Love Alone Triumphs – The Story Behind the Bundy Force 1s
When I get the “Can you do that?” on a shoe, the answer is almost always “YES.” When one of my Marine Corps brothers, Leon “Wojo” Wojciechowski reached out to me with this request, I knew I had to make it special.
Javontae, 19, and his 18-year-old brother Jaquan Bundy, both of Spotsylvania, Virginia, were killed in a car crash on March 8th, 2021. They were 2 of the 5 people in the vehicle when it ran off the road and struck a tree. A Third brother, Jalontae, survived the crash along with two others. Jalontae has a long road to recovery as he sustained burns on 50% of his body. As a parent, I can only imagine how devastating that would be if it happened to me and my family. I have never met the Bundy family.
The most intriguing aspect of this request to me was that Wojo and his family are White and the Bundy family is Black. Wojo told me his son Jakob was very close with the Bundy boys and that he wanted to pay tribute to their life with this shoe concept. This spoke to me as I have a lot of friends of other races and understand what “I am my brother’s keeper” means. I remember growing up in Eastern North Carolina playing football and having similar bonds, most of which I still have to this day, with players of other races. It didn’t matter. At the time, we were all trying to compete as young men and figure out our place in life. This was the same bond I had with players, and I understood it vividly. It wasn’t a Black thing. It wasn’t a White thing. It was a HUMAN thing. Do you care for that person and do they care for you? No one gets along with everyone. Sure, there were disagreements and the occasional fight but that was all part of taking boys and turning them into young men.
Jakob and the Bundy brothers attended Courtland High School in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Their mascot is the Cougar and their Team Color was royal Blue. After sending Wojo some mock ups of a few color ways, we decided to go with a white Air Force 1, with a Blue tow box, Swoosh, and heel. Wojo gave me their names and Football numbers and wanted me to incorporate that somehow. But I wanted to make this pair a little more personal. I was able to find many articles about the Bundy brothers and the crash on the internet. I also found their obituaries online from which I was able to grab their photos.
Many times, when I do custom shoes, I want there to be more to the shoe than you can see when they are worn. I decided to take those two pictures and print them on the insoles of the shoe. Included in one of the articles I found, was a news clip of a Candlelight vigil held at on the boys favorite basketball courts. Hearing that, I decided to put their photos on the insoles with a back drop of a basketball floor.
In order to keep the clean look of the shoe, I want to keep the large logos to a minimum. I used 3M reflective HTV to transfer their jersey numbers on the heels, the Cougar paw on the outside of each shoe, and their names on the inside of the heel.
With the persistent social injustice issues present in America today, it is encouraging when you hear stories like Jakob and the Bundy brothers and makes me realize that Love Alone Wins over hate. This bond was formed through sports and transcended the racial divide that we all need to unlearn. I can relate to the relationship they had.
After High School, I went on the play football at the Naval Academy and that’s where I met my roommate, Eddie Carthan. Eddie came from a predominantly Black town and admittedly had little interaction with White people until he went to he Naval Academy Prep School. We would meet my freshman year and wound up being roommates for the rest of our time in school. Eddie and I came from very different places in the world, but again with sports and mutual respect, that didn’t matter. Eddie recently came to town for a Softball tournament and I offered him a place to crash while he was in town. Relationships like ours for me will last a lifetime. When someone realizes you see them for the person they are, and not the color of their skin, again Love Alone Triumphs..
After completing the shoes for Jakob, I showed Wojo and he immediately wanted to get a replica made for the surviving brother, Jalontae. To which I anxiously responded YES!” If you want to help the Bundy family, please consider donating to the families GoFundMe page.
I will be making a donation to their Fund in the amount I would have profited from both pair’s of shoes. Situations like this mean more than cool shoes and getting money. Life is too short to hate.