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FindTape.com Celebrates National Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month, and perhaps it's not so surprising that this is the month we've chosen to honor the men, women, and their families who have or are serving our country. After all, May includes some important observances: Loyalty Day (May 1), VE Day (May 8), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 8), Armed Forces Day (May 16), and Memorial Day (May 25).

At FindTape.com, this month is important to us because of our strong connections to military personnel and veterans. As I've mentioned before, I have both family and friends who are veterans, and many military divisions are customers of FindTape.com.

National Military Association Month gives all Americans an opportunity "to honor, remember, recognize, and appreciate those who serve and have served.... It recognizes those on active duty in all branches of the services, the National Guard and Reserves plus retirees, veterans, and all of their families - well over 90 million Americans and more than 230 years of our nation’s history."

Note the inclusion of the word, families. We often forget how much military families contribute to the cause of freedom. When a spouse or parent is deployed, it's the spouse and the children who are left behind and who must manage the tasks of daily life on their own. They're the ones with an empty chair at the dinner table, or only one set of hands to tuck the kids into bed.

But it's not just the absence of a conversation or a helping hand that they miss. Many military families also experience financial struggles. Whether a spouse is deployed or returned home injured, military spouses may have a difficult time paying the water bill or the mortgage. These families shouldn't have to bear the burden of war alone. This is why, at FindTape.com, we've made a commitment to help military families.

Operation Homefront Recently, we announced our support of Operation Homefront, which provides assistance to make the lives of military families better. We've partnered with this organization because of the tremendous impact it has had on military families.

Here's just a small sample of how successful some of Operation Homefront's programs are:

  • The Emergency Assistance Program provided grants to more than 2,700 military families, totaling $4.8 million in 2014. With these grants, families were able to buy food, pay water bills, and keep their homes.
  • The Homes on the Homefront program, in partnership with major banks and a homebuilder, moved 138 military families into permanent, mortgage-free homes in 2014. And another 
89 families successfully completed their transition plans and received the deeds to their homes.
  • The Hearts of Valor™ program, which provides support to caregivers of wounded warriors, welcomed 836 new members in 2014, for a total membership of 2,369. The program includes 50 support groups across the country.

Operation Homefront operates very efficiently – with 92% of its expenditures going directly to programs for military families. This type of stewardship shows great dedication to making a difference in the lives of military families. Yet, the work of this organization wouldn't be possible without financial support.

And we believe we can help. From May 22 to May 28, 2015, for each purchase a customer makes on FindTape.com, FindTape.com will donate 10% of the total merchandise price to Operation Homefront. We plan to donate up to $10,000 to the nonprofit over the week of the Memorial Day holiday this year.

It's our way to give back to this great community, and to say thank you to the men, women, and families who serve our country.

More...

Why FindTape.com Is Supporting Military Families

Operation Homefront For many of us, war seems a distant prospect. But for millions of U.S. military men and women and their families, it is an ever-present and lasting reality. More than 2.5 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and more than 50,000 have come home wounded. On the homefront, their families bear the brunt of the war's implications, including economic hardship and health issues. For many, it's a daily struggle.

These men and women and their families need our help, and I'm very excited to announce FindTape.com's support of Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

But before I tell you what we have planned, I'd like to explain why our support of military families means so much to me.

Many divisions of the U.S. military are customers of FindTape.com, and we're proud to serve them. But the decision to support military families is a very personal one, for several reasons.

Both of my grandfathers served in combat in World War II, and the stories they told about the war and the heroism of our soldiers always filled me with a strong sense of pride.

Until one of my closest childhood friends, Robert Valley, joined the 82nd Airborne, war was a distant prospect for me too. As a veteran of both Operation Just Cause in Panama and the Gulf War in Iraq, Robert made war a reality for me too. (As it happens, Robert also has close ties to FindTape.com. He's the owner of JV Converting, the primary tape converter we work with.)

I started FindTape.com while I was still living and working full-time in New York City, and I was working in lower Manhattan during the attacks on 9/11. This experience heightened my appreciation for the men and women who have defended the causes of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm grateful for their courage and the sacrifices they and their families have made in defense of our nation.

It's in honor of these connections – my grandfathers, my childhood friend, and all of those who have served and are serving – that I've dedicated our charitable efforts at FindTape.com toward supporting military families.

I've chosen to partner with Operation Homefront because the support offered by this nonprofit organization makes an enormous difference for military families. In 2014, 92% of Operation Homefront's expenditures - $49 million - were spent on programs for military men and women and their families. This remarkable focus on making the lives of military families better is very inspirational.

