In January of 2003, just two months before the invasion of Iraq began; Jill Boyce had a dream that might be called a vision.
In the dream, she was standing in the Iraqi desert, witnessing horrific violence and bloodshed. “My heart was pounding as I watched so many fallen soldiers, wounded and dead. It was the most vivid dream I’ve ever had; more like a revelation,” she said.
She awoke suddenly and noticed that she was no longer in fear. Instead, her mind was filled with images of handkerchiefs made of camouflage fabric, like the colors worn by soldiers. She envisioned the words “Psalm 91” printed on the cloths. “First, I grabbed my Bible and found the chapter relating to the psalm. Then, I searched the Internet for any relevance the psalm had to war.”
Jill learned that it was known as the “Soldier’s Psalm.” Legend has it that the brigade commander of the 91st Infantry in World War I gave all those under his command a little card with the psalm printed on it. The unit recited the psalm every day. They went on to face some of the bloodiest battles of the war and didn’t suffer a single combat casualty. Jill began to feel that the experiences in her dream would be less horrible for our soldiers if they carried the psalm with them into battle. “I bought a camouflage bandana at the local Army/Navy store and used a Sharpie pen to print the entire psalm on it,” she said with a grin. “What I didn’t realize was that the ink would bleed into the fabric, causing the print to become blurry.” It was nothing like the clear and bold lettering she had envisioned.
She contacted a chaplain at Fort Hood in Texas and told him about her dream and the idea to put the psalm on bandanas. He was impressed enough to talk to the command staff and soon got back to Jill with words of encouragement. With very little money to get started, Jill used her tax refund to buy the first batch of bandanas and have them screen-printed. She sent 79 of them to Fort Hood and began raising funds to buy more. “By April, I had scraped together enough money to have 3000 made and given to troops deploying to Iraq. In fact, with permission from the C.O., my daughter and I had the honor of going to Fort Hood and delivering them personally,” she gushed. As it turned out, the 4th Infantry Division, a recipient of the bandanas, was heading for the Middle East country. They were the soldiers that captured Saddam Hussein.
As the demand increased, Jill began receiving contributions that allowed her to continue in her non-profit, but highly acclaimed enterprise. Since those early days she has managed to distribute the psalm-inscribed bandana to our troops all over the world. Moreover, she has now included the distribution to police, firefighters, and anyone needing comfort and protection. Recently, she had a table at WinKids Sports and Learning Center in Flower Mound, where she displayed the items that were being sent to our troops. Curves Weight Loss Center in Parker Square also participated in the effort.
Known as “The Bandana Lady,” the former Highland Village resident, now living in Corinth, says her mission is to get a Psalm 91 bandana to every serviceman or woman who wants one. “I want to see America covered with God’s protection and power through this psalm, and I’d like to see people in other countries have the same protection,” she added. Her webpage www.thepsalm91bandana.com includes all the info needed to help in this very worthy effort. In addition, there’s a photo of Jill with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office.
My wife and I had the honor of spending some time with Jill Boyce at our Flower Mound home, and were quickly captivated by the sincerity of her cause and her boundless faith in a higher power. Before she left, Jill asked, a bit shyly, if she could “pray over us.” The three of us held hands as she delivered some scriptural passages and asked for the lord’s guiding hand to watch over us. Then, as if to guarantee our protection, Jill insisted on giving each of us a Psalm 91-imprinted bandana.
Before the end of this month, she’ll be sending gift boxes to the troops for Christmas. If you visit the website and click on “What you can do,” you’ll see the happy faces of our soldiers as they gratefully receive those very vital communications from the country they are sacrificing so much for.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.