Fred Lewis gets candid about what fans can expect in the upcoming season of ‘Gold Rush’ and what inspires him to include veterans in his crew.
This season in particular has been a struggle for Lewis as there were a lot of unforeseen issues that were out of their control. He told Fox News Digital that this year had “a lot of battles” and “it wasn’t just one thing” but it was all “thrown at (them)”.
“We have a big supply chain problem, and we’re talking about everything from big parts for heavy equipment to a small valve from the hardware store. It’s all complicated,” he explained. “This season we opened up the border with Alaska which allowed us to have a bit more supply. But the supply chain is still really messed up right now.”
Another challenge has been the availability and high cost of fuel this year. Lewis said the price was so unpredictable that unless you knew someone in the industry who could advise you on the best time to buy fuel, “you could lose a lot of money.”
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As a former US Army Green Beret, Lewis is no stranger to hard work and manual labor. While he said the training process to become a Green Beret was extremely difficult, he admitted that working as a gold miner is more difficult.
“Gold mining is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s more in the sense that I started a business on national TV, I brought in a band, my friends , who are now counting on me to succeed, and I’m starting a new, brand new chapter. My life in the gold mines,” Lewis said. “Those three things combined are by far the most complicated thing I’ve ever had. never done, but I think that’s what I needed.”
Lewis revealed that one of the reasons he started working with other veterans and recruiting them into his gold mining team was because he knew they would be the kind of people who could handle it. this kind of work. In his view, it takes a specific type of person to work as a gold miner.
“The reason I decided to start working with gold mining veterans was because of the similarities between the military and a deployment for a mining season. It takes a bit of fun,” he said. -he declares. “It’s all off the beaten track, and gold mining, there’s nothing that traditionally goes straight down the line and hits the mark…You need someone who can work 80, 90 plus hours per week, sustained for six months and keep the mentality of not letting everything get you down.”
The ‘Gold Rush’ star has always been committed to giving back to his veteran community, and the positive feedback he received from veterans at the Invictus Games in 2022 inspired him to keep going.
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At the games, he said veterans would come to him, thanking him for his work, detailing one instance in which a veteran called him Robin Hood. He said helping vets was the reason he got on TV, noting there was a bigger plan in place than just having them on TV.
“We want to make gold mining a success,” Lewis explained. “Then we want to get to the point where we can invest the gold we bring into entrepreneurs who want to start businesses, veterans with disabilities, veterans, anyone, really anyone, who wants to help starting a business. It was planning it the whole time I started; I just haven’t gotten there yet.”
Instances of veterans coming up to him and thanking him for all he does for the community are special to him, as he can remember ‘how he felt when (he) was transitioning’ from the military towards civilian life, noting that if he had help, he “would have done much better, but (he) was alone in this process”.
“I think I would also like to help set an example for other veteran-founded companies and how they could start helping vets in different ways because I really feel like that’s something that our country misses,” he said.
Lewis detailed what it was like for him after leaving the military and not really knowing what he wanted to do with his life. He said he immediately returned to his roots and started teaching medicine while attending school.
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He quickly felt the urge to pursue something new and took on teaching biology in high school before eventually turning to web design. Lewis said he was “just trying to search and search”, doing “everything (he) could do to find (himself)” until he struck gold on Parker’s trail.
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“As soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘Whoa, this is something I can do.’ I also wanted to help vets for so long,” he said. “I’ve seen him help other people as well. My transition got me here, but not by plan at all.”
Lewis hopes that through the show, audiences will get to know his team and understand that they are real people living their real lives.
“Obviously we want to show our gold rush, and it’s about gold because gold has to pay for what we do. But what we’re doing up there is we’re creating a bond between brothers and sisters that has been needed in our lives for a very long time,” he said. “I really hope people understand how real this is for us and how much it means to us .”
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The new season of “Gold Rush” airs Fridays on the Discovery Channel.