Hartland, WI (PRWEB) November 11, 2008
A new Web site by pilots, for pilots, http://www.wings4aviators.com, custom-embroiders U.S. military aviator's wings and call signs on quality shirts and jackets. To honor veterans, the company is donating 10% of the proceeds of every sale to the Families of the Wounded Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity.
"There are a lot of ex-pilots like me who are proud of their military careers, call signs, squadrons and where they got trained," says RF-4 pilot Chuck Miller, Captain USMC Retired.
This thought gave Miller an idea. "Instead of buying a $400 flight jacket, why not be able to put military wings and your call sign on a shirt or light jacket?" he asked. When Miller mentioned his idea to private pilot and entrepreneur Russell Gnant, Wings4Aviators was born.
Wings4Aviators' new Web site offers veteran military pilots a way to wear their memories with pride. The site's squadron reunion headquarters also lets pilots announce upcoming reunions and report on recent gatherings.
Perfecting the embroidered wings took a lot of time and attention to detail. "We found that the only way we could get the wings exactly as we wanted them was to do the embroidery ourselves," Gnant explains. "So we bought our own equipment and invested a year in digitizing the full line of embroidered wings." Wings4Aviators then became a division of Gnant's CD-duplicating company, Spectrum Digital Services in suburban Milwaukee.
Wings4Aviators offers embroidered wings for all U.S. service branches. "Each set of wings has up to 12,000 stitches," says Gnant. "We wanted to capture the intricate detail of military pilot wings. The embroidery uses finely layered stitching and even a metallic thread for highlights. These shirts and jackets make a perfect gift -- and the web site makes it easy to outfit an entire squadron for a reunion."
"Through the years, I've had a lot of naval aviation polo shirts," says Charlie Allison, Lt. Col. USMC Retired, who recently purchased a Wings4Aviators shirt. "But the quality of the Wings4Aviators embroidery is exceptional -- the best I've seen, hands down. And Wings4Aviators embroiders the pilot's call sign on the sleeve. I've never seen anyone else customize like that."
As Miller and Gnant started spreading the word about Wings4Aviators, they contacted former Vietnam POW Paul Galanti, Cdr. USN Retired. "Paul introduced us to the Families of the Wounded Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity in which he is involved," Gnant recalls. That's when Miller and Gnant decided to donate 10% of the proceeds from every sale to that charity to support the families of service men and women wounded in the line of duty.
"Being involved with the Families of the Wounded Fund is the most worthwhile thing I've ever done in my life," says Galanti. "It's a big missing element in how the government is taking care of our veterans. They're trying to do good by them; everybody wants to recognize them."
"But what's been overlooked are the families," Galanti explains. "The worst-wounded service men and women often go to hospitals where there's no military base nearby, and the families don't have any support system."
"The Families of the Wounded Fund gives military families cash grants to tide them over and help them get on their feet," says Galanti. "And we've found that when the hospitalized service men and women are around their families, they heal faster."
"Otherwise, wounded service men and women can feel like a number in a strange hospital," Galanti explains. "They don't have anyone to talk to. When they have their family members around them, they do much better. There have been several miraculous cases where the doctors attribute a big share of the credit to having family members nearby."
"Some family members even give up their jobs to be with their wounded relative," says Galanti. "We give them money to use for whatever they need. And unlike most charities, the Families of the Wounded Fund distributes 100% of the money it receives directly to the cause. "At our fundraisers, we make everybody -- including our guest speaker -- pay," he says. "Even our bank has donated its services."
"I like the fact that Wings4Aviators is donating to the families of wounded vets," says Allison. "How appropriate for military vets to give to military families."
For more information on the Families of the Wounded Fund, visit http://www.familiesofthewoundedfund.org.
For a selection of finely embroidered shirts and jackets for military aviators, visit http://www.wings4aviators.com.
Wings4Aviators is a division of Spectrum Digital Services, LLC, based in Hartland, Wisc. Visit http://www.spectrumdigitalservices.com.