So how do we plan to support Operation Homefront?

During the month of May, we'll help Operation Homefront raise awareness about the needs of military families due to financial hardship, death, injury, or physical or mental detriment as a result of service since 9/11. Follow this blog and our social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – to learn more about the efforts Operation Homefront and others are making to improve the lives of veterans and military families.

We’re also pledging to donate a percentage of our merchandise sales – up to $10,000 – over Memorial Day week to Operation Homefront. From May 22 to May 28, 2015, for each purchase a customer makes on FindTape.com, we'll donate 10% of the total merchandise price to Operation Homefront.

It's our way of saying thank you for the courage military servicemen and women show and the daily sacrifices they and their families make in service to our country.

About Operation Homefront

A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 92 percent of Operation Homefront's expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families.

Tape Tips for Your Easter Production

event gaffers tapeEaster is just a few short weeks away, and church production managers and media ministry are well underway with planning some of the year's biggest productions and events.

Churches with memberships of several thousand or more already put together events of significant size. But holidays like Easter and Christmas put big demands on their creative and production teams. The holidays draw far more attendees than regular weekly services, requiring most houses of worship to hold additional services on Saturday to accommodate the larger crowds.

But it's not just the crowds that are bigger. Easter services are usually more elaborate productions as well.

Liquid Church, a contemporary Christian church in Mountainside, NJ, aims to put on a bigger, more elaborate show for Easter, along with adding Saturday services. The ministry is a multi-site church with 3,500 attendees across all sites each week. With three portable locations and one permanent in Mountainside, the church sets up three stages every week.

Technical Director Joel Freeman, who oversees all the audio/visual systems and gear, says they'll bring in a lot more lighting for the weekend Easter services. And because the productions are more elaborate, they'll require bigger props.

At Easter, as he does throughout the year, Freeman will work with members of the creative team to understand what they need to put together the production and whether a new staging or video element is required.

His biggest challenge is time and complexity, something that is more challenging at Easter. "We want to do the best show we possibly can," he says.

That's especially challenging at Easter - a time to focus on families. That means fewer volunteers than usual, and Freeman needs to lean more on regular staff to get sets, lighting, and props in place in a short amount of time - and on multiple stages.

With about three hours to get ready for each production, set up needs to go smoothly and quickly. At Easter, the ramped up complexity includes more doorways to cross and more lines to prep. Freeman uses Scapa 425 gaffers tape in 2- and 3-inch widths to hold down wires, trussing, and cables, and to hold carpets together so that no seams are showing. His teams use it to mark off the stage for props and performers, as well as to hold back drapes.

Scapa 425 is one of the most adhesive gaffers tapes we sell. It adheres longer and more securely than other gaffer tapes, and also has high tack, high tensile strength, and an easy unwind. It has an extremely low gloss finish which causes it to reflect the least amount of light. This makes it a good choice for stage production.

Every Easter production is slightly different, although all are likely to require lighting, audio, and video. The choice of tape will vary depending upon the type of set up and individual preferences. Here are a few tips and suggestions for helping your Easter service run smoothly by choosing the right tape for your needs.

Start planning early

A great way to begin is to ask what worked and what didn't in your last production, according to Shaun Miller in Church Production Magazine. This applies to the type of pressure-sensitive adhesive tape you used. Did you have enough for what you needed? Did you have the right type of tape for each job?

For example, a gaffers tape like Pro Tapes Pro-Gaff Gaffers Tape is ideal for holding down wires and carpet, removes cleanly from most surfaces, and is available in a wide array of colors. Because it's very dependable, it’s used throughout the entertainment industry and is a good choice for large productions.

Map Your Lighting

Creating a visual for your stage production will help you better understand the types of lighting supplies and materials you'll need.

"If you are doing a dramatic production that will have different lighting requirements from a normal service, consider working up a lighting plot. A lighting plot is a drawing of your stage area along with each light and its location," suggests Mike Sessler at ChurchTechArts.org.

Setting the Stage

Keeping performers safe as they move on and off the stage is a priority. Shurtape P-661 Glow-In-The-Dark Gaffers Tape can be used to mark stairs and exits. It's hand tearable, so it's easy to use and quick to apply. An added benefit is that is photoluminescent after the tape is activated by an artificial or natural light source.

Plan Your Media Production

Video producers will also map out their camera angles and shots ahead of time. Once you've created your shot list, you can work out the path of wires and have a better understanding of what needs to be marked and what needs to be invisible. Commonly referred to as AV cord tape, JVCC J90 Low-Gloss Duct Tape is a good economical choice.

