon's recruiting commercials.
>> boxing those up, getting those out today.
>> reporter: but what he has been doing for two years in this vast, unheated warehouse in oakland , california, has provided crucial supplies for thousands of men and women in uniform and in harm's way. trauma kits and stretchers. ballistic eye protection . and tarps to repair ripped tents. spare parts for a failing generator that would have taken months for the regular supply chain to provide.
>> this generator powers their communications, their intelligence, their daily operations, everything. we're literally able to ship it to them within 72 hours .
>> reporter: it all started when one of nearborn's marine pals deployed to afghanistan and asked for some needed items. nearborn sent them. word got around through e-mails and a new website there was an outfit called troops direct that could bypass the usual military red tape and get you what you and your unit needed pronto. nearborn had had shipped plumbing supplies for clothes washers and hot showers.
>> it's really nice to be able to take a hot shower, especially with the weather here.
>> reporter: there have been scores of thank you e-mails saying the volunteer workers and suppliers had saved lives. but in a way, he has been a sort of don't ask, don't tell, corner master.
>> we have never picked up the phone and called the pentagon and said hey, here's what we're doing and how we're doing it.
>> reporter: and they have never picked up the phone and called you.
>> no, they have not.
>> reporter: nearborn is on duty 24/7.
>> we don't know what the neck request is going to be.
>> reporter: 15 tons of supplies already shipped. more on the way. mike taibbi , nbc news, oakland .