Off to Boot Camp | Going Away Present

Have you ever had a lump in your throat and eyes get watery with hot tears? That’s exactly what happened to me when I read an invitation to attend a surprise party for Jonathan before he goes off to boot camp.

Jonathan's Birthday Celebration

Jonathan’s Birthday Celebration

Many years ago when our children were little, the Ridge family moved in next door. Cindy was pregnant and within days of being our new neighbors, Jonathan was born.

He was always the baby of our neighborhood block and his siblings, Jayson, Jenifer, and Justin became my children’s best friends.

“Jon,” as we call him, turned 22 years old in September, and all he has ever wanted was to be in the military. As a kid, his birthday cakes were decorated with army men, tanks and trucks. Now the time has come.

Our families have stayed close even though we have not been neighbors for years. When I read the party invitation, it was like my own child had grown up and became a man overnight. How does that happen?!

I wanted to give him a special thoughtful heartful gift from the Drew family. I researched what people can take to boot camp. Well… it isn’t much! One change of clothes, direct deposit form, picture ID, two plain towels, personal hygiene kit, stationery and stamps, and a few optional items like shower shoes. That’s it!


Sword & Plough

Now what? How do I turn one of these items into a thoughtful heartful gift? I’m totally stumped!

Lucky me, I have this wonderful guardian angel who is always with me. While reading the news on the Internet, an article popped up of two sisters from a military family who started the Sword & Plough company. They create bags and other accessories from repurposed military surplus that was often thrown away or burned.

I was intrigued and went to their website and found the PERFECT gift – a Dopp Kit designed for all your toiletries. The kit is made out of recycled Army tents – Jon’s favorite branch of service. My guardian angel did it again!

Sword & Plough’s name comes from the biblical phrase to “turn swords into plough shares” from the Book of Isaiah. For the sisters, Emily and Betsy Nunez, it means re-adapting military technology for a peaceful civilian purpose and hiring veterans. Repurposed for a Purpose is the company’s social mission.  I loved it!

I felt another lump in my throat and my eyes got watery with hot tears again as I purchased the Dopp Kit bag for Jon. It gave me a sense of patriotism by supporting our veterans.

It excited me that I found Jon a going away gift made from Army Strong materials. We are extremely proud of the “baby” that has grown up to follow his dream and be of service to our great country these United States of America!

“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”  – George S. Patton Jr.


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