While on active duty onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2015, aviation mechanic and Boots For Troops founder Jimmy Wayne Rogers noticed a need. His fellow crewmen were often lonely and missing the comforts of home, and when care packages came, they were often filled with poor quality items or things they didn’t need. Although sent by caring individuals, there was nothing personal about the packages that really touched each person’s heart.
Jimmy knew there had to be a better way. So, while still aboard ship, he launched a GoFundMe campaign that was the start of Boots For Troops. Shortly thereafter, his fiancée (now wife) Lindsey helped him file the necessary paperwork in their home state of Texas to establish BFT as a 501c3 charity, and thus began their new mission.
“I wanted to make getting a care package an exciting moment for each service member,” says Jimmy. “Every care package we send is customized to each recipient, and what makes us unique is that they all contain a pair of boots.”
That customization and included footwear is what sets BFT apart from every other company that sends care packages – and it’s also what makes their packages the favorite of troops worldwide.
“This is and will be something that I remember most about my deployment, simply because of the kindness that it exemplifies. I am forever grateful and humbled by this generous gift.” MA2 Angelone
It starts with a simple form on their website that can be filled out by the service member or a third party. After the form is received, Lindsey reaches out to the service member with a more detailed questionnaire to find out additional details – what their needs are, where they’re stationed, and some personal background information. This is where the service member provides a link to the boots they want.
Due to their popularity, requests are coming in faster than the BFT team can fulfill them.
“Typically, we’ll fill the orders first based on need, and then it’s first come, first serve,” Lindsey tells us. “Once we’ve selected an order, it usually takes us about two weeks to source the items, pack it all up, and get it shipped out.”
Locating all of the items for a care package can be quite time-consuming, particularly for unusual requests. BFT keeps some of the most commonly requested items on hand, such as beef jerky and mixed nuts, but everything else is purchased just to fill a specific order. Whether it’s a jersey from a favorite sports team, a watch, or cookies from their hometown bakery, Lindsey and Jimmy work hard to locate these special items for every shipment.
Jimmy recalls a recent shipment that wasn’t just for the Sergeant it was sent to.
“We had a soldier stationed at Camp Lemonnier in Africa request a football and some games for the kids. The morale boost for the Sergeant was exactly why we exist.”
Another facet of Boots For Troops is their holiday and emergency travel assistance program. Knowing that many deployed men and women are unable to afford the cost of travel home to see loved ones during the holidays, BFT offers funding to aid with that expense. To date, they have covered 74 trips for deserving service members!
With 20-30 packages going out each month averaging around $300 each, and 30-35 travel requests each year, Boots For Troops is continually on the hunt for funding and donations. Some packages are sponsored by families or individuals, while others are covered by corporate sponsors and private donors. US Patriot is proud to support Boots For Troops by offering discounts on boots and other items requested by the troops.
Jimmy and Lindsey have worked hard for over three years to make Jimmy’s vision a reality. With over 545 personalized care packages sent out since 2015, they’ve put smiles on the faces of hundreds of troops all over the world.
If you want to contribute to this worthy organization, you can join their monthly donor program, the Support Squad, for as little as $10 a month, or send a one-time donation here. Corporate sponsors also play a key supporting role, with several local businesses providing funding. Boots For Troops also has an annual fundraising gala. This year’s event is the third annual Concert in the Country on October 27th in Magnolia, TX.
For more information about Boots For Troops, visit their website at www.boots4troops.org or contact them at 281-789-7567.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.