3,000 wardrobes sent to Jacksonville veterans

'Suits for Soldiers' project helps veterans transition to civilian workforce

Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:32:26 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 18 2012 07:23:14 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Soldiers are suiting up for a different kind of mission as part of the Wounded Warriors Project and Dignity U Wear. With everything from dress shirts, slacks, shoes, belts and ties, 3,000 professional wardrobes were boxed up and sent to veterans in Jacksonville.

"I'm definitely going to use it, going to take it and clean it up and wear it on my first job interview," said Brian Torres.

The items were donated through the Wounded Warriors Project and Dignity U-Wear's "Suits for Soldiers" program. The program focuses on helping service men and women make a successful transition to the civilian workforce.

"These guys have all been to Iraq and Afghanistan, have been injured in combat and they're trying to move past their injuries and reintegrate into civilian population," said Wounded Warrior Project's Chris Rick.

Veteran Philip LaMonica is now the proud owner of a $1,200 suit from Brooks Brothers. For LaMonica, the program is about much more than just new clothes, it's about providing a new life.

"I'm moving on and doing things I didn't think I could do since I've been out," said LaMonica.

As part of this program, veterans complete two academic semesters where they learn how to write resumes and attend workshops and networking before they work alongside local businesses that can give them a new job. Organizers say it's a powerful way of giving back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much.

"You can see the physical change, you know they're whole demeanor changes, it moves them and it moves us as well," said Rick.