Heroes of Texoma: Boots for the Brave

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A Clay County man who served in the United States Marines during the Vietnam war is serving wounded veterans in his own way.

Tom Cartlidge of Olsen Stelzer Boots has been making custom pairs of boots for wounded veterans for the last two years.

"I've always had a feeling that those guys suffering the wounds of war are really the guys we ought to be doing something extra special for so now I'm getting to do it," Cartlidge said.

The project started with veterans in Texoma and has since grown.

Cartlidge now travels all over the country measuring men and women for their one of a kind boots.

Jim Herring of North Carolina is one of our nations' heroes waiting for his pair.

Herring met Cartlidge during a veterans golf tournament in Dallas.

Cartlidge told Herring and several others that he would be measuring them for custom boots.

"We sat in line for several hours while he measured each persons' feet. Soldiers with both feet and soldiers without both feet," Herring said.

Cartlidge lets the veterans design their boots from the material to the various logos.

Each pair is worth around $1,500 and paid for by donations.

"I wish I were a millionaire and I could pay for them all myself but unfortunately I've been in the boot business all these years and you don't get to be a millionaire in the boot business," Cartlidge said.

Four months is the timeline for each pair to be made. Some have been waiting a bit longer because of the many pairs in production.

"I've seen guys post pictures of their boots on facebook and I've been jealous because I don't have mine yet," Herring said.

But Herring knows it will be worth the wait.

"I know that it's something that I'm going to have for the rest of my life and each one of them are going to have for the rest of their life and they'll remember that Tom put his hands on your feet and made a pair of boots to fit you exactly," Herring said.

If you would like to make a donation to Boots For Wounded Veterans click here and scroll down until you see that donation box.

If someone you know is deserving of this recognition, we want to hear about them. Send us your Heroes of Texoma nomination to News@KAUZ.com.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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