Woman recycles military fatigues into backpacks, totes and other merchandise

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PARKVILLE, Mo. (WDAF) – Deep in the caverns of the Parkville Underground Business Park, Connie Swartz is stitching together her own unique legacy honoring the military.

“I feel that it’s my honor to recognize the military personnel,” Swartz told FOX4.

For the last year and a half, Swartz has been repurposing retired military fatigues into stylish and durable items.

The military merchandise sells for between $9 and $59 at Celebrate Fatigues.

“Right now, we’re putting them in a landfill, in the trash and in thrift stores,” Swartz said.

Swartz literally stumbled upon the idea in her basement while moving boxes of her husband’s old Army fatigues.

“These are in a box, they earned courage and sacrifice, they need to be somewhere else,” Swartz said.

So now, Swartz collects donated fatigues from all over the county and, with the help of the non-profit Sewing Labs, repurposes the government issue duds into eyeglass cases, hair scrunchies, and tote bags made out of cargo pockets.

“It reminds people of the people that have sacrificed,” Swartz said.

The Northland resident believes many of the items would make ideal gifts for Mother’s Day.

Swartz said she’s hoping to find some local veterans to volunteer at her warehouse, in the Parkville Underground. Anyone interested should reach out to Swartz via the company website www.CelebrateFatigues.org.

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