Welcome to ValorBands,
My name is Amy Cotta, I’m the mother of six, a patriot, founder of a national military 501C3 nonprofit and the proud mother of a United State Marine.
In 2011 I signed my only biological son over to the Marine Corps, he was only seventeen at the time. My son went straight from high school graduation to Bootcamp and I went from being okay to thinking, “OMG! What have I done?!” With the war in Afghanistan showing no signs of letting up and with the loss of life increasing; I found myself slipping into depression, often crying uncontrollably wondering, “Had I just sent my son off to war?”
While Tyler was away at Bootcamp, I desperately and feverishly looked for ways to feel connected to him. I knew I wanted something special but it couldn’t be just anything. It needed to be something that showed true love and gratitude, not only for my son but for all those who served long before him and those who will serve long after him.
Unfortunately, my search was in vain, all I found was obnoxiously designed patriotic fashions and cheap junk jewelry made in china. Eventually, I gave up my search, but I never gave up my need or my want. As time went on I realized I was not alone; there are others just like me who desired a nonverbal way to show our love, gratitude, and patriotism.
Fast forward to the fall of 2014 after competing at Ironman Chattanooga 140.6 in combat boots and military pack, carrying the photos of 21 fallen American heroes, on that day our nonprofit Medals of Honor was born. During the first year, I quit my job in order to work Medals of Honor full-time. We didn’t have a 501c3 status at the time so we couldn’t fundraise to financially support the nonprofit. So my husband and I fully financed the campaign out of our own pockets. We were bleeding money due to the loss of my income, our growing campaign, and expenses. I needed to find a way to stop or slow down the bleeding. One day as I was going through our attic I came across a pair of my son’s JROTC utility pants. I wondered if I could repurpose the pants into something I could wear. I cut and sewed a wrist cuff and attached my dad’s Army unit patch to it. That was it! I had found my wearable gratitude.™ I started taking in uniform donations and making/selling ValorBands for friends and close connections and using the proceeds to help offset our nonprofit funding. After receiving our 501c3 nonprofit status for MOH, I began to broaden my vision of what ValorBands could be if I treated it like an actual business; taking it from a “funding-hobby” and turned it into a social enterprise / social good company.
Future Impact Mission: My goal and dream for ValorBands is to scale to the point where we can teach transitioning, at-risk, and homeless veterans to sew and employ them making our products. I strongly believe that NO veteran should ever be homeless or without employment. They have served us; now it’s our turn to take care of them. I know ValorBands still has a long road ahead of us to make this dream a reality, but with the amazing support of our local entrepreneurial, social enterprise, and fashion communities I know this dream will someday soon be a reality.
With all my heart, I want to thank you for wearing your gratitude, displaying your patriotism, and helping us to honor the service and sacrifice of our military service members (past and present) and their families.
Founder / ValorBands
Mother of SGT Zych, USMC