Marine veteran Noah Currier wants people who are facing obstacles to stay "Oscar Mike" — or "on the move."
That's why he started the Oscar Mike apparel company.
Currier, who spent four years in the Marines as an light armored vehicle crewman and rifleman, deployed to Iraq in 2003 with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
Three days after returning home from combat, Currier suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury in a car wreck. During his rehabilitation, he discovered that adaptive sporting events helped him and his fellow injured buddies.
"We knew how helpful [these sports] were for us," the former corporal said. "We just couldn't afford to get to them."
He raised funds by designing a T-shirt inspired by his brotherhood in the Marine Corps and overseas. The first shirt design included the phrase "He Who Sheds Blood With Me Shall Forever Be My Brother," which developed out of Currier misquoting Shakespeare, but the phrase stuck.
Currier realized he could create a nonprofit that raises money to send other service members and veterans to adaptive sporting events.
"When I was at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, I was listening to everyone talking about how expensive things were," he said. "They couldn't keep going if it was going to cost that much."
Together with a few other veterans in wheelchairs, Currier turned his garage into a warehouse and started selling T-shirts for each branch of service.
It took two years to be approved as a nonprofit, in 2014, but the business took off in the meantime.
"Next thing you know, we're selling a whole bunch of shirts and sending guys to adaptive sporting events all over the country," said Currier, who also hires veterans at Oscar Mike.
This year, Currier said the American-made company will bring in a little over a million dollars $1 million in net revenue. Customers can purchase the brand through Oscar Mike’s website, on base and at Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as its subsidiary Field and Stream.
Currier said Dick's Sporting Goods has a program that helps kids in underprivileged areas get involved in sports, and he really like the company's commitment to athletics.
Ron Baime, senior vice president and general merchandising manager at Dick's Sporting Goods, said the company believes sports make people better.
"It's a natural connection with Oscar Mike, whose mission is to keep America and her injured veterans 'On the Move' and active through sports," he said.
With the proceeds from selling Oscar Mike apparel, Currier and his team are able to send wounded vets to events across the country, including surfing clinics, skydiving and wheelchair rugby. Oscar Mike has helped send more than 100 wounded service members and veterans to these kinds of events, and the plan for 2017 is big: Send more than 1,000.
Currier said everyone hears the statistics about veterans suicide, but he doesn't want fellow vets to dwell on that.
"We want people to focus on improving their life," he said. "Pushing people to stay on the move."
Getting back on the move
It wasn't always easy for Currier to find motivation.
"I went through a really rough patch after the war," he said.
He was paralyzed from the neck down from the car accident, when the driver fell asleep at wheel. Then after he got back from physical therapy, his fiancé who he had been dating for seven years died in a car accident.
"I didn't talk to a human being for a couple years," Currier said.
What drives him is inspiring others to dig themselves out during tough times in their lives, and he knows it helps to have someone motivating you.
"A friend of mine told me for two years I needed to get out of my bedroom and start interacting with people again," he said. "Just as people, we're constantly making excuses for why we can't do something. When you become stronger, you remove all of the barriers you thought were there before."
The main message is to just stay on the move and never stop trying.
"People can translate that however they want," he said.