When Cory "Corky" Matthews received his notice of veteran's benefits the accompanying certificate of service sparked an idea.
After offering to give his life for his country, the certificate he received in return was badly designed and the graphics were poor.
The message it sent got Matthews thinking and during that thought process CJM Military Certificates was born.
He thought a certificate showcasing an individual's military service should tell more than just name, branch, rank and dates of service.
An Internet search turned up other companies printing military certificates, but Matthews said he wouldn't be satisfied with a "cookie cutter product."
He wanted to include medals, ribbons, badges and other devices as well as where the individual served.
To achieve his vision for CJM Military Certificates, Matthews needed the services of a graphic artist. He went through several before the Payson Chamber of Commerce referred him to Kathleen Converti and her company, Computer Creations.
He asked Converti to create graphics for the certificates, ensuring that each of the military medals is recognizable and the colors on the ribbons and badges are true.
"Without her the business would be impossible. Even though I grew up in the advertising business, she is the graphic artist," Matthews said. "I'm 80 and just got into computers a few years ago."
As a former insurance agent and ad agent, he realized the importance of having a good Web site to sell the custom certificates. Converti created that for him, too.
"A personalized certificate of service is a vanity product, but what should men be proud of other than their veteran's rights and service," he said.
Matthews served in the Merchant Marine as a radio officer during World War II.
"The Merchant Marine has the highest mortality rate of all the services next to the Marine Corps," he said.
The Merchant Marine transported food and military equipment to the shores of Europe and troops in the Pacific during World War II.
The 215,000 who served in the Merchant Marines had 1 in 28 odds of being killed. (U.S. Marines were next with 1 in 34 odds.)
"President Roosevelt had our GI Bill on his desk when he passed away," Matthews said. "So it was 43 years (1988) until we got our veteran's rights."
Veterans getting the recognition they deserve remains important to Matthews because "there are now only 20,000 of us still alive and our average age is 82 years old," he said. "Now we tell a complete story on the custom certificates we make."
Custom certificates are available to purchase for the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air National Guard, Army Air Force WWII, Army National Guard and Merchant Marine.
CJM Military certificates may be ordered by calling (928) 468-1011 or online at www.cjmcertificates.com.