Firefighters Supporting Troops with Ethical T-shirts
Career union firefighters in Summit, NJ wanted to support the thousands of soldiers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan by by organizing a T-shirt fundraiser for the U.S. troops. Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association Local 54 in New Jersey called Ethix for customized USA made, Union printed T-shirts to sell locally and send to our military personnel serving overseas. This was a story we needed to share!
New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent AssociationsWe worked with Brian Harnois of FMBA Local 54, who shared the backstory of these fundraising and solidarity T’s.
Finding the Best T-shirt Supplier for USA Made T’s
T-shirt orders had previously been fulfilled in New Jersey, but that store was lost during Hurricane Sandy. Soldiers and firefighters alike had taken notice that those original T-shirts were made overseas. So the firefighters made it their mission to find a new T-shirt supplier for USA made, union printed T-shirts, showing solidarity with the union men and women sending shirts to troops.
In this search for Union Made in the USA Ethix Merch came up. Brian said that after speaking with Kevin he decided (quite accurately, we might add!) that “(he) seemed like a good guy” and we processed the first wholly-ethical FMBA Local 54 T-shirt order this spring.
Organizing the T-Shirt Fundraiser
Each T-shirt is printed in batches of 200 to sell in stateside firehouses. Those donated shirts (2:1) are sent as gifts to troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fire department that sponsored the shirt order is featured on the shirt fronts. The customized T-shirts display the soldiers’ company and distinct logo on the back. FMBA 54 currently supports (click images to enlarge):
- Army C Troop 6-1 CAV 1st BDE 1st AD (spelled out, that’s: Cobra Troop 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment,1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division) (above left)
- Marine 15th MEU ACE HMM-364 Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 [AKA 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (Purple Foxes)] (expecting a photo in the coming weeks)
A deployed Ranger opted to assist FMBA 54 with getting these shirts distributed to the companies’ troops. The fire fighters are happy to present these gifts from home and hope that these wearable morale boosts show how much they appreciated by their comrades in the states. The soldiers are allowed to wear these T’s during their downtime while deployed, as you can see from these photos.
Thousands of shirts have been sent to date- here’s to hoping not much more will be needed!