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Honor Who Serve
With the war in Iraq approaching four years, Laurie Stearns wanted to do something to show support for the military.
When we hit the four-year mark I wanted to do something, Stearns said. I just dont want people to stop paying attention. Four years is a long time.
Stearns, of Silverdale, grew up in a military family. Her father was in the Navy, so she lived a good part of her life amongst sailors in San Diego.
In February, Stearns decided to make bracelets similar to Lance Armstrongs LIVESTRONG bracelets supporting cancer research.
I did research on the LIVESTRONG bracelets and followed what they did, Stearns said.
She began contacting companies with her idea and was turned down. She wanted to print the American flag on the bracelets, but the companies refused. Finally, she contacted Wristband Connections in Houston.
I just thought she had a tremendous idea, said Victor Rey, president of Wristband Connections. When someone like that comes along with great ideas, we want to work with them.
Stearns, delighted that Rey loved her idea, began designing the bracelets. The multi-color bracelets say Honor Who Serve. An American flag is printed next to the slogan.
You can actually see all 50 stars under a magnifying glass, Rey said. We have amazing manufacturers.
Stearns placed the first order for the bracelets Feb. 28. She received the first shipment of bracelets March 16.
It was pretty cool, pretty exciting, Stearns said with a smile.
She has sold or given away nearly 200 bracelets.
Ive given out more than Ive sold, Stearns said. Just to get them out there.
Stearns hopes to sell one million bracelets across the country.
Thats just a drop in the bucket when you think of the whole United States, she said.
Bracelets cost $1 each and key rings cost $3. A minimum of 10 products must be purchased for shipping. Small orders are shipped in less than a week, but larger orders may take four-six weeks.Stearns keeps 2,000 bracelets on- hand, ready to be distributed.
If someone said ship me one, Im sure Ill ship it, Stearns said.
Stearns continues to have close ties to the military. She manages the Admiral Boorda Youth & Teen Center on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. The youth and teen center is affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club of America.
I deal with military kids everyday and absolutely love my job, Stearns said. Having my job makes me a better person.
She has yet to decide where to donate the profits from the Honor Who Serve bracelets. She has a few military organizations in mind, one strictly for children of service men and women.
I have done a little bit of research on where I want the profits to go, she said.
Bracelets and key rings can be purchased online at www.wristbandconnection.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Laurie Stearns Founder/Honor Who Serve. Personalized bracelets in honor of loved ones can be made online. Rey hopes to have that option available in two-three weeks.