Shields of Strength

This Easter Season, Shields of Strength Marks 2 Decades of Carving Scripture on Jewelry

Two decades ago, Kenny Vaughan inscribed a set of military dog tags with scripture. His brother, Gabe called the dog tags Shields of Strength.

Today, more than 4 million Shields of Strength are being worn across the country.  More than a million Shields of Strength dog tags have been sent to active military. Olympians and athletes from every sport and fitness genre wear them, including the highest-profile players of the NFL.

Following 9/11, Army officer David Dodd had equipped his battalion with Shields of Strength before they deployed to Afghanistan. A few years ago, (Ret.) Col. Dodd founded the nonprofit, Point 27–Strength for the Fight , to help distribute the Shields of Strength as a Christian outreach.

The Christian jewelry line has broadened, adding the Cross Necklace and cross jewelry to its line, then sports and fitness pieces; hearts, angel wings, charm bracelets and more. Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line dog tags and crosses honor police and firefighters. Weight plates and dumbbell pendant necklaces are most popular with athletes.

Today, Shields of Strength features more than 400 items including apparel, fishing poles and thermal mugs.

“Through the years,” Vaughan says, “one thing hasn’t changed. Every item in the line is inscribed with scripture.”

Why?  In the summer of 1996, against all odds and after 15 years of battling fear as he chased his dream–Vaughan won the National Water-Ski Jump Championship in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. That day, he made the longest jump he had ever made with a torn ski-boot and a broken ski fin, which, in the normal and natural, would have made it impossible for him to jump, much less make the winning jump.

The scriptures written on his ski-tow ropes had encouraged him to hold tighter to his faith than his fear. That’s why Vaughan had the scriptures engraved on dog tags.

“When I first made one, it was to remind me of the power of God’s word,” he says.  “But, each time I saw how the scriptures encouraged others, I would give the dog tags to them, and just have more made. Since then, I have made a commitment to make and share Shields of Strength as long as I live.

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