Soldier to Soldier Bracelets available

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on March 08, 2011 with No Comments

by Carl Kurek

With this October marking the 10th year of the war in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, the subject rarely makes headlines anymore. As a result, the fact  veterans of America’s most recent wars are coming home every can be easily overlooked.

One Afghanistan veteran, Stefan Hylleborg, came up with a stylish campaign that allows people to spread awareness about the struggles of returning veterans and raise funds to benefit them. That campaign, From Soldier to Soldier, was launched in December 2010 and is based on the sales of a designer version of a survival bracelet typically worn by many United States and allied soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The real survival bracelets worn by soldiers in the field are braided by the soldiers themselves using their parachute cord. If the situation calls for it, the bracelets can be unraveled and the parachute cord can be used for many purposes and they are also sometimes exchanged among soldiers as friendship bracelets, according to the campaigns Web site.

The site also claims that a uniform button is often sewn on and used as the clasp for the bracelet, and the clasped bracelet is said to symbolize the bond among soldiers that can never be broken. Each knot in the bracelet is sometimes seen as a symbol for a fallen soldier.

Just as silicone wristbands sporting millions of different messages and promoting millions of different causes boomed in popularity just a few years ago, From Soldier to Soldier bracelets are starting to get a reputation of their own and demand is starting to grow.

One local jewelry store decided to make it easier for area residents to add the bracelets to their wardrobe by selling the items from their location. The eState Jewelers Coins & Collectibles store in Portage became only the second location in the state to sell the bracelets on location. The choice to do so was an easy one according to Shannon Burhans of the family owned jewelry store.

“In our community in particular we felt this was something meaningful,” Burhans said referring to the personal connection to soldiers serving overseas that is so common in the area.

“We felt the line is neat, the story behind them is neat, and we felt they would just fit with us. We’re very active in the community and it just fits what we do.”

The price of the bracelets starts at $95 with $25 of that going towards the Homes for our Troops fund. The national not-for-profit organization, which began in 2004, is committed to helping soldiers who have returned home from war with serious disabilities and injuries by ensuring their home is fully accessible to them.

The organization picks up the tab on any costs not covered by the Veterans Administration Specially Adapted Housing Grant to ensure that the home of an injured or disabled veteran returning from action is completely altered for accessibility at no cost to the veteran.

The eState has sold four of the 12 bracelets they originally had at the store, and have several on special order for customers. The bracelets can be custom made according to size and are available in black, sand, navy and camouflage color.

“People have been coming in here for them after seeing them online. Everyone really likes the look of them,” Burhans said.

Customers can even make their bracelets even more unique by choosing a unique style of clasp for the bracelet. While a sterling silver button is normally used as the clasp, a sterling silver heart and a gold plated sterling silver heart are also available. For $145, a sterling silver heart with a small diamond and a gold plated version of the same design can be purchased to add to the uniqueness of the bracelet.

“With the economy the way it is, it just seemed like the right thing to do,” Burhans said. “If you need to get a gift for someone, why not spend it on something like this.”

Burhans said they take pride in the fact they can contribute to such a cause and will continue selling the bracelets as long as the community is buying them. The eState is located at 3101 Willowcreek Road in Portage. For more information, call 219-764-4316, or e-mail theestateinc@aol.com.

For more information about the From Soldier to Soldier campaign or bracelets, visit www.fromsoldiertosoldier.org. For more information or to find out how else to contribute to the efforts of Homes for our Troops, visit www.homesforourtroops.org.

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