What do flip flops, Combat, and helping people rebuild their economy all have in common? Among the many vendors at Salmonfest Seattle in Lake City this past weekend was one that really stood out. Although flip flops are no big deal I kept passing by this booth wondering what it was all about. Not your frilly flip flops but flip flops that looked more heavy duty with a booth manned by well--men. The booth was called Combat with the tagline, “Bad for Running, Worse for Fighting”.
Of course being a Seattle podiatrist, I immediately thought of course flip flops are bad for running, but “Worse for Fighting”? I finally stopped by and spoke to one of the founders, a former Army ranger who had served multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He wanted to do more to help the people left behind in postwar conflicts. From that “Combat” flip flops and other products were born. And it’s not just post war areas that are being helped. Currently their flip flops are manufactured in Bogota, Columbia center of the drug world.
When I came back from the fair I perused their website. They also make Cover and Concealment sarongs for women in Afghanistan, Peacemaker bangles in Laos made from bombs, and are currently doing a crowdsourcing campaign to make cashmere luxury scarves in Afghanistan (part of the funds generated through the cashmere project will go towards funding secondary school for Afghan girls through Aide Afghanistan for Education (AAE).I love it. As the father of a Lieutenant JG in the Coast Guard, I’ve always had a keen interest in hearing stories of Vets who are making a difference in our world.
Rion Berg, DPM
Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City