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‘Good idea’ turns great as company helps vets

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 6:57 p.m. CDT

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Johnny Buchta, a 2004 St. Charles North High School graduate, said he believed he and his two friends had a good idea when they launched True Hero Ties, a company created to benefit veterans organizations, on Veterans Day last year.

He didn’t expect it would take off like it did.

“We just sold out a couple of days ago,” Buchta said Friday.

True Hero Ties sells two styles of ties that are red, white and blue and branded with the company’s logo, an artistic representation of the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima. Half of each purchase is donated to the customer’s choice of the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes For Our Troops, Military Order of the Purple Heart or Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

About $5,000 has been raised for the organizations so far, Buchta said.

“We’re pretty proud,” he said.

The 26-year-old developed True Hero Ties with two friends he met at Indiana’s DePauw University: Matt Newill and Ryan Tinker. About 12-18 months ago, Buchta said, he and Newill saw a “60 Minutes” piece on the large number of homeless U.S. military veterans. The story hit them hard, he said. Not only were many of the veterans their age, he said, but he and his friends also come from families who have veterans in their bloodline.

“We wanted to do something about it,” Buchta said.

The idea for True Hero Ties came together quickly, he said, noting they were inspired by the One for One Movement. It matches every pair of TOMS Shoes purchased with a pair of new shows given to a child in need.

With the True Hero Ties, Buchta said, they hope to raise awareness and money for veterans while connecting everyday people to the veterans in an everyday fashion.

Although Buchta, Newill and Tinker are in different cities – Chicago, Denver and Cincinnati – they work together in filling orders they get through their website, Buchta said. They wear their ties to work and to parties, trying to spread the word any way they can, he said. They are working to establish a retail presence, he said, and they say they have been contacted by a retailer about creating a partnership.

The speed at which True Hero Ties has caught on is humbling, Buchta said, noting Butler University men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens has been seen wearing their striped tie.

“We thought that we had a good idea,” Buchta said.

Even though they are currently donating proceeds only to national organizations, Buchta said they would love to help local veterans organizations. They can be contacted at true@trueheroties.com, he said.

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