What always gets me the most when I look at pictures of Veterans during their service, is that in the photos that are planned, ie, not during battle, so many of them are accompanied with big grins, hands raised in greeting, and in photos with more than one solider, a very clear sense of comradery, and even joy, shining out of the photos. These are the men and women who literally put their lives on the line so that someone like me can sit and type up blog entries at my comfy job, with no fear of attack, or restrictions on my personal freedoms. And they just BEAM out of those photos.

One such photo was donated to us by PinMart’s lead graphic designer, Genni. Her father was a member of the US Navy back in the 1960’s and the photos she has shared with me all seem to have that same sense of joy in them. That he could be so cheerful in a job that posed great risk to his life and in locations far away from home astounds and impresses me more than I can say.

VeteranDad 11-11

George Rowe outside the Waccamaw in the early 1960’s while serving in the U.S. Navy

That our veterans did their job, and today’s soldiers continue this work, with such purpose and pride, as well as genuine happiness, fraternity and joy, makes me so proud of all they’ve done for our country, and continue to do now at home. Whether that’s working with the VA, other charities, or just as parents or grandparents, helping shape the next generations.

For all you’ve done and continue to do for this country, PinMart wants to thank each and every Veteran, past, present, and future. THANK YOU! We value your service so greatly.

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Halloween it up, no matter how old you are!

Halloween has always been just about my favorite holiday. As a little kid it was about going outside after dark and seeing the neighborhood transformed. It was, obviously, also about the copious amounts of candy that one could bring in in a single evening. But as I got older it became much more about the dress up. I loved the idea of getting to go out in public dressed to the furthest extent of my imagination (and my crafting skills) and seeing everyone else’s creative attempts.

Now, as an adult, it’s not really possible to go all out on Halloween, at least not during the day, what with working in a professional atmosphere. But much like my focus changed from candy to crafting as I grew up, my focus just needed to change again from dressing up myself to dressing up my office, and still adorning myself in work-appropriate ways.

Considering Halloween is a very unique, DIY holiday, it allows for everyone to 10091 (1)celebrate exactly how they want, without needing to adhere to anyone else’s idea of Halloween. So some people put pumpkins and scarecrows up in their cube, others deck their corners out with fake cobwebs and macabre grinning skeletons. Candy is handed out and shared, and there is pumpkin-flavored coffee in the break room.

As for dressing up ourselves, wearing orange and black is a great idea and lets you be festive without breaking business casual clothing guidelines. Halloween accessories are where it is at, really. Earrings, novelty socks and ties, and most certainly, spooky Halloween lapel pins can keep this holiday special without creating awkward conversations in the break room about, say, how you manage to keep the fake blood pouring out of the axe wound in your chest from getting on your keyboard. Or the equally awkward experience of trying to wiggle out of eight spider legs or your Wonder Woman leotard every time you need to use the restroom. Now THAT is scary.

Happy Halloween!

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Stories of Military Survival: Some Films and some Should-Be Films

