MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — New York native Gonzalo Duran served proudly in the U.S. Marines for eight years, even doing a tour in Iraq during the height of the war.
“Coming from the Bronx is one thing,” Duran said. “That’s one juggle in and of itself. Being thrown into somewhere like Iraq in a war zone, it’s a totally different situation.”
Transitioning back to civilian life proved even more difficult. Duran found himself homeless and looking for work. That’s when he discovered Save-A-Suit, an organization that pairs veterans with professional attire that has been donated by people in the community.
“They were nice enough to drop off the suit in the Bronx to me,” Duran said of his suit.
After his first interview, he was offered a job.
“I knew my resume was great but the confidence that suit gave me pushed me above,” Duran explained.
Now, Save-A-Suit is continuing their mission to help veterans with their pop up store at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford.
”For every 10 ties we sell, we’re able to suit up a veteran with a beautiful suit that comes with a dress shirt and ties,” explained Chou Pan, an intern with Save-A-Suit who helped set up the store.
Ties start at $5.
“We also have a raffle fundraiser going on, and we have some amazing prizes such as a Keurig machine, gift cards to Target, Bar Louie, etc.,” Pan said.
The money raised at the store will go towards a big event on June 28th where a number of veterans will be outfitted.
“Hosting such an event can be really costly,” Pan explained. “We incur a lot of operational costs such as storing, sorting, cleaning and transporting the donations to our location, so the more funds that we raise allows us to help more veterans in need.”
Veterans like Duran, who is now paying it forward with his own non-profit.
“Getting readjusted back into the community has always been my focus so from there I opened my organization Devil Dawg USA and our goal is to help bridge the gap between the community and veterans.”
Do you have a dress shirt, tie or suit you’d like to donate? You can drop it off at Save-A-Suit’s pop-up store throughout June. If you’re a veteran who would like to receive a suit, sign up for their event on June 28th by visiting SaveASuit.org.