Rags of Honor Aims to Help Returning Vets

July 11, 2016

As a part of its video series about successful screen printers, M&R, Roselle, Ill., recently introduced a video profile of Rags of Honor.

The decorated-apparel company was founded in Chicago by Mark Doyle following a year in Afghanistan on an anti-corruption task force. Upon return, Doyle was alarmed by the unemployment, suicide and homelessness rate among returning military veterans. Those issues inspired him to found Rags of Honor as a way to provide employment to homeless and unemployed veterans.

Doyle started by putting six veterans on the payroll, but the company wouldn’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 employees also received free training at M&R’s corporate headquarters.

After 11 months, a new manual press was donated to the company, and the team moved into a 1,000-square-foot facility. Since then, Rags of Honor has acquired an automatic press and moved to a 10,000-square-foot space, printing shirts for local businesses, Big Ten conference schools, professional sports teams and the NFL.

Along the way, the company has opted to print on American-made shirts and adopted this motto: “They Had Our Backs. Let’s Keep the Shirt on Theirs.” — M.Q.