LOVELAND, Ohio – Every time Dan Moates asked his mother-in-law what she wanted for Christmas, she said the same thing: World peace.
And she wasn’t kidding, Moates said.
"She’s a very devout person and she always asks for world peace," said the Loveland man. "It's not trite. It's just her personality, and she's not interested in anything else."
That was a hard request to fill until Moates’ wife came up with an idea and they took it worldwide.
"We've got friends from all over the world. We can have them send a rock or a piece of earth, little pieces from around the world,” Dan Moates said. “Then my wife, Rebecca, had the great idea and said, ‘Why don't you just have them send a picture of the peace sign?’"
It started with a Facebook post and the photos started pouring in from Florida to Alaska, from England to Japan.
"It's actually been very fast,” Moates said. “Really, the idea came about a couple of weeks ago. I put out the call pretty quickly there and over the span of about a week we started getting responses.
"A few people people got really excited about it."
It gave Dan and Rebecca a gift as well – a chance to reconnect with friends from their time in the Air Force and to make new friends.
"We started getting responses (from) people I'd never met before, people I'd never seen who were very excited about it," Moates said.
They made the photos into a book and gave it to Moates’ mother-in-law.
Did she like it?
"There were tears being held back, being held in check there … she was not expecting that," Moates said.