If you count yourself among the many students who walk along the bottom level of Village A apartments on Prospect Street throughout the day, you’ve probably noticed one apartment’s unorthodox choice of decorations. Instead of movie posters and beer cans, apartment H104’s windows are filled with shirts, hats and signs encouraging all who pass to stop by and buy some gear. This is not, however, just an entrepreneurial endeavor on campus. Ian Gaston (COL ’13), the man behind the display, has set up shop at Georgetown as a distributor and representative for the organization Salute the Brave.

CHRIS GRIVAS FOR THE HOYA
CHRIS GRIVAS FOR THE HOYA

Salute the Brave, started at the University of Southern California by  student Ryan Morris, has a simple premise: sell clothing to give clothing. While this strategy has been used by many other brands, notably TOMS Shoes and the One Laptop per Child Initiative, to gain increased market presence, Salute the Brave has its own unique and patriotic twist. For every hat sold, Salute the Brave, through a partnership with Project Gratitude, will send one to American troops stationed overseas as part of a morale-boosting care package. Gaston found himself inspired by Morris’s mission to give back and soon became a campus representative, along with fellow Georgetown student Chris Bisanzo (COL ’12).

Salute the Brave sells more than just hats. The organization’s website has a wide variety of products available, including shirts, tanks and sweatshirts, and features special merchandise customized for a few states and regions. Gaston says, “In addition, as we expand the organizations representative base, we have been offering to specialize logos for teams or any other organization, group or club that purchases a minimum of 25 items.”

As representatives of the organization, Gaston and Bisanzo serve mainly as salesmen, placing their orders for supplies from the company’s website and collecting a modest commission for the products they sell. According to Gaston, “The money is not the issue, but rather the thought of how those U.S. Armed Forces individuals will feel upon receiving these gifts and how great it must feel to know that there are people out there that are so very grateful for the work they risk their lives doing daily.”

The future is looking bright for Salute the Brave at Georgetown. With a growing presence on campus and a soon-to-be-announced promotional event at Epicurean. Gaston and Bisanzo are confident in their expectations of continued strong sales.

Purchases from Support the Brave can be made via phone (419) 787-1054, through email (ing4@georgetown.edu) or in person at Village A H104.

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