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Video: Airman is turning veterans’ old military uniforms into wreaths for Christmas

Nicole Pompei's wreaths created from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)
December 18, 2020

A U.S. Air Force airman has taken a crafty approach to repurposing outdated military attire into wreaths ahead of Christmas, and now she has more orders than she can handle.

During an interview with KENS 5, Staff Sergeant Nicole Pompei from San Antonio, Texas, said she was trying to decide what to do with her old Air Force uniforms when the branch decided to transition into new uniforms.

“A friend on a Facebook page recommended I try to make a wreath,” Pompei said, according to KLUV. “When I went to visit my mom in July, we came up with a way to create the wreath. I had posted my creation on that same Facebook page after completing it, and 20 people commented, begging me to make one.”

Nicole Pompei’s wreaths created from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)

The wreaths are made from actual military uniforms, with some even donated by admirers of Pompei’s work “so everybody is able to purchase one of these wreaths.” They’re available for order on her page, Wreaths by Nicole.

Nicole Pompei’s wreaths created from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)

“Some people send me their uniforms to make them their own personal wreath and some people just want to get their uniforms out of the back of their closet to save some space, and I’m happy to take in all of them,” Pompei told KENS 5.

Orders have been pouring in for Pompei’s wreaths and she told American Military News there’s now a 6-7 month wait for customers to receive their orders.

Nicole Pompei with her wreath creations from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)

Pompei gets a “sense of pride and fulfillment” after creating each wreath, which she creates based on requests.

“Each wreath tells a story, and that’s my favorite part about it,” Pompei said. “Whether it’s old uniforms stuffed in the back of someone’s closet, to retirements, birthdays, Christmas gifts – when I make each wreath, I get to learn a bit about someone’s service and I get to honor that service in a unique way,” she says.

Nicole Pompei’s wreaths created from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)

Pompei opened up her creations to non-military garb, offering holiday-themed wreaths, as well.

“I do a regular American flag one, as well, just to inspire patriotism and that kind of stuff,” Pompei said.

Nicole Pompei’s wreaths created from old military uniforms. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Pompei)

Pompei said she joked with her boyfriend about the emotional impact of the wreaths, saying her slogan should be “making moms cry since July 2020.” But moms aren’t the only ones struck by the touching project.

“Grown men in the military are looking at this wreath crying,” Pompei said. “It makes me really happy that I’m able to be a part of their story and honor their military service in a unique way.”

Most recently, Pompei was sent old Army uniforms from 1946.

“It was such an honor to be able to create some memories for this person using uniforms from almost 80 years ago,” Pompei said.

To donate a uniform or request a wreath, find Nicole on Facebook at “Wreaths by Nicole P” linked here.