There are moments when one small gesture can do big things to impact disaster. Such is the case with a single T-shirt, designed by a small company of 100 people in Chicago, that has raised over $80,000 for those affected by the Dallas shooting. And that number is still rising.
Grunt Style, a veteran owned and operated company, was just an idea in the mind of CEO Dan Alarik about 6 years ago, but it has since grown into an amazing effort to bring pride into every American home. After the shooting, it was decided that they wanted to design a shirt and raise some funds to help with the relief effort.
Travis Noparstak, head of Sales at Grunt Style, recounted the story for us:
“The whole thing started [with the] horrible incident that happened down in Dallas. We have a close relationship with a couple of guys down there… and started calling around to them, telling them ‘Hey, we have a shirt in design in the works, would you be interested in us doing a fundraiser for you?'”
A Design with Meaning
Ashley DeVries worked quickly to design the t-shirt. She included in the design, “…the badges, the police (the DPD) and then the DART Badge…and then, something related to Dallas, as well as… all of the names of the fallen officers. I decided to [include] the Dallas skyline because it’s pretty recognizable and then just put the blue line through it.”
Her overall goal was to make something wearable and eye-catching, but direct and meaningful.
“…I didn’t want to take away from the purpose of the shirt, you know; I didn’t want to put any added graphics or anything like that, because I wanted it to be straightforward and to the point,” Ashley said. “Yeah, it affected the whole country, but I feel like it [had] the highest impact on Dallas as a whole… I wanted it to be the focus.”
Eric Shuh, former army vet and former police officer, headed the project that would soon take off, and they finally found an organization to partner with.
The Dallas Fallen Officers foundation was started in 2009, help families of fallen officers “with funeral arrangements, financial troubles, anything of that sort,” according to Travis. The official statement on the product page states that:
“…the organization has maintained its strategic goal of lessening the financial and emotional burden placed on officers and their families following catastrophic incidents that result in the officers’ death or inability to work.Due to the wide-range of resources that officers and their families need during their times of crisis, the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation has organized for the sole purpose of supporting those families by providing: financial assistance and other supportive services centered on helping the officers’ families cope with the loss.”
For every t-shirt sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to the DFOF, around $10 per shirt. $24.98 is the total listed price. Since it’s official launch, the shirt’s sales have skyrocketed.
How a Shirt Went Viral
“Our original goal on that was only about 100,” said Travis. “One of the guys that [we contacted], his partner was one of the guys that died, he actually died over the radio. So he picked up on it and he sent it out to the rest of the DPD…and then the Dallas Fallen Officers foundation sent it out to to Dallas Fraternal Order of Police.”
News of the shirt didn’t stop there.
“One of our Department of Homeland Security guys that we’ve done shirts for sent it out to every federal office in the country… and then it kind of just took a viral life of its own.
“As of this morning we sold 8,270, so that’s $82,000 and change [raised],” Travis told us, grinning.
The numbers keep rising by the hour, and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
“We want to get the shirts in their hands as fast as possible, so we’ll probably be doing two runs of it, one sooner than later,” he said.
If you want to put in an order for a t-shirt, it won’t be around forever. The cutoff date for pre-orders is 7/27; the first run of orders will start shipping ASAP following 8/5.