Army Ranger Uses Fashion For Freedom
Matthew "Griff" Griffin is a Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the 75th Ranger Regiment as a Rifle Company Fire Support Officer with three tours to Afghanistan and one tour to Iraq.
Despite his years of training and a built up perception of what serving in a foreign country would be like, Griff’s perspective was challenged on his first deployment as soon as his boots hit the ground.
“Within the first two days of being in Afghanistan I really needed to work my empathy muscles because it is the most impoverished place I have ever seen in my entire life.” After seeing the destruction and devastation that occurred in the nations he fought in, Griff began to notice that there were areas where business was thriving because they had security and savvy business leaders.
One day while touring in Kabul, Afghanistan, he came across a combat boot factory.
“I saw combat boots sold with a flip flop thong punched through it, and that was it!” he recalled.
“I thought we could take the ‘swords to ploughshares’ mentality and turn military capacity to manufacture tools for war and employ people to make products for peace and that’s how we started Combat Flip Flops.” Griff approached military vet Donald Lee and his brother in law, Andy Sewrey, and set about creating this real solution for helping the people of Afghanistan.
Their mission is to create peaceful, forward-thinking opportunities for self-determined entrepreneurs affected by conflict to help sustain, support themselves, and create community connections.
Combat Flips Flops employs the individuals in war torn countries so they can independently thrive while they cooperatively work toward stability and peace through trade.
Griff and his small team of people is making a real impact.
See how their efforts are putting little girls to school, clearing land mines, and supporting veteran’s charities to make these war torn areas livable again.
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