THE RIPPLE EFFECT: MILITARY SPOUSE EDITION
Sword & Plough utilizes military surplus fabric and veteran-owned and operated manufacturers to make eco-friendly fashionable bags. Then, they donate 10% of profits back to veteran organizations.
Once purchased, the impact of your Sword & Plough product creates a ripple effect that supports veteran employment, sustainability, and veterans in need of assistance. The impact continues on to the Brand Champions which is a team that consists of military spouses, veterans, military family members, and loyal customers. Sword & Plough purchases support relatable, real people. Today, we hear from a military spouse Brand Champion, Jamie Sheaffer.
Tell us about yourself: My name is Jamie and I am an active duty military spouse and mother to a young, active little boy. My family and I currently live in Texas. I am attending graduate school to earn my master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and love the idea of working with veterans someday.
What is the biggest lesson learned from being a military spouse?: The first time my husband deployed to Afghanistan, I had a very difficult time adjusting. I was depressed and rarely would go outside of my apartment. Life became a boring, monotonous cycle and I was just clinging on for the moment my husband would return. This was no way to live; I had only just survived the deployment.
The second deployment drew close and I cringed at the idea of another round of that depressive, unrecognizable state of being. Upon doing some real, intuitive thinking, I had my greatest realization to date. I have a choice. For deployment #2, I could choose to let depression control my life once again or I could consciously turn negative thoughts into deployment perks. The inevitable flat tire was an opportunity to try something new and use fix a flat for the first time. This lesson has profoundly impacted my ability to raise my son, PCS, attend and excel in graduate school, and thrive in challenging situations. I will be implementing this approach throughout my education and my career.
“I had my greatest realization to date. I have a choice. For deployment #2, I could choose to let depression control my life once again or I could consciously turn negative thoughts into deployment perks.”
What is one thing you wish more people knew about being a military spouse?: I wish more people knew about the struggles military spouses face when trying to earn higher education degrees or find employment.
Typically, it is not possible to complete an in-person higher education program before many families have to move again. To overcome this obstacle, I decided to complete the hybrid program at Grand Valley State University. I attend full-time course loads online and fly to Michigan monthly to partake in hands-on learning experiences. To achieve this unique approach, and to reduce costs of childcare, I travel to Michigan with my 1-year-old son and he visits with my family while I attend courses. This non-traditional approach allows me to complete a program without having to worry about graduating prior to our next move.
Other military spouses may find this to be a viable option and I hope my experience will encourage them to seek alternative paths to earning a higher education. I am striving to make a positive impact to promote military spouse employment and higher education.
Why did you want to be a Sword & Plough Brand Champion?: Initially, I wanted to be a Brand Champion to support veteran employment. After a while, I realized that the community of Brand Champions was exactly what I needed.
How has being a Sword & Plough Brand Champion impacted you?: Juggling all of my roles and moving to new places makes it difficult to make new friends and have a sense of community. The Brand Champion program is a community of supportive and passionate members who share common interests. Plus, I get to hear stories from veterans and their spouses when I do events- all truly inspiring and motivating.
What is your absolute favorite Sword & Plough product?: I love my Camo Signature Zip Top Tote! Being as busy as I am, I can fit everything I need into it. Plus, it is super durable- my son had spilled a bottle inside and I was just able to wipe it clean! The durability of our products is exactly what parents need.
Where can people connect with you?: @swordandploughbyjamie.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Sheaffer is an active duty military spouse. She is attending a hybrid graduate school program at Grand Valley State University to earn her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. For her school program, she travels from Texas to Michigan once a month with her 1-year-old son and considers herself to be a travel expert. Of course, she uses her Sword & Plough bags for her trips because they are so durable and practical. She loves being a Lead Brand Champion because she gets to use her creativity to support veteran employment and outreach.