ValorBANDS are handcrafted bracelets and wrist cuffs made from authentic, donated military uniforms and produced by veterans and military family members. A portion of sales is also donated back to ValorBANDS’ nonprofit arm, Medals of Honor.
In 2011, Amy Cotta, a mom from Franklin, TN, signed her son, Tyler, over to the Marine Corps. It was the proudest and hardest day of her life. After he left for boot camp, Amy searched for a way to feel close to him as she faced the fear and uncertainty that comes with military life during wartime. Amy looked for a fashionable item she could wear to feel connected to her son and show her gratitude for all who serve, but she gave up after finding only cheaply made baubles. However, the idea stuck.
In 2014, Amy founded the national military nonprofit, Medals of Honor, which honors fallen military and the families they leave behind. Medals of Honor hosts special events to help heal the visible and invisible wounds of war for both veterans and surviving family members. What began as a personal project to help comfort families of fallen military grew quickly into a national undertaking. Amy and her husband found themselves funding the initiative on their own, which proved to be unsustainable.
Then, in 2015, Amy came across her father’s old Army unit patch and a pair of her son’s JROTC pants. She realized she could use these materials, and others like them, to make unique bracelets and wrist cuffs to comfort military family members. Every ValorBAND tells the story of the life and service of its donor. Because of the textiles used, each is beautifully flawed and one-of-a-kind.
To help manage both enterprises, Amy brought on a business partner, Sergeant First Class Joseph James (Ret). Joe is a combat wounded warrior who lost both his legs in an IED blast in 2008 in Iraq. Now, it is Amy and Joe’s mission to help give back to the military veteran community by hiring veterans and military family members to help produce ValorBANDS products. In addition, ten percent of ValorBANDS net sales are donated to fund Medals of Honor.
As ValorBANDS continues to grow, they hope to raise awareness about the struggles of veterans and military families who have lost loved ones. They plan to further develop their opportunity employment model by training transitioning veterans to sew the products on a contract basis, to give their employees income, a chance to hone their skills and time to search for and secure full time employment. ValorBANDS believes no veteran should ever be faced with unemployment, hopelessness or becoming homeless. These veterans have faithfully served this country, and ValorBANDS is committed to doing their part in honoring them and their families.