In movies, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of military survival. Early this year, the movie Lone Survivor was released, and audiences reacted positively to the gripping true story. The movie details the account of Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell who, along with three other Navy Seals, was dropped behind enemy lines in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The Seals’ mission becomes compromised when their location is stumbled upon by local Afghan goat-herders. The team of four had to decide whether to kill unarmed non-combatants or release them, knowing that they might notify the enemy of the Seals’ presence on the mountain. Sure enough, upon the shepherds’ release the Taliban were notified and began hunting in numbers vastly outnumbering the Navy Seals. The movie goes beyond the hunt and firefights and delves into the depths of the human character and what man is capable of doing to survive.
The 2014 movie season will end with another story of incredible survival during warfare. In December, the movie Unbroken will be released, detailing the legendary life of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was an Olympic track star in the 1936 “Hitler” Olympics held in Nazi Germany. During World War II, he served on a bomber that crashed into the Pacific challengecoinsOcean. He was ultimately captured by the Japanese and forced to endure excruciating and inhumane treatment that would break any normal man mentally or physically.
These stories of survival on the big screen remind us of the sacrifices and heroism that men in uniform serving the country have made over time. Another story, which has yet to make it to film (but which probably should have), is the history of the first challenge coins. During World War I, men of various backgrounds volunteered to serve and were drafted. A wealthy member of an air battalion had coins made with the group’s insignia. He passed them out to the members of the squadron and one pilot placed his coin in a pouch around his neck. The pilot was shot down behind enemy lines, yet successfully maneuvered his way through the enemy territory and back into France.
Unfortunately for him, he was captured by a group of soldiers who suspected he was an enemy saboteur posing as a civilian. With no papers to identify himself, the American was about to be executed when he asked his captors to observe the coin around his neck. One of the Frenchmen recognized the flying squadron insignia and the American was released and survived to tell his remarkable story. The term challenge coin was used because members of the military could ask for their coin to be produced to prove membership in a specific unit or branch of the armed services. Challenge coins became popular among members of the military and are still used today as a symbol of pride and membership for a particular group or organization.
Today, these coins can actually be personalized to reflect membership in any organization or military operation out there, but the sense of pride is still there. And these stories of military survival exemplify the courage of the men and women who serve every day for their country.

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Cancer Awareness – Who Knew that Ribbons could Help Save Lives?

Nearly every family is touched by cancer in some way. Roughly half of all men and a third of all women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives and, for those not directly impacted, there will be a relative or friend who is stricken with the disease. Though scientists are working tirelessly to find cures for the various forms of cancer, they have not yet found success.
Still, there is a lot of cause for hope, as treatments are improving and being created every694 day and awareness is at an all-time high. Indeed, for most of us who are not doctors or scientists, raising awareness and funding is just about the best thing that we can do to help the cause.
In every community there are people working in the name of cancer awareness. There are schools and groups that hold Relay for Life fundraisers, which are very powerful and moving events. In them, participants raise money (pledged by sponsors) by walking various distances. They may participate individually or they may form a team that walks in the name of a person diagnosed with cancer. The names of the cancer victims or survivors are written on luminaries that ring the walkway. This is a beautiful event that unites people touched by cancer directly or indirectly.
Another popular way to get people involved, raise some money, and spread the word is through the use of cancer awareness ribbons. These days, most people have seen these ribbons in a lot of places – on signs, TV ads, cereal boxes, and even in sports stadiums – and there is a reason for that. The more that people are aware of the need for research, treatments, and screenings, the more these people will make the right decisions about their own health and well-being.
Many cancer awareness products are easy to wear, can be designed with specific messages, and can be made in an array of colors and sizes. This is an easy and simple way to spread any message in the fight against cancer. The ribbons can be sold to raise money in support of an individual battling cancer, their family, or for an organization or group involved in the struggle. Cancer awareness ribbons can also send positive messages of hope for those touched by the disease.
In the fight against cancer, awareness, funding, and hope can go a long way. PinMart carries an array of pins designed to highlight this worthy issue.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Infographic

Breast Cancer Awareness Infographic

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4 Ways to Raise Awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October, millions of Americans attend awareness events and fundraisers around the country to increase awareness and raise money for breast cancer research. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Despite these startling statistics, many women can survive breast cancer if it’s detected and treated early on. But, while most people are aware of breast cancer, few know how to detect the disease early on.

So, how can you help increase awareness and fundraise for breast cancer?

• Know the facts – The first step to increasing awareness for breast cancer is educating yourself about the disease. Inform yourself about statistics, symptoms and breast cancer foundations, so that you can spread knowledge about the cause and know where to donate.

• Encourage early detection – Women who have breast cancer have cancer cells forming in the tissues of their breast. The damaged cells can spread to the surrounding tissue. But, by detecting and treating the cancer early on, many women can survive and continue living a normal life. Based on their age and health history, all women should get screened for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends women over age 40 undergo mammograms and clinical breast exams annually. Women in their 20s and 30s should get a clinical breast exam every three years. Once women reach their 20s, they should routinely conduct breast self-exams. Encourage your friends and family to consult with their doctor about a screening.

