For Christy Lucas, patriotism was a lesson learned early. Her great-grandfather served in World War I and her grandfather in World War II. Her uncle was in the Navy and her dad was in the Marines. Even her grandmother was a Riveter.
“We live in the greatest country in the world and there was a lot of blood shed to protect the rights that we enjoy now,” Lucas said.
Lucas was always moved by veterans’ stories and inspired by their determination.
“I’m not doding bullets,” Lucas said. “I don’t have a disability that’s affected the rest of my life and I’m 30-some years old. They deal with the hand they’re dealt and they move forward.”
When Lucas worked as a teacher, and later principal, at Annunciation School in McSherrystown, her love of country was always on the curriculum.
“Veteran’s Day was my favorite,” she said. “I loved having military in our school.”
In 2016, the wife and mother of two boys decided to make a career change. Finding no organization specifically to help local veterans in her rural communty, Lucas decided to start one.
“I knew that I was being called to something bigger than what I was able to do at the school for veterans and it was from that moment that Roots for Boots was started,” she said.
In nearly five yars, Root for Boots has built friendships and rebuilt roofs and decks. Volunteers have given money for rent and car repairs and given veterans a platform to tell their stories. There’s also a military share monthly food drive which started with just eight families.
“And now we have 85,” Lucas said. “We have 85 that come through and it’s turned into something bigger than a food bank.”
Roots for Boots has purchased several all-terrain track wheelchairs for heroes like Jeremy Jacoby. He was exposed to chemicals during his deployment and is losing mobility in his legs. Lucas remembers the exact moment he asked for her help.
“(He said) I want to be able to throw the football with my son and chase him and it’s heartbreaking because I can’t,” she said. “And I remember I reached across the table and I grabbed Jeremy’s hand and I said, ‘I will get that track chair for you. I will have it for you by Christmas.”
And she did.
Jacoby was just one of the people who nominated Lucas for abc27’s Remarkable Women Contest.
“I was shocked,” Lucas said of the honor. “Because I consider myself anything but remarkable.”
Lucas simply considers this her mission; to help remarkable people who have made remarkable sacrifices. And although her career path doesn’t give her a paycheck, it does give her a sense of purpose.
“When you see the hope come back and in breathes life into the, that’s all the reward I need,” Lucas said. “I don’t make a dime doing this, but I am, by far, the richest woman in the world because of it.”
Roots for Boots is 100 percent community-funded and it is 100 percent volunteer-driven.
If you would like to get involved or learn more, you can click here.