Supporting Our Veterans – A Privilege To Pay It Forward - Charliemadison Originals LLC

Supporting Our Veterans – A Privilege To Pay It Forward

When I started this business, I knew in my heart that giving back to military and veteran organizations was not only an important part of my mission, but also a responsibility. I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities throughout my entrepreneurial journey, from meeting and sharing the stories of fellow military spouses and business gals to having the privilege of sharing the story behind my business and why giving back is so important to me. Being a military spouse as well as part of a family with three generations of military heroes really cemented my decision to make a difference in the military community. It’s because of the many blessings in my life that I feel such deep gratitude and a responsibility to pay it forward - to bless others who need something positive in their lives - by giving back to organizations that support veterans and their families.

This is the fifth year I’ve opened up my checkbook and written the most important check of the year. It’s kind of a reflective moment for me – looking back at the past year and thinking about the day-to-day business struggles, the second-guessing every decision, working all the time and doing all the things, and wondering why I continue to work a full-time job, while taking care of my family and running a business in the time that’s left each day. But as I fill in the check with the name of that incredibly deserving military charity, sign my name at the bottom, and see the dollar amount staring back at me, one thing comes to mind. It was all worth it!

While I talk a lot about giving back and take credit for the idea behind giving back to these incredible veteran charities, I know that the reason I’m able to write that check every year is you - our amazing supporters and cheerleaders who love our jewelry, connect with the messages and meaning behind each piece, and believe in our mission of giving back to the military community.

Through the years, I’ve come to realize that when you click the “Buy” button in my online shop, you’re not just buying a piece of jewelry, you’re believing in a business that makes a difference,  you’re believing in the power of community, you’re believing in us!

I don’t take this responsibility lightly. While I may have started this journey with the idea that giving back can make a difference, I know that the one small task I do in the first few months of each year – writing a check to a veteran charity - is the most important and life-changing job I do all year.


So this year, I am proud and honored to share that our 2018 donation to a veteran charity was given to Semper K9; a 501(c)(3) organization founded by a veteran and improving the lives of veterans with their incredible service dogs.
Semper K9 Assistance Dogs for Veterans


Founded in November 2014 by Christopher and Amanda Baity, Semper K9 rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to be service dogs at no cost for disabled service members. As a veteran Marine Corps dog trainer and kennel master with three combat deployments, one civilian deployment, and two additional overseas deployments with working dogs, Christopher had the skills and drive to make his mission a reality.

Semper K9 Rescue Dogs for Veterans
“The most important things to us were to utilize rescue dogs and ensure that our veterans are assisted at no cost to them,” said Baity. “Also, being a military family with small children, the family involvement was high on our list of priorities since our mission is to enhance the quality of life for our wounded veterans.”

Semper K9 not only utilizes rescue dogs in our service dog selection process, we also custom train each dog to the specific needs of their wounded veterans. We provide training and support for the entire family. Through our Family Integration Program, we teach caregivers and other family members the skills needed to support the veteran in their recovery through animal-assisted therapy.

Semper K9 Assistance Dogs - Dogs for wounded veterans
Semper K9 recently purchased 33 acres in Fauquier County, Virginia, adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico where they plan to build a retreat-style facility for out of area veterans and their families to come and train with their service dogs.

I was excited to learn that Semper K9 was recently featured on an episode of Mike Rowe’s “Returning the Favor” - a show dedicated to giving back to those who make a difference in the lives of others. Grab a tissue and catch that episode through the link below. You’ll get to meet Christopher and Amanda and hear the stories of three veterans whose lives were changed through Semper K9 and their amazing service dogs.

Soldier Dogs: Featured on Mike Rowe's Returning the Favor


But the story of giving back doesn’t stop here! This year’s donation includes an extra gift and I’ve been waiting to share this since last summer. I’m hoping I can keep the tears in check while writing the rest of this story because it still touches my heart to this day and is the epitome of what the military community means to me.

In June 2018, Charliemadison Originals was invited to the Quicken Loans PGA Tournament in Potomac, Maryland by the Tiger Wood’s Foundation to gift our Honor Bracelets to the spouses of the PGA Pros that were playing in the tournament. As you probably know, Tiger Woods is a big supporter of the military community and this golf tournament was part of recognizing that connection. The Honor Bracelets were the perfect complement since they are a tribute to military service and are symbolic of the colors of military camouflage.

Charliemadison Originals at Tiger Woods Foundation PGA Quicken Loans Tournament
Over the three days we were at the event, we met some incredibly kind people, including professional golfers and their families. It was a total honor and obviously there were some fan-girl moments, especially for my family of golfers including my husband who loves to play golf and my daughter, who plays for her high school golf team. However, the most touching moment of the three days was at the end of the last day of the tournament – meeting a veteran with a heart of gold.

On the third day of the event was the Pro-Am tournament. If you’re not a golf fan, a Pro-Am is where professional golf players are teamed up with amateur golfers and at this event, one of the teams included players from The Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA). Once the tournament ended, three gentlemen from SMGA walked up to my table and struck up a conversation. They told me about SMGA’s mission to provide rehabilitative golf programs, experiences, and family inclusive golf opportunities for post 9/11 wounded war veterans in an effort to improve the quality of life for these American heroes. Another organization doing amazing work on behalf of our veterans!

Salute Military Golf Association

I briefly shared my story of being a military spouse and my company’s mission of giving back to military charities. These incredible veterans then thanked ME for supporting my husband during his military service and for the contributions my company has made to veteran charities. It was a humbling moment for me as a military spouse – we may not wear a uniform, but we serve our families and support our military heroes so that they are able to serve our country.

One of the gentlemen then stepped forward - he says to me that he wants to show his support for my mission, but rather than buying a bracelet, he wants to give me a donation. I wasn’t sure what to say.....this had never happened before. I explained that I didn’t usually accept donations since I donate a portion of each sale, but he insisted. He told me he had been blessed throughout his military career and had been given so much that he felt it was his responsibility to give back. He reached into his wallet and pulled out all the cash inside – it was $101. He handed it all to me. I was shocked and incredibly touched by his gesture. I promised him I would hold on to that money and when the time came for my company’s annual donation that I would add his money on top of my donation. And that’s exactly what I did!

So this year’s donation comes not only from the amazing Charliemadison Originals Community, but also from a veteran with a heart of gold, who believed the same as I do – that giving back is an honor and a responsibility! There is no greater privilege than being able to include his donation with mine. I will continue to write a check next year and the year after; each year hoping that I can double or even triple what we, as a community, gave the year before. Writing that check is a humbling moment for me and I am deeply grateful that you have gifted me the opportunity to give back. I may be signing my name on the bottom of the check, but I know in my heart that the donation is possible because of YOU!

Team Semper K9 - Veteran Assistance Dogs
Find out more about our past donations and which veteran and military family charities we’ve given to on our Giving Back page.

To learn more about Semper K9’s mission, opportunities to volunteer with their organization, and how you can give back, visit

Semper K9 photos via website
Salute Military Golf Association photo via