• Fundraise – Participate in an awareness event or race in your community. These events1510 are a great way to raise awareness and fundraise for the cause. The money you raise will to a foundation or charity aimed at finding a cure and providing mammograms and support services to women in need.

• Wear pink – Pink is the universal color for breast cancer. During the month of October, people all over the country will be showing their support by wearing pink shirts, breast cancer bracelets or pins. Sports teams show their support by wearing pink uniforms or displaying pink ribbons on their jerseys. Show your support for the cause by wearing breast cancer awareness items and encourage others to do the same.

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Tips For Planning The Best Awareness and Charity Campaign

Tips For Planning The Best Awareness and Charity Campaign

Do you want to do something to help a cause that you feel passionate about? If so, you aren’t alone. According to a study done by The Nonprofit Almanac and CNN, 70% of Americans give to charity each year and estimate that $666.1 billion is contributed to the country’s economy by non-profits. An awareness campaign can be helpful for educating others and furthering your cause, regardless of what it may be. Some people that are new to charity and event planning may be a little worried about planning their own awareness raising event, but with the right planning and resources you can have something great. When you’re planning your next awareness raising or cause oriented event, make sure you follow the below tips.

Timing is everything

Are you passionate about raising awareness for breast cancer? If so, you may want to hold your awareness event in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Do you want to raise money to help support our troops or veterans? Hold your event around Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or the Fourth of July. Good timing can help make a difference between your event having a modest turn out to a lot of participation. See if there are any awareness months or weeks in the future, and plan around them.

Reach out locally

Do you have a favorite restaurant you like to eat at? Are you familiar with employees at some popular local businesses? These businesses may be willing to help sponsor your event. As we mentioned previously, there are a lot of people out there that want to give to 2981charity and help others. Getting the right sponsorships can help provide food, prizes, or just plain old cash donations and helping hands. When you’re planning your event make a few phone calls and send a few e-mails. You never know who will be interested.

To get to the big picture, look at the little things

You have a big event planned out in your mind, but you have no idea how to make it reality. If you’re feeling stumped or overwhelmed planning wise, try to think about things on a smaller scale. Lets say you want your event guests to have something to take home, but you don’t know how to start planning. Reach out for donations of cash or prizes from local businesses for a raffle, and think about getting awareness pins or bracelets to give attendants. Once you think about things on a small scale, planning gets a lot easier.

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Three Easy Steps for Happy Employees

If you had to take a guess about how happy your employees are working for you, how happy would you say they are? Many reading this would say their employees and co-workers have never been happier, but their thoughts and opinions on worker happiness is essentially wrong. According to a study done by Right Management and the staffing firm Manpower Group, only 19% of currently employed workers are happy with their job.

We know what some of you may be thinking. Work isn’t supposed to be all fun and games, work is just supposed to be work! The real problem is that unhappy employees aren’t just miserable, they’re also making everyone else’s job miserable. Unhappy workers aren’t productive, motivated, or innovative, and their feelings tend to spread around the office. If you want to make your employees happy, you don’t have to do anything crazy. Follow these tips to bring the happiness back into your office.

Give them new responsibilities

This may sound like just giving your employee more work to do, but it goes much deeper than that. Would you be happy doing the same thing over and over again during the day? You have a variety of people employed that all have their own unique skills and abilities. Allow them to step outside of their office role/comfort zone and take on new tasks and responsibilities that they’re interested in. Nobody is happy if they feel like they’re stagnant, and a new role or project could be what they need to stay happy.

Offer praise

Sometimes employees are unhappy because they feel like they’re ignored or under appreciated. When was the last time you’ve told somebody that you’re happy with their work? If you don’t tell them, they won’t be able to know about it. Make sure that you 794tell them whenever you’re happy with what they’re doing. Sometimes a few kind words can go a long way at the office, and some small tokens of appreciation can do wonders for motivation. A simple lapel pin that can be awarded to the best employee in a department can do a lot to motivate your employees and help keep them happy.

