KALIDA – If you ask William Romes why he established the Eighth Order in Kalida, expect an unequivocal answer.
“This is the community my wife comes from, and she accepted me without asking questions,” said Romes, who started the business two years ago with fellow military veteran Tom Kerr.
Romes, who served in the US Air Force, now helps Americans in another capacity: as president of the Eighth Order, which sells clothing derived in part from used military clothing, he claimed that the strength of a city comes from the pride of its citizens.
According to the company’s website, it is “dedicated to telling stories of veterans through the lens of their combat uniforms.”
The concept of the Eighth Order stemmed from the fact that the insignia of Rome and Kerr were almost going to be wasted in their closets. The duo agreed it was imperative that their next effort positively impact the veterans.
Their state of mind: why not roll up their sleeves for a daily necessity such as wearing clothes and thus allay the apprehension of veterans?
“The original idea was that there can be a lot of anxiety related to the transition from military to civilian life, so let’s add something familiar and confident to this town shirt that ‘Joe’ is on the point to wear during a job interview, ”explained Romes. “Something he’s been tested in. “
Kerr, for his part, said Eighth Order is a passionate project that almost didn’t get off the ground. “William came to me with the idea, knowing that I was his harshest critic and expecting me to say it was stupid. But I thought it was great,” said Kerr, who has known Romes since 2008.
The business, Kerr pointed out, is a chance to honor those who have served the country and simultaneously provide a platform for sharing stories and preserving its legacy.
“Knowing that we can help make a difference in our veterans community, it means that I have never really stopped serving my country,” he said. “I can just do it from home rather than a far away country.”
As is often the case with such businesses, a percentage of the profits go to veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. Ten percent is the minimum baseline “no matter what,” Romes explained, but up to 50% of Eighth Order revenue also goes to organizations such as the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation and Camp Southern. Ground, based in Georgia.
“The additional amounts depend on a particular initiative that we are working on” at any time, he said.
Romes, whose work was recently featured on a segment of the national morning show “Fox & Friends,” said model maker Meilin Schneider who designs the products for Eighth Order in Chicago, where they are also made.
He encouraged anyone interested to follow the company via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Orders for Eighth Order clothing can be placed online at Eighthorder.com or in person at 200 E. North St., Suite 101, in Kalida – where Romes feels right at home.
“We weren’t going to put the business elsewhere,” he said.
Military veterans Tom Kerr, left, and William Romes run the Eighth Order clothing business in Kalida. Romes is the chairman, while Kerr is the director of business development.
Contact James Luksic at 567-242-0399.