VISION: To see people strengthened by God’s Word and in relationship with Jesus Christ
MISSION: To Strengthen and Encourage Members of the Armed Forces, First Responders, Athletes, and People with Chronic illness.
METHOD: Share God’s Word engraved on dog tags and jewelry to serve as a Physical reminder of God’s promises.
IMPACT: 3.5 million Shields of Strength worn since 1997
The first Shield of Strength was made in 1997 as a simple reminder. The idea came from a few scriptures Kenny’s wife Tammie had written on his equipment while he was chasing a dream of winning a National Championship. Tammie made that decision after seeing he was scared to death waiting for his turn to compete at the US Nationals. Kenny appreciated her encouragement but had no idea the power that was in God’s word. It’s a much longer story (told in his book “Shields of Strength”) but after those scriptures got off his equipment and into his heart and he then learned to act on God’s word he was changed forever. So much so that he wanted a daily reminder of God’s word in his life but would have looked kind of funny carrying around his athletic equipment so he engraved them on a dog tag and wore them under his shirt. In time he found someone that needed that reminder as much as he did so he gave it away and made another one. That was the beginning of Shields of Strength. He never set out or even dreamed they would one day reach our military and millions of others in need of the power found in God’s word. Kenny says “making Shields of Strength has been the most humbling experience of my life.”
Somewhere around 1998 they were placed in the first store and did well enough to spread to others. By September 11, 2001 they had spread to enough stores that a few soldiers had found them. Colonel David Dodd took the first 500 into combat with his soldiers and word spread through the military but nothing could have prepared Kenny for the response after Capt. Russell Rippetoe was killed in action wearing a Shield of Strength in 2003. President Bush honored Capt. Rippetoe in his Memorial Day speech and read the scripture from Russell’s shield to the Nation. After that the Associated Press called, then Fox News, CBN, and so on. Since then, Shields of Strength have made more than three million shields all with the prayer they would serve as an effective reminder of God’s word. They have donated hundreds of thousands to our military and other ministries.
Now all these years later, Shields of Strength have become one of the most worn emblems by the US Military. So many US troops were wearing them in combat that Commanders of the British Royal Army called requesting as many as 8000 at a time for soldiers in their command. Churches use them as outreach tools, hospitals for encouragement, athletes for courage, and thousands of others for their personal trials this life always finds a way to bring. Kenny says “my favorite thing to do is to take one off my neck and give it to a stranger.”
For years Shields of Strength were all dog tags but after repeated request we have now rolled out a ladies line. All of the shields of strength ladies jewelry will have a scripture on the back. We call it Jewelry With Power and pray you connect with the power more than the jewelry. One thing we know for sure is that if that scripture gets off that jewelry and into someone’s heart they will be changed forever. That is our mission.
Colonel David Dodd, Executive Director
Colonel David Dodd is a Believer, husband, father, and Soldier. He commanded a United States Army Company in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, a Battalion in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, a Battalion in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a Brigade in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina relief operations. David accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1993 while serving at the United States Army Special Operations Command. Dr. Jim Johnson, retired Army Chaplain and author of “Combat Chaplain, A Thirty-Year Vietnam Battle”and “Combat Trauma, A Personal Look At Long-Term Consequences.” mentored and baptized David.
Within weeks of 9/11, David’s unit was deployed to locations in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. David and his Soldiers wore a Shield of Strength engraved with Joshua 1:9, “I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified or discourage; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” These Soldiers wore the same Shield of Strength during the invasion into Iraq. Soldiers within the the Brigade David commanded, wore Shields of Strength while on combat and humanitarian missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States, and in Central and South America. While on active duty, David shared more than 10,000 Shields of Strength with members of the Armed Forces, Military Families, and Senior US and International Leaders.