GEORGETOWN, Texas - Civilians wearing combat boots isn't about fashion for the Boot Campaign. The group believes that a civilian wearing a pair is a great way to say you support the men and women of the U.S. military past and present.
The idea came from 5 women in Tyler who wanted to show their support and respect for the military and vets.
Starting small in Tyler in 2009, it's been growing ever since and Johnny Jones is keeping it that way.
He heads up the boot campaign's marketing arm from their offices in Georgetown.
"It was a way of showing patriotism and support for military that was unique but also made people go "Oh you're in a suit but you're wearing combat boots" and it was specific to today's generation because today's boot look differs then the others. It was a good way to make support of the military popular and current," Jones says.
Johnny's journey to the boot campaign may well have begun in Helmund Province in Afghanistan.
He was a marine bomb tech, and in August 2010 he accidentally stepped on an I.E.D.
"When it went off it was quiet because it was so loud you couldn't hear and it was so quick it was like in a dream and all I could see was dust. I was in a cloud of dust when I hit the ground. I knew immediately my legs were gone," he recalls.
He was bleeding out, so Johnny and his comrades put tourniquets on his legs and arm.
"At that point I realized the severity of my injuries and the idea of not making it off the battlefield started creeping into my mind. So I made sure to tell him the check list, you know you have that before your deployed to a combat zone: "Tell my parents I love them and tell my son I love him"," he explains.
A few days later he woke up in a hospital in Germany before returning to recover in the U.S.
Ever since, he's been an advocate for Wounded Warriors and Vets.
He even started mentoring others Vets in the hospital showing them that with prosthetics there is a future.
Now that passion pervades his work for the Boot Campaign and even though he's Executive Director of marketing, there is a larger goal.
"We're not hungry for the Boot Campaign to be a household name as much as we're hungry for households to be appreciative of the military and we think the Boot Campaign is one of the best ways to get it done," he said.
Joey and the Boot Campaign continue to move forward.
Their next big local event is the ?Boot Ride and Rally? November 2nd in San Antonio.
You can learn more about the campaign here.