Woman’s simple art project reaches military members across the world

(ABC 6 News) – An Iowa woman’s simple arts and crafts project has reached people around the world, and along the RAGBRAI route.

“I just know the end result is worth it.”

About 10 years ago, Jean Perkins made a beaded American flag keychain while waiting for her car at the shop. Her courtesy driver was a veteran, they got to talking, and she gave him the keychain. A few years later, that same veteran asked if she had another.

“Which surprised me that he even remembered who I was,” said Perkins. “So then I thought at the time, that if it meant that much to him to want another one, then I was going to see to it that I could get one to any veteran that wanted one. If I could meet them and pass them out. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

In 2017, the USS Fitzgerald was hit by another ship. Perkins’ granddaughter was serving on a different guided misle at the time. Perkins started to make care packages and put one of her keychains in each one.

Fast forward, and now her keychains are being sent around the world and taking her to different parts of the country.

As Perkins opens her scrapbook, she shows a group of veterans in Minnesota. She said she gave about 100 key rings out to them and they asked her to come back with more.

She’s taught people young and old to make keychains. She’s earned awards and is even getting thank you cards in return. Those are some honors, but her biggest honor: “The veterans that I have met all have had different experiences. For younger people to be aware of what the veterans have gone through for them, is very, very emotional for me to see these kids get excited about it.”

Earlier in July, Perkins gave out more than 1,000 keychains. In addition to making some for RAGBRAI, she’s also baking cookies to hand out as an extra thank you.

If you’d like to help make keychains or donate to the cause, you can write a letter to:

Dean Welsh
VFW Auxiliary Post 4370
Britt, IA 50423