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Support for soldiers from home and above

7:55 PM, May 25, 2012   |    comments
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MARIETTA, GA -- She calls herself a 'combat mom'; a local mother who, like so many families, tries hard to stay connected to loved ones serving in the US armed forces. Although separated by the miles, Cynthia LeMay stays connected with a small token -- a simple bracelet designed to offer support from home and above.

The mother of two sons who have served in the military is no stranger at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. She's often there passing out her Battle Saint bracelets.

"My son has been wearing it since he went over," LeMay told a soldier at the airport who was getting ready to depart for his assignment.

The inspiration for the wooden bracelets came after a family gathering two years ago. 

"I knew I wanted to do something to make a difference," LeMay said.

Initially making them in her kitchen, the local entrepreneur sold 5,000 in the first month. Now they're made overseas. There are 12 to 16 Catholic saints on the wooden bands and each saint is designed to have a connection to the military.

St. Barbara is on the bracelet because LeMay says she protects those who work with explosives and artillery. LeMay placed St. Gabriel on the band because he protects communication workers and one of her son's is named Gabriel.

In addition to her two sons, LeMay has five nieces and nephews in the US armed forces.

"It keeps you connected. When my son left, my husband, son and I got together and we put on this bracelet and we just said, 'This is going to keep us connected, keep you safe while you're gone, and surround you with protection'," LeMay said.

Sometimes, however, that connection is posthumous.

"A woman called and wanted us to overnight bracelets," LeMay said. "It turned out her husband died and she wanted to bury him with one of these bracelets, which was just heartbreaking for us. And she also wanted bracelets for all of the family members."

In addition to soldiers and their families, entertainers are wearing the bracelets, like the Zac Brown Band and the cast of HBO's Band of Brothers.

50,000 Battle Saint bracelets have sold in the last two years. Proceeds from the $5 bands benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

"The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has a physical rehab center in San Antonio that does some amazing work," she explained.

Whether helping soldiers when they return from assignemtn or soldiers still serving, this 'combat mom' believes in the power of this small token.

"It's just to provide that little sense of, 'We're with you, we're behind you and thank you for what you're doing."

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