A new Springfield clothing company has created a line of inspirational T-shirts, included many targeted for children with disabilities.
Three Springfield residents founded Vanguard 937 — Blake Shaffer of LWS Accounting, Springfield USA member Ethan Dewhurst and teacher Thor Bisher.
They decided to make specially designed T-shirts for special needs children when Shaffer noticed his son, Landon, who has Menke’s disease, was happier when he wore interesting clothing.
“When Landon wears cool clothes, people interact with him so much more,” Shaffer said.
A grand opening event was held at the Hub Gallery in downtown Springfield last week to celebrate the start of the company and sell T-shirts. About 500 to 600 people attended and more than 300 T-shirts were sold.
The company provides apparel for people of all ages. Many of the designs feature wheelchairs while others have Ohio and “937 Pride” themes. One features an astronaut in front of the moon and says, “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
Currently the company has marketed clothing for young children, high school students and young adults. The shirts can be purchased online at vanguard937.com.
Shaffer wanted to share his Springfield pride with the community through his company.
“We named it Vanguard 937 because ‘vanguard’ means a group of people spreading new ideas, and 937 represents Springfield,” Shaffer said. “We will always stay in Springfield.”
Shaffer and his associates work closely with professional designers to sketch high quality clothing designs, he said. The goal is to promote living life to the fullest and being active.
The company has already issued a photo shoot featuring young Springfield locals wearing new designs.
“Kids with disabilities will be able to say ‘I’m the kid others want to be,’” Shaffer said. “The purpose is to make them happy.”
For every T-shirt sold, Vanguard 937 will donate a dollar to the Make a Wish Foundation.
“It’s such a great organization,” Shaffer said. “We want to give someone in Springfield the opportunity to make a wish.”
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