In its video series about successful screen printers, M&R’s latest addition is a video profile of Rags of Honor.
Chicago-based Rags of Honor was founded by Mark Doyle following a year in Afghanistan on an anti-corruption task force. When he returned home and saw the unemployment rate, the rate of suicides and the rate of homelessness among returning veterans, he decided he had to do something. That something was Rags of Honor.
Mr Doyle started the company with no real plan beyond his determination to provide employment to homeless and unemployed veterans.
He began by putting six veterans on the payroll, however the company didn’t own a screen printing machine for the first nine months. Instead, the veterans spent eight months training on a small rented press in the basement of a screen printer and former Marine. Rags of Honor veterans also received free training at M&R’s corporate headquarters.
However, in the eleventh month, a new manual press was donated to the company, and the team moved into a 1,000sq ft facility. Since then, Rags of Honor has acquired an automatic press and moved to a 10,000sq ft space, printing shirts for local businesses, Big Ten conference schools, professional sports teams, and the NFL. Along the way, they decided to print on American-made shirts and adopted this motto: “They Had Our Backs. Let’s Keep the Shirt on Theirs”.
When asked about his goal for Rags of Honor, Mr Doyle said: “The mission is simple: be the largest employer of homeless veterans in the country. But we’re going to take all veterans if they need a job. And if you want to help a veteran and you want to make a difference. Buy a T shirt or give us some business – and you’ve just helped a vet.”