'Suiting Warriors' helps armed forces transition into workforce
Woodbridge resident Christopher Turnbough left the U.S. Navy in January and he just landed a job as an I.T. specialist.
“For the past six years, I've been told what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it,” Turnbough said. “And I haven't had to think about how to present myself because it's just a pair of cammies or a dress uniform. So getting ready for the business world, this is a really nice opportunity for me.”
The veteran was fitted for a free suit Tuesday, courtesy of the organization Suiting Warriors.
Suiting Warriors founder Star Lotta said, “If we provide one suit to a veteran and this helps them transition into the workforce, into a new job… and I inspired them to take the next step, then I feel rewarded and what I'm doing is giving back for everything they have given to us.”
The program relies on the kindness of strangers. At The Tailored Man fine clothing store in Tysons Corner, customers donated 60 suits. By donating, The Tailored Man rewarded them with $50 gift cards for up to two suits or sports coats.
The store’s creative director Jason Elias Gonzalez said, “Every time we had a conversation with a client, everyone would say they have that one suit in the back of their closet that they don't wear. Maybe it doesn't fit them anymore.”
Lotta launched Suiting Warriors after the death of her cousin Jimmy – a Marine who struggled with PTSD.
“My cousin was not transitioning very well,” she said. “And he had a heart attack six months after his discharge at 23-years old.”
Suiting Warriors is based in Wilmington, Delaware. But Lotta hopes to expand up to New York and down to Washington.
To make a donation – of clothing or money – go to www.suitingwarriors.org.