Reporting Ed Curran
(CBS) — We hear a lot of talk about getting veterans back into the workforce.
CBS 2′s Ed Curran tells us about one businessman who’s made it his mission.
The tiny T-shirt printing shop on the Near West Side is called Rags of Honor. It’s Mark Doyle’s creative solution – financed by his savings account — to hire unemployed vets.
He’s hiring veterans like Jeffrey Keys, who never imagined he’d find himself homeless and in a shelter after he served in the Navy.
“It never crossed my mind that it was a possibility at all,” says Keys, who calls his job “my salvation.”
For Navy veteran Edith Giles, with a background in fashion design and graphics, the T-shirt venture was a perfect fit.
“We had our interview at the coffee shop that was near my old apartment,” she says.
Giles was in the process of losing her place.
Doyle recalls: “I said, ‘You’re hired,’ and she started to cry right there in the coffee shop.”
It was then he knew he was on a mission. He employs four vets, prints on shirts made in the U.S., and is looking for a tiny sliver of the $19 billion T-shirt industry.
“I do hope it becomes a rags-to-riches story and a way for folks to get back some dignity and re-enter the work force,” Doyle says.
They’re already printing shirts for Phil Stephanie’s restaurants, and this weekend’s Veteran’s Family Fest. Along with custom orders, Rags of Honor sells shirts online.