Richmond nonprofit Boots to Suits helps veterans transition into civilian careers

Richmond organization helps veterans transition into civilian careers

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Transitioning back into society can be difficult for any veteran, and finding a steady job can be one of the biggest hurdles they’ll face.

“Boots to Suits” is a Richmond organization helping military members look the part so they can land the job they want.

Sue Farrell is behind the program and is helping Brandon Gunn trade in his fatigues for a new suit.

I plan to move back to the Arlington area, and I have a job secured up there at BWI airport," Gunn said.

The free and tailored suits given to him by “Boots to Suits” will certainly help him look the part.

“Especially for the position that I have. It will definitely be used and required,” he said.

Farrell says her nonprofit provides professional work attire for roughly 500 servicemen and women a year.

And just like Gunn, some veterans may walk-in a bit uncertain, but once they get in the dressing room and get styled - there’s a glow.

“They’re just kind of blown away looking at themselves starting their new civilian careers,” she said.

If the military is like a family, Sue married in when she fell in love with her late husband, Navy Lt. Commander Joe Farrell. He died in 2013 and left behind a wardrobe full of suits.

One year later, through a broken but giving heart, “Boots to Suits” was born - with a little help from her co-workers. Susan Cox works alongside Sue Farrell at Joyner Fine Properties.

“She’s a legend in the industry in the real estate market locally, but it’s what she does on her own time that just really inspires me to point her out to you guys,” Cox said.

When agents at Joyner heard about “Boots To Suits,” they stepped up.

“I solicited their assistance by going into their closets and try to find some things they weren’t wearing or using for our men and women. They all dug in and brought me some beautiful apparel," Farrell said.

Farrell was given $300 as part of NBC12′s Acts of Kindness to help further her mission.

"They’re great people, they’ve worked hard, they’ve served our country and they just need a little boost,” Cox said.

They say the clothes don’t make the man, but it certainly can make him feel good.

"The engagement with me was very good, we laughed and joked the entire time. It was a great experience, much better than I expected,” Gunn said.

If you would like to nominate someone for NBC12′s Acts of Kindness, email the information to kindness@nbc12.com.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.