Make yourself available

When was the last time you’ve had one on one time with an employee? Are you the kind of boss that is there with them in the morning and until they leave, or do you just breeze in and out of the office? Absentee bosses don’t do any good to help employee happiness, and if you’ve been neglecting your management and boss duties your employees will notice and wonder where you are. Make yourself available to your employees, but don’t expect them to take the first step. Reach out to them and start seeing them on your own time. Once you open up to them they’ll be more than happy to do the same for you.

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Constitution Day Celebrations

Guess who’s 227 years old today? Our American Constitution! And since 1911 our country has been celebrating this day in a multitude of ways. Teachers will spend the whole week around September 17th teaching students about this important document, and how it is truly a living, breathing document with current ramifications upon our 21st century lives. And if you’re no longer in school, but still want to take part in Constitution Day/Week, there are a lot of ways to do that!

Check out your local library or community center. See if anything is going on that’s related to the celebration. Many local communities have a reading of the Constitution, along with festivities at local government buildings. It’s a great way to experience the Constitution, with those in your own community, and to meet local government officials.

Other festivities that are going on over the country include historical reenactments of the99 signing of the Constitution, which brings to life the culture and the structure of society at the time it was signed. Also, many government buildings will be handing out printed versions of the Constitution along with small tokens of patriotism like American flag lapel pins or other patriotic lapel pins depicting iconic American imagery.

High schools sometimes perform patriotic displays from the dance or cheer-leading squads, and non-profits sometimes pick days and weeks like this to push information on getting out the vote for local elections and other local business.

However you do it, take a moment to celebrate Constitution day! Whether it’s by reading the Constitution, wearing patriotic lapel pins, or registering to vote. It may not be as flashy as the 4th of July, but in terms of significance, this document is just as important as our independence day, because like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution provides a map of how our government can run, what it can and cannot do, and after 227 years, it is still just as relevant as it was the day it was signed.

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V-Day, Kennedy, the Beatles, the Berlin Wall, 9/11… “Where Were You?”

I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. I had news radio on while I got ready for my college classes, and at first I was sure what I was listening to was a joke, like that old Orson Wells radio drama, The War of the Worlds? I was listening to a really elaborate, not really funny radio gag. Until I finally did go down for that cup of coffee and turned on the TV news. This was no joke.

I didn’t go to any of my classes that day.

Instead I went to my parents’ house and sat with my mother, glued to the TV, clutching coffee cups that did nothing but get cold in our hands as we watched with increasing shock6671 at the aftermath of the first tower being hit, and then witnessing live footage of the second tower’s horrifying demise. Even 13 years on I still remember the looks on the faces of the New Yorkers who were fleeing the area, covered in chalky white dust, their faces just as white beneath it: from fear, from disbelief, from burgeoning grief. For all Americans everywhere, starting in New York city and bleeding out, the world stopped spinning. Like a carousel grinding to a halt.

Today, over a decade removed, I still feel a heaviness on this day. The world according to the US has long since started its motors back up, the gears are all moving together again, moving us forward. But on this day everything slows a little bit still, the memories flood, the sadness over all those lives lost, and lives changed, fills my head. An entire generation is growing up “post-9/11”. An entire generation only knows the world according to terrorist threat ratings and has no memory of the New York skyline with the original Twin Towers standing proud.

But Americans have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. We’ve come back strong from that dark day, and though we’ve stumbled a few times in our attempts to reassert ourselves, we’re definitely standing tall again. We’re amazing that way, and have been since we were just a fledgling collection of colonies, braving the unknown for dreams of a better tomorrow. It’s our neverending dreaming that has not changed in over 300 years.

So on this day, we at PinMart just want to say thank you for all the reasons you purchase our products, because they’re all so very American. From the little league teams buying trading pins, charities using awareness ribbon pins to raise money for cancer, for Fortune 500 companies thanking their employees with gold plated service pins. You help us at PinMart fulfill our desire to keep America great. You inspire us!

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