Southern Pines company takes old military materials, turns them into handbags

Local News

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) – Stitch by stitch, each thread of the R. Riveter bag is carefully and methodically placed, turning old mementos into something new.

“My mom passed away last year…part of her possessions was this cedar chest that she kept her treasures in,” said Bill McWhorter.

In that cedar chest, along with his late mother’s bridal veil, McWhorter found three uniforms from World War II. One belonging to his mother who served as a nurse, his father who served in the Army, and his grandfather, a Navy Seabee.

“We thought these uniforms would probably just sit in a box. When we were gone who knows what would have happened to them,” said McWhorter.

Instead, he’s passing them down to his daughter and the rest of the women in his family, ultimately passing down the history and service of the older generations to the younger ones through R. Riveter’s Heirloom project.

The company takes old military uniforms and transforms them into purses and satchels. Sitting in a warehouse in Moore County, are uniforms from people all over the country and from different eras.

“It’s very emotional because I know these uniforms meant something…meant something to my mom,” said McWhorter, with tears filling in his eyes.

“It’s one thing to hear about it, study it in school…it’s another to actually put your hands on it. I think by having these – at least there will be the connection that there grandparents sacrificed something – in order to give them what they have right now,” he said.

It’s the ultimate sacrifice that’s no longer sitting in a cedar chest, but now something they can carry every day.

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