Will Romes is working to help fellow veterans transition to civilian life — by helping their uniforms make that same transition.
Will’s new company, Eighth Order, will take donated uniforms from retired veterans and re-pattern them into new oxford-style cotton shirts. He’s running a Kickstarter now to get the company up & running.
An Air Force veteran, Will wasn’t ready to retire at age 38.
“In military life, there are stage gates,” he explained. “Goals are easily achievable if you follow the path laid out.”
As he looked toward retirement, he realized he didn’t have a path laid out for his post-military career. He was pondering this new reality one Sunday as he dressed for church, and his eyes wandered to the four stacks of military uniforms that he would soon be throwing away.
It seemed like a shame, he recalled. So he looked for a way to repurpose it.
He connected with a factory in California that can make eight pattered shirts out of each military uniform, But Eighth Order isn’t only about clothes — it’s also about the stories behind those uniforms, he said.
According to the Veterans Administration, between 11 and 20 percent of U.S. veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Will is one of them.
Sharing the stories behind the uniform — what countries it has traveled to, what campaigns it has seen — can help the veteran deal with the disorder, Will said.
When veterans donate their uniforms, they’ll also return a card where they share as many or as few details from their service as they wish. This card will eventually be distributed with the shirts the uniform is used to create.
Will has 45 days to go on his $20K Kickstarter goal. He hopes to launch his Eighth Order e-commerce shop in February 2020. Share this story, & click here to support him!