America Supports You: 'Double Dutch Girl' Jumps Rope for Troops and Veterans
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 9, 2005 Elizabeth Verity, a.k.a. Double Dutch Girl, is jumping rope around America to raise money for charities that aid servicemembers and veterans.
Elizabeth Verity jumps rope in Chicago near the city's waterfront Navy Pier district as part of her project to let the public know how important it is to support the military. She plans to jump across America. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Verity said the unusual nature of her jump-roping activities make it a perfect way to raise public consciousness about the importance of supporting the military, she said.
"Without America's support for the troops, the country is in danger. We need our men and women in uniform, and they need our support. We must all remember that the freedom we enjoy today isn't without a cost," Verity said.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, crystallized Verity's view.
"Before 9/11, I did not give much thought to our safety. Today I realize how different the world is, and how much we need our troops," she said.
Her goal is to raise $1 million by collecting $1 checks written out to various military and veterans' charities. She has dubbed this venture the "One Million One Dollar Check Challenge." However, donors are free to give as much as they like.
"I ask Americans to give to the charities I have listed on my Web site. I realize money can be tight, but if everyone just did a bit, it would make a huge difference," Verity said.
She said she collects the checks, tallies the totals and forwards them to the appropriate charity.
She will keep people apprised of the fund-raising progress by posting updates to her Web site, she said.
Verity has had several family members serve in the military, including her uncle, Franklin Torp, who was a prisoner for more than three years during World War II. The Japanese captured Torp on the island of Java while he was serving with the Army's 131st Field Artillery Regiment.
The 36-year-old Verity says that her rope jumping is nonpartisan. She has no political angle and just wants to support the troops and veterans, she said.
"When I started thinking about this, there was a lot in the news about people's feelings about the war, but not a lot on the troops. It made me feel bad," she said.
"I wanted to jump rope because it is something all Americans can relate to, and perhaps it will bring back a patriotic feeling from when we were kids."
Double Dutch Girl has already jumped rope in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington and several small towns throughout the Midwest. She plans to make her way to more East Coast cities this summer and then continue on to the South and West Coast later this year. Her ultimate goal is to jump rope in all 50 states.
Verity finances her travels out of her own pocket and through sponsorship money.
Technically, the jump rope game of Double Dutch consists of two ropes, two rope twirlers and two jumpers, but because the moniker Double Dutch Girl is so catchy, it serves her purpose of bringing attention to the bravery and sacrifice of American servicemembers, she said.
"I am so thankful that we have men and women who dedicate their lives to making sure we are safe and free," Verity said. "We must not forget their sacrifice and hopefully my jump roping reminds people of this fact."