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Clothier providing suits to shooting victims' family members

A back view of a suit with the inscription "JEFFERSON ST. STRONG" on it.
Mike Desmond
St. Brian Clothiers is helping the families of the victims of the May 14 mass shooting at the Jefferson Avenue Tops supermarket.

It’s a very unusual example of recycling going on in a commercial building at Main and East Utica streets.

St. Brian Clothiers takes in donations of men’s clothes that are in good shape and turns them into clothing a man can proudly wear to a job interview or a funeral.

That was why Bruce Howard was there Tuesday. He needs a good appearance for the funeral of his aunt, Geraldine Talley, a victim of the May 14 shooting and a woman he describes as always properly dressed.

Howard said a good appearance is important at events like his aunt’s funeral and a job interview.

“That's important because perception outweighs reality, sometimes, and a lot of people out here, they don't dress as professionals and a lot of people judge them and it's sad, because if you sit down with some of them, you see how educated and how smart some of them really are. They just need somebody to help,” Howard said.

St. Brian Proprietor Dewitt Lee said a good appearance can help a man get through a tragic event and help the others who are there.

“How obviously stressful and overwhelming that pain is. We wanted to make sure that the men who have to go through this ordeal were strong and equipped to help their families get through it. And if we can get them in here, put a great suit on them and just give them some great service and love, some brotherly love, then they would be strengthened and encouraged and be able to continue the race,” Lee said.

Retired lawyer Tim Cashmore was one of the people who stopped by to pass along some of the suits he no longer needs for a good future use.

Cashmore said appearance can be important on the job.

“I think that, especially in the legal profession, we want people to look presentable so that clients and courts and so forth would respect them more, for the way they dressed,” Cashmore said.

Impeccably dressed Lee would agree and is ready for that next man needing wardrobe help or for the support and counseling St. Brian also offers in that space.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.