SIGHTS ON PATRIOTISM
Patriotism in the 21st century looks different than it did even one generation ago, but finding ways to connect Americans of all ages with a sense of national pride is a task the Boot Campaign readily accepts. Olympic shooting team member Amanda Furrer has been avidly patriotic her entire life, and this year she joined forces with the Boot Campaign to bridge the gap between civilian Americans and the brave military men and women who serve us all.
Furrer is no stranger to military culture. The daughter of a former Special Forces Soldier and brother to a former Army Ranger, she grew up around competitive shooting and began training in the sport early. By 11 years old, her competitive career had begun, leading up to much time spent training at Ft. Benning, Georgia alongside both civilians and former military marksmen. Her involvement with military organizations, therefore, was a given, but her enthusiasm for working with the Boot Campaign has taken her commitment to a level even she couldn’t have anticipated.
“As I’ve gotten older and my presence in the shooting community has grown, my involvement with various military-oriented organizations, including Boot Campaign, has grown as well. The people I’ve had the privilege to work with have motivated me to do anything I can to help and show my patriotism and appreciation for our military,” she says.
First learning about the Boot Campaign through a Twitter message courtesy of executive director Joey Jones, Furrer was immediately interested. A face-to-face meeting at a shooting industry event led to her first “boot shoot,” followed by an invitation to attend the third annual Boot’n & Shoot’n event at the Dallas Gun Club in May 2014. Furrer’s take-away is worth noting:
“After spending the weekend with the crew, I fell in love with everything the organization is about. The heroes weren’t paraded around to tug on people’s heartstrings, and I wasn’t asked to give speeches and ask people to donate either. Instead, we all shared a wonderful experience together and shared our lives with each other. I was inspired by the friends I made on the trip and wanted to step up my involvement. In fact, I can say that I’ve gained a couple best friends through Boot Campaign,” reveals Furrer.
Promoting patriotism across generations is part of the Boot Campaign mission, and engaging 20- and 30-somethings in support of our military is an on-going goal. At 23 years old, Furrer sees the gap separating young men and women from their military counterparts but agrees the “fun and fresh” methods Boot Campaign uses to bridge the distance and encourage national pride resonate with millennials. She particularly enjoys sporting her “sweet combat boots” even outside of Boot Campaign events, which is exactly what the Original Boot Girls envisioned when they dreamed up the concept. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and the conversations started as a result of her Boot Campaign gear go miles to support the mission.
Even when she’s not wearing boots, it’s easy to spot Furrer’s deep-seated national pride. Having spent her entire life appreciating military service, it’s hard for her to imagine others her age not holding that same patriotism. “I think people my age support the military,” she continues, “but don’t really think about how they can help. Social media is a huge thing; [people] are looking for what’s trending now and I think they forget that support for our military is always needed – it should always be trending. Patriotism and support for our troops needs to be seen as the cool thing, and that’s where I want to step in and help.”
At the top of Furrer’s list of possible collaborations with Boot Campaign is creating an outdoor survival camp for military kids who have experienced the injury or loss of a parent, a project that would combine her family’s history of shooting with her father’s expertise in the outdoors. “My dad is great at the survival stuff,” she explains, “and I’m kind of good at shooting, so we figured why not do something with this to give back?”
Giving back is at the very core of every day for the Boot Campaign and is what really drew Furrer to offer her support for the organization. In the course of conversations, she always returns to Boot Campaign’s longstanding history of “incredibly efficient and productive” operations. “When you look at the facts, you can see that Boot Campaign really exists to help.”
Boot Campaign is thrilled to partner with Amanda Furrer in our mission to promote patriotism, cultivate awareness and provide assistance for America’s military families. To learn more and lend your support, please visit www.bootcampaign.com.