Combat Flip Flops are changing the world one pair of Flip Flops at a time.
I knew something was up when I heard my husband try to get my attention from the other room to confirm flip flop sizes of every member in our family. We typically do not purchase shoes in bulk, I thought to myself.
Plus, it was Fall and we live in New York.
Judging from my husband’s voice, I knew this was not about flip flops.
“You have to watch this TEDx Talk,” my husband said.
I don’t have time right now I thought to myself, but considering I am a big fan of TED talks in general, I put down what I was doing and pulled up a chair.
This 10-minute TEDx talk “The Power of Persistence, Creativity, and Respect” was from Matt Griffin, commonly known as Griff.
Griff is a 2001 graduate of West Point and an Army Ranger. He did several tours in Afghanistan. As true for many of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, he has seen and experienced things most of us never will. In his talk, Griff shared a story about a young girl he encountered in a village in Afghanistan. He reached into his pocket and handed the young Afghan girl a pencil. The girl smiled and then ran off with the pencil. Griff then overheard a punch to the face coming from around the corner. When he saw the girl she was holding the pencil and her brother was standing over her. The girl had been punched in the face by her brother when he saw the pencil.
I had to let that breathe for a minute too.
Roughly 15% of women in Afghanistan are literate. “Think about how easy it is to radicalize a child who has no education because his mother did not understand the value of an education. Once you hear this story, you can’t unhear it,” Griff explained.
As Army Rangers with several Afghanistan tours behind them, Griff partnered with Donald Lee to launch Combat Flip Flops. They experienced first-hand a country filled with hard-working, creative people who wanted jobs, not handouts, and decided to take tools for war and turn them into commercial products for peace.
The company’s mantra of business over bullets is achieved through:
The day our family purchased 5 pairs of flip flops was the same day we funded 5 days of education for an Afghan girl.
The mission of Combat Flip Flops is not a marketing add-on, a catch phrase or an attempt to secure positive press for the company.
The long-range view of educating and employing women in war-torn countries is the DNA of Combat Flip Flops and their reason for being.
As we enter the final stretch of holiday online shopping, please check out Combat Flip Flops because when you support this company, you fuel:
- A Veteran owned and operated business
- A company focused on the long-term solution of educating women in Afghanistan
- Products made by women in various combat zones who are now employed every day
A big thank you to Griff for taking the time to speak with me on the phone this week about the mission of Combat Flip Flops. I am happy to do my part to help spread some stoke, as he says.
Friends and Family, don’t be surprised if you get a text from me asking for your Flip Flop size.
H/T to my husband Matt (West Point Class of 1992) for the TEDx suggestion and for buying Flip Flops for our family!