“My father was a carrier officer in the Army. I was around the military all my life and it was just a natural thing for me to look forward to being in the service. But the one thing I remember is that my best friend and I in the 9th grade agreed we would both join the Marine Corps after high school and earn the right to wear Dress Blues. Our high school was in downtown DC and we often saw Marines at the 8th & I Marine Barracks and around the White House. They looked sharp. I served from 1963-1967.
“The day after Thanksgiving in 2003, my daughter Elizabeth returned home after spending the day with her recruiter. She had spent the day taking the ASVAB tests and a physical. She had a bright red folder in her hands and said she had joined the Marine Corps on the Delayed Retry Program. I was blown away. I read every word of the certificate. Her name was actually on a piece of paper that also said U.S. Marine Corps.
“The day she graduated was a memory I will never forget. My daughter never looked so good and she made one beautiful Marine. Her mother was overwhelmed with pride and joy, she could not have been happier to see her little girl a grown up. I loved how great the women Marines looked when they passed in review. In perfect step, eyes right and not a smile on their faces, it was beautiful. Graduation Day parade was a little emotional for me for another reason. It took place on the same parade deck I had graduated on over 40 years earlier. All I can say is it was an outstanding day.
“In 2004 I wanted to send something special to my daughter for her first Christmas away from home as a new Marine. I had a local seamstress make a Christmas stocking for me out of a Marine uniform shirt I purchased from a surplus store. I sent it to her in a Christmas gift package. She loved it. Friends and family encouraged me to do something and make them available to other military families.
“That’s how Camosock started and I became a ‘sock broker.’ It took awhile, but in 2006 I opened an online store and sell only military themed Christmas stockings. Thousands of wives, parents, girlfriends and others that have a loved one deployed have used my stockings as part of a special Christmas gift package.
“The stockings are beautifully tailored from the uniform fabric unique to each service branch and are 100% Made in the USA. They are beautiful! Each stocking is trimmed in scarlet piping and feature an embroidered emblem or art logo on the stocking’s pocket. Several years ago I added what I call the Family Support styles after many requests from my customers. They are stocking for the Moms, Dads, and Wives…the ones that are a little extra enthusiastic and want their own camo stocking. I also offer a few special stockings for the Navy Corpsman assigned to the Marines, Navy Seabees and I supply the Naval Academy with a custom stocking they sell in the Midshipmen Store.
“Over the years, I’ve had a lot of memorable orders. One that sticks out was about 4 years ago in September. A mother called me and wanted to order 100 or so stockings to send to troops in Iraq – her son’s unit. He’d been killed just a couple months before and she wanted to do something nice for his friends. Since then, she’s ordered well over 300. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.
“The pride I feel to put this together for people is hard to describe. I quit my job in real estate to be able to fully focus on this. The Camosock Christmas stocking is a special gift for anyone who’s accepted the challenge to serve. It really is a labor of love.”