PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A week ago, three sailors lost their lives onboard NAS Pensacola in a mass shooting that left the Pensacola community shaken. Eight others were injured.
Now, Larry Speed, the owner of Wings & Things Monogramming in Pensacola, is paying tribute to those who were lost, while patching together the community.
Speed, along with his staff at Wings & Things, are working tirelessly to produce memorial patches for the military, emergency responders and community who wants them. He’s offering two patches: one that says NAS Pensacola inside a heart with the text “WE HAVE THE WATCH” at the top. This patch was designed by Robbie Harvey. The other is a triangular-shaped patch with the names of those who were lost: Cameron Scott Walters, Joshua Kaleb Watson and Mohammed Sameh Haitham. It has the date of the tragedy sewn on as well: 12-6-19.
“The military will be putting these (patches) on their right shoulder,” Speed said. “It’ll be their ‘in memory of’ the tragedy that happened here at NAS Pensacola.”
Speed’s shop produces military patches year-round for the sailors at NAS Pensacola. When he heard the news of the shooting, it felt personal.
“The shooter had been a customer of ours,” Speed said. “We actually had his name tag on our board because we had misspelled it. It was on our wall of shame … I get misty eyed when we sit down and talk about it. The tragedy just sucks.”
Speed said he has seen interest in his patches from all over the world, including Italy and Japan. The NAS Pensacola Museum has requested to order thousands.
“The extent that this has snowballed has surprised us,” he said. “I’m making them as fast I can for basically the whole United States. It ballooned far quicker than anybody anticipated.”
Speed is only selling them for $1, which is as close to the cost to make them as possible.
“I couldn’t profit from this. It’s not something that I could sit down and make money off a tragedy.”
Dianna Pacheco-Cutshaw, an operator at the shop, tells News 5 it makes her proud to make the patches.
“I’m very honored to number one be a part of this company that is doing this for the community,” she said. “We see these pilots come in every day. We’re so involved in their lives.”
Pacheco-Cutshaw said making the patches and the response from the community is a reminder of Pensacola’s resolve.
“It just reminds me how strong our community is,” she said.
Wings & Things is located at 3815 W. Navy Blvd. It’s open from 8 to 5:30 Monday through Friday.
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