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US armed forces veteran unveils embroidered jeans
Jan '12
Charles Keel has traded his fatigues for blue jeans. After serving a decade in the United States Armed Forces, the Lebanon native has taken on a new role as CEO of NYA Clothing Brand.The brand features the Hero Line of made in the U.S.A. jeans for men and women with Army-inspired embroidery.

However, Keel's mission is not just fabric deep.” The end game is to help somebody," he said. Keel promised that 25 percent of every purchase will benefit a charitable foundation to "help our heroes that help us." He is currently working with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Keel said that he was inspired to start the clothing line by his brothers in the armed forces who were wounded.

"I started seeing the impact on how everything actually is. [Veterans] have to struggle because they have sustained injuries of some type," he said. Keel referenced one friend who was injured while serving.

"They discharged him. He gets to keep his ID and things and they said, 'You can go get any medical treatment you need at any base – but the problem is he lives six hours from the nearest base ... The government doesn't give home health care aid," Keel said.

"Even if they do cover that person, the families can't survive. The wives are consumed with medical care and have hard times finding full-time jobs. The children suffer as well. "There is no reason [a veteran] should be suffering when they've given so much."

Keel said that he decided to create jeans first because other clothing items have been played out. "No one has touched on jeans. No one is doing this – a pair of jeans has come a long way. Jeans are not just your leisure time wear," he said.

"Last Sunday, I went to TPAC and saw 'The Nutcracker.' People were wearing jeans with a nice shirt, a tie and a sports coat. "Jeans have come from what you would wear after school or working in the yard to now, I will guarantee you, that 85 percent of wherever you go, and you will see jeans."

NYA Clothing Brand does not currently have a storefront, but Keel hopes to carry the brand nationwide and plant company headquarters in Lebanon.

"I am from Lebanon and want to show Lebanon love first and keep the store local. Anyone can order online, but I want to give back to this community," he said. "I've been all over the world, but like a boomerang, it all comes back to Lebanon. Even if it is just one simple store, it would be special."

Keel is joined in the venture by Public Relations Officer Adam White and Creative Designer Kevin Shadwick. "He showed up on my doorstep and said, 'Get the word out.'" White said. "We've got some local supporters that are backing us – Tressler & Associates and Clark Boyd. There will be more to come soon."

NYA Clothing Brand

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Courtesy: UN Department of Public Information

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