How awareness ribbons help us heal and hope

A lot of my day is spend discussing the dreams, goals, and the passions of my customers. Lapel pins are not a product like pencils, printer paper or file folders. They aren’t a necessity per say. When someone calls me to discuss a pin project, it’s a labor of love, whether that’s to recognize hard-working employees or to remember a fallen loved one with awareness ribbons. There’s sentiment in every pin order, and I’m always glad to be a part of that creative process. But rarely, if ever, does my involvement in a lapel pin last longer than the process of having it made. Then it goes out into the world and does its magic without me.

But sometimes the projects I help bring to life stay with me, and I stay with them, and those are the truly wonderful experiences that make my job one I love. One in particular deals with awareness ribbons. I received a call just about this time 2 years ago from a gentleman who was part of the community dealing with the horrifying, devastating loss of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They were victims of a school shooting, and it was a story that had sobered the entire country, especially so close to Christmas.

What started out as a way to help his community heal, especially the family of one the victims, has turned into something so much more. Little green awareness ribbons proclaiming “Remember Chase” have found their way all over the country, and all over the world, and from that response has grown a charity. This charity supports health and wellness programs aimed at young children, which is a reflection of the passions that Chase had for sports and teamwork. These little awareness ribbons have built not only a legacy for one little boy who’s life was cut short, but they’ve also built futures for other children; hope and promise that might otherwise not exist.

On top of that, the gentleman who instigated this whole thing has become a very dear friend to myself and the entire PinMart team. He even made the long trek from Connecticut to Chicago to thank us in person for our help with the pins. That is a day that none of us here at PinMart will ever forget.

I never met Chase, unfortunately, but I think of him every day. I think about  good that one little pin has done, in response to an act of senseless violence. I’ve been given my own sense of hope from this project, restored faith in humanity, and for that I’m grateful.

So as the 2nd anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings approaches, do all the things they tell you to do in response to situations like this: hug your kids, your loved ones, do something nice for a stranger, donate to a charity. And just remember, for all the horrible things that happen in this world, there’s a man like my friend out there to counteract that with love, hope, and lapel pins.

Visit the Chase Kowalski Fund to donate, educate, and participate.

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