During the summer months, I interned with the Red Cross communications team in Dallas. It was a great experience as I was able to tie my appreciation for nonprofits with my aspirations of becoming a public relations professional. Even better, I was able to connect my internship with another favorite nonprofit of mine, Boot Campaign.
Boot Campaign is a nonprofit organization created in Texas and serves as an outlet to show appreciation for our troops, and raise awareness and funds to help troops with challenges they face when returning home. All this is done by simply “getting your boots on.”
When I spoke to the communications team about Boot Campaign, they immediately suggested I get our regional CEO, T.D. Smyers, involved. Intrigued, I found his biography on the Red Cross website. Wow. T.D. was a four-year track letterman at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, earned multiple awards and began a career in naval aviation, eventually leading to his reception of the Legion of Merit for his leadership of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. In 2009, the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the Red Cross recognized Smyers as the Military Member of the Year.
In addition to his military success, he holds degrees from Annapolis and the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
T.D. talked to me each time he walked by my desk, offering a friendly smile and a hello. I took the opportunity to explain my desire to photograph him in a pair of Boot Campaign military boots and how he could help this organization.
Taking the photos was great. He was intrigued to learn more about Boot Campaign’s mission and how wearing boots was helping. After the completion of the photos, he bought the boots!
Bringing it full-circle, Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces also provides military members and their families with various outlets of support. Red Cross links military families during emergencies, provides emergency financial assistance and resiliency training, supports wounded warriors and military hospitals, and more.
Want to help both organizations? Here are some ideas to get started!
- Buy Boot Campaign boots! In addition to the money benefiting the organization, they are a great way to spark a conversation when people are confused as to why you are wearing military boots with civilian clothes.
- Volunteer for the Red Cross while wearing your boots. Take it a step further and become a Service to the Armed Forces volunteer!
- Donate blood to the Red Cross in boots. Considering donating this Veteran's Day, in honor of those who have served our country!
For more information about Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, visit redcross.org. Join T.D. at the Veteran's Day Parade in Fort Worth on Monday starting at 10am.