"American Idol" winner Lee DeWyze wears the Mend Mark Bracelet

By Kristin Day
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Mend Mark began as just another idea from a man of many. It started as a way to avoid getting a tattoo, really.

However, after following a suggestion from his wife, Hunter Harrison's concept found its way onto one of the most-watched TV show finales this season - "American Idol."

Harrison, a 26-year-old Greenville native, used his degree in financial services from ECU to land a role as commercial lender at Select Bank & Trust. But recently, he's also become a bit of an inventor.

"Everyone tells me I'm too creative for my job," Harrison said. "I enjoy banking, and I can see it as a career for the rest of my life, but I have ideas all of the time. This is not the first idea I've tried to do.

"This is the cheapest idea I've tried to do," he said with a laugh.

His latest endeavor, the Mend Mark, is a dark brown wristband with two circles resembling holes resting on each side of the wrist. The word "Remember" is engraved into one circle; the other reads "Love." The "holes" represent wounds Jesus Christ endured during his crucifixion.

Last month, Harrison was watching "American Idol" with his wife, Morgan, when she suggested he send the bands to the final 10 contestants. He thought it was a good idea.

However, when he arrived at the post office, he decided to send the bands to just two singers: Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. Along with the bands, he sent a letter-pressed card that read, "I believe love can change the world. If you believe this, please share with me this vision."

"I guess to me I thought they were the best (performers)," Harrison said, "but I also felt like it fit their personalities a little bit, too."

The next week, DeWyze wore the wristband during his performance. More surprisingly, he kept wearing it week after week - on and off television - until he was crowned this year's Idol on May 26.

Harrison wrote DeWyze another note thanking him and sent three more bands. During the season finale, finalist Siobhan Magnus also was wearing a Mend Mark.

The exposure has mostly created a buzz among middle school students, Harrison said, but he's also heading to St. Louis for the largest Christian retail exposition later this month in hopes of getting his product out to even larger audiences.

The Mend Mark derived from a tattoo design Harrison was drawing for himself: two dark circles resembling holes to commemorate the sacrifice Jesus made.

He decided against the tattoo but, using stickers and a rubber band he found at the bank, made a mock design for a bracelet and set the idea into motion in August 2008. By September 2009, Harrison started selling them online and to small shops, Christian book stores and a tanning bed.

"That WWJD bracelet took off a few years ago," Harrison said, "and the LiveStrong bracelet took off. A lot of people really like to wear wristbands in support of something. I felt like I could use this to support people loving everybody."

Harrison, who was raised in a Christian church, said the Mend Mark band isn't specifically a Christian product, but it symbolizes a sacrifice everyone can appreciate.

"Whether or not you believe the Bible," Harrison said, "you can't deny that Jesus was a real person and a historical figure, and he did die for his people. And there's really no greater love than to lay down your life for another. So I figured that could unify Christians and non-Christians. Everyone can agree that love's a good thing.

"So that's why the phrase on the band is 'Remember Love.'"

In that spirit, a portion of the proceeds from the wristband sales go directly to Living Water International, a Christian-based organization that helps communities around the world acquire access to clean water. Harrison said he wanted to give back and found it more than coincidental that his color scheme matched those of campaigns to end malnutrition.

"I haven't made any money yet," Harrison said, "but I've sent them, like, 400 bucks. It's not much, but it's not really about making money, I guess. Not to me."

For details about Living Water International, visit www.water.cc.

Contact Heartland for bulk sales or for more information.

Mend Mark Bracelet

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