Nick Mendoza is one man who is proud of the fact that he can sew. He's no seamstress though -- he's a U.S. Navy sailor, stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
The Intelligence Specialist bleeds military. It's the reason for the Singer sewing machine in his living room in New Port Richey.
"I dedicated this to all intelligence specialists," Petty Officer Mendoza said, showing FOX 13 a black and red bracelet he handcrafted.
The 32-year-old started Bands For Arms in 2009. He and an army of volunteers make and sell bracelets to raise money for non-profit military organizations, like the U.S.O. Bands For Arms also donates part of its proceeds to special causes, like autism awareness.
Every bracelet has a name. Every bracelet has a story.
"This is a Coast Guard type bracelet," Mendoza explained. "This was for the four pilots that were killed in Mobile Bay, Alabama."
The bracelet's orange fabric is from the uniform of one of those Coast Guard pilots. In fact, every single Band For Arms bracelet is made from part of a donated military uniform. Mendoza sometimes adds color and flare. If you look closely, you'll always find that piece of a U.S. service member.
"These were actually worn during the Battle of the Bulge, so I created the Battle of the Bulge bracelet out of these," he said.
Mendoza recently made a very special bracelet. The Innocence Bracelet honors the children and adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last month. Mendoza personally presented a $10,500 check to the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department.
Mendoza says the trip to Newtown was heartbreaking.
He's already gone through one sewing machine. It made thousands of bracelets before it finally gave out.
But this sailor keeps on stitching.
The bracelets cost $5 - $15. Mendoza says half the proceeds are donated. The rest cover the cost of fabric, shipping, and other expenses.
Mendoza says Bands For Arms has donated more than $160,000 to organizations and charities.
For more information: http://www.bandsforarms.com/
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?