Budgeting For Your Needs

Once you've settled on the type of tape needed for your production, you can visit FindTape.com to order the right sizes and amounts. If you need help, contact us at questions@findtape.com, and we'll work with you to place your order.

The Tape I Used Last Week

So my family is always making fun of me for insisting we use adhesive tape to solve every problem, so I decided to actually document what tape I've used over the last couple weeks to see how excessive I've really become.

  1. Polyken 510 Gaffers Tape I used some black Polyken 510 gaffers tape to hold the power cord in place on an air compressor. Comes off cleanly and doesn't dry out like rubber bands do.
  2. JVCC DC-UHB40FA-C Ultra High Bond Double Coated TapeRecently put in a new sliding glass door and it came with a molding piece which was to be put on as finish to the side of one of the doors. I assume it was meant to be glued on (the instructions didn't say), but I used some JVCC DC-UHB40FA-C ultra high bond double-sided tape to mount it (I also used some white gaffers tape to hold it in place while the adhesive bond was setting).
  3. Shurtape JLAR Tape (Permacel)On a day-to-day basis the tape I probably use the most is Shurtape JLAR. My 3-year old son is always tearing or ripping something in one of his books and this is great for book repairs. I still have some old rolls left over from when Permacel still made the tape and what I love about it is that they crush-cut the rolls so you could just pull on a length of the tape to break it by hand (no scissors needed). Now that its made by Shurtape is razor-cut like most tape so you can't do that anymore, but hopefully my supply will last a while longer.
  4. 3M EC100 Rite-Lok Instant AdhesiveI've been using 3M EC100 super glue all week to fix ornaments like the purse on this snow-lady. One thing I really like about EC100 is that it doesn't seem to clog up and become unusable after you use it a couple of times like I've had happen with other super glues.
  5. Scapa 225 Gaffers TapeI've been using a lot of gaffers tape over the holiday season to hold down cords - here I've used some 4 inch white Scapa 225 gaff tape to cover a green extension cord on my front door. It's a bit wrinkled since I probably should have gotten some help putting it on (it's a little hard applying wider width gaffers and duct tape alone), but you should get the general idea.
  6. 3M 109 Double-Sided Poster Tape3M 109 double-sided poster tape is great for putting up your kid's artwork on walls since it easily removable. In this case I even used some to hold the 109 dispenser up to the wall so I could take the photo.
  7. JVCC GLW Glow In The Dark TapeI'm a big fan of the JVCC GLW Glow-in-the-Dark tape and use it on electronics all around the house. I'm always a little surprised when I see reviews of glow tape say it's not very bright. It's definitely not a high-powered light source and wouldn't compare in intensity to say a flashlight, but to darkness-adjusted eye it works great to help you find a remote control in the middle of the night in order to turn off the TV you left on. I haven't mastered the art of photographing a glow product in darkness yet so this is just showing the product in daytime light - pretty boring.
  8. Polyken 105C Double-Sided Carpet TapeBesides the Shurtape/Permacel JLAR, double-sided carpet tape is the other type of tape I used the most often probably. Here I've used some Polyken 105C to hold down the mat rug on a landing outside in the garage.
  9. JVCC FELT-06 Black Polyester Felt TapeI was having an issue with some file drawers I had on some shelving downstairs. When you pulled the drawer completely out it would overhang the shelving and cause the back of the file drawer to pop up and the heavy drawer overhanging the shelving would then pull it off the shelf (not a very good storage system). I used some extra 2 x 4 pieces to brace the Vaultz File Drawers in place, but I first lined it with some JVCC FELT-06 felt tape to make sure it didn't dig in or scratch the drawers.
  10. Wooster Caution Non-Skid CleatsWe just got in some of these Wooster Caution Non-Skid Cleats and figured they would work great on some outside steps I had in the garage. I was going to use the glow-in-the-dark cleats we got in from Wooster instead, but the area I used them on in the garage is pretty dark so I didn't think they would get enough light-activation to work properly. Figured the "Caution" cleats would actually be more visible.
  11. Polyken 231 Duct Tape and JVCC 762-BD Bi-directional Filament TapeTo repair a big crack in my garbage can I used some JVCC 762-BD bi-directional filament tape as the first layer and then overlapped it with some wider width Polyken 231 military-grade duct tape. I should probably just call the trash pickup company to get a new receptacle, but this is way more fun.

So not too excessive - is it?