America Supports You: Soldier's Creativity Colors Troops Lives
By Spc. Kelly Hunt, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORT HOOD, Texas, Dec. 17, 2004 One Texas National Guard soldier said she has found a unique way to support soldiers deployed overseas: Spc. Amy Pinkston is using her talent for making jewelry to raise money for care packages delivered to troops through the United Service Organizations.
Amy Pinkston, founder of Colorbox Creative, designs a
Freedom Bracelet. She sells the bracelets to raise money for care
packages delivered to deployed troops through United Service
Organizations. Photo by Spc. Kelly Hunt, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"My hobby is making bracelets and I wanted to find a way to help my fellow soldiers," Pinkston said. "I combined my hobby with my desire to help them, and came up with the Freedom Bracelet to try and raise money to support our troops."
Pinkston's homemade patriotic Freedom Bracelets are sold through her personal business, Colorbox Creative, and feature red, white and blue Czech glass beads, with an optional sterling silver awareness ribbon charm.
The bracelets are made for adults and children and also come as an ankle bracelet. Pinkston can personalize the jewelry by integrating a loved one's name into the design.
"Every little bit of support helps," she explained. "When you're over there and you don't have the ability to go to Wal-Mart for your bag of Cheetos, a care package from home really helps."
For Pinkston, 30, it's all about building and maintaining troops' morale. "In the different units I've been in, if the group's morale is down, the whole thing falls apart," she said. "I think care packages really help. Even in basic training, if you get that little piece of mail, it helps you get through."
Pinkston, a Medford, Wisc., native, chose to support troops through Operation USO Care Packages because of the high reputation of the organization. "The USO is one of the longest standing military supporters and they support all branches of the military," Pinkston, who served 2 years on active duty, explained.
The USO care packages cost $25 each and with a personal goal of 200 care packages to meet, Pinkston is working hard to accomplish her goal.
"I wait until I've collected enough money and then I'll donate two, four or six care packages at one time," she said. "I want to donate $5,000, so I'll have to sell 1,000 bracelets. Two hundred care packages will hopefully cover a small battalion or a large company."
Pinkston has sold more than 85 Freedom Bracelets since her idea became a reality last July. She said support for her cause is growing slowly, but surely.
"Someone e-mailed me once and said they wouldn't buy a bracelet because they didn't support the war," Pinkston said. "I e-mailed her back and said 'These troops are away from their families and we need to support those soldiers making the sacrifice.'
"They're losing a year or two of their normal lives," she continued. "I know a soldier who will be away for the first two years of his child's life and I think it's so sad when people don't support them.
"We have to support the soldiers who are sacrificing everything so you don't have to," she said.
Pinkston said she will continue working hard to reach her goal as long as soldiers are deployed to Iraq and as long as there is a need to support the troops.
"I'll probably still sell Freedom Bracelets even after I reach my goal," she said. "So long as we have troops over there that need supplies, I'll continue to try my best to get it to them.
"Supporting troops is really my big thing because I know it is hard being over there," Pinkston said. "The important thing is to help them as much as possible because if they weren't over there, we might all have to get in line."
(Army Spc. Kelly Hunt, assigned to the 4th Public Affairs Detachment, reports for the Fort Hood, Texas, Sentinel.)