“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away."
I founded Chummy Vet Apparel because I agree with Mr. Franklin. Laughter is the underappreciated medicine we as humans, especially Veterans, can benefit from. There is an outright ridiculousness the Veteran has to ponder functioning in the two worlds of the battlefield and the home front - and laughter ought to be as natural an emotion as all the others to characterize those starkly different realities of war and peace.
You will notice in my designs, I am putting deployment life into everyone else's everyday life - not the other way around. I grew up an Army brat and commissioned into the Army via West Point's Class of 2005. I spent 40 months between Iraq and Afghanistan with most of that time with the 2nd and 4th Infantry divisions at the height of both Surges. I left the service after nearly 10 years, eager to spend some time with my wife, who was in her final assignment with the Air Force.
During my rough transition to civilian life, I struggled to put a lot of my deployment experiences into perspective. Really for the first time in my life, I was away from the military community. Away from the laughter, support, and energy of Soldiers.
Through this company, I have re-encountered the ordinarily 'extraordinary' stories of veterans and the families who support them. For me, personally, it is connection that makes me feel whole.
And Veterans are funny people!
In a day and age where Hollywood and political-hype seem to categorize Veterans to a monolith, I find Veterans are dying to crack a joke.
In need of some perspective? I often find myself rereading these two articles: My First Customer and Mad Dog McDow. These Veterans joked openly with me as they told me their harrowing stories. If Karl Beilby and Rick McDow can laugh out loud sharing with me of their wartime experiences, I have no excuse.
I also share Ordinarily Extraordinary Vets which are short write-ups of Chummy Vets sportin' the apparel.
Laughter goes hand in hand with community, and it is often the first that leads most naturally to the second. There are a lot of veterans out there that could use more of both. If this apparel helps veterans recognize each other in this crazy world of hot yoga, fun runs, and wanderlusts - ChummyVet will have been worth it.
Thanks for checking this store out. Have a blessed day.
OIF 06-08, OEF 09-10 & 13-14