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'Suits for Veterans' receives 6x the donations expected

Mike Desmond

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he hoped for 100 suits in his initial "Suits for Veterans" campaign. Instead, 600 suits were donated and immediately taken by Colvin Cleaners for cleaning and distribution to area veterans.

On Wednesday, vets can visit the Father Belle Center on the city's West Side from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to find a civilian uniform. Colvin Cleaners will alter the suit, if needed. Colvin Cleaners' Christopher Billoni said he was happy to support the effort because members of his family served in the military.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"So anything we can do to support the troops and the veterans, the Billoni family and Colvin Cleaners is always willing to help," Billoni said. "I'm continually amazed by the generosity of our community. Western New York...is the City of Good Neighbors for a reason. If you ask them to help, they help. If you ask for 100 suits, you get over 600. We're just honored to be a part of it and as a dry cleaner willing to do our part."

Veterans One-Stop Center's Jillian Johnson said many vets don't have the civilian clothes for the job hunt.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"Having proper clothing for an interview makes a difference," Johnson said. "It sets him apart and and sets him up for success to enter into the civilian workplace. It allows them to walk into their interview, confidently, with their head held high, knowing that the millitary-honed leadership, teamwork mindset and strong sense of purpose and duty will serve them well as a future employee."

Restaurateur Russell Salvatore was an active participant in the drive. He told reporters showing up for a job interview properly dressed is important in being hired by his hotel and restaurant.

"When they come into my place well dressed, they are immediately hired," Salvatore said. "I say, if you look good, they are going to be a good employee and I'll make them good. If you look good, Russ Salvatore will make them good. It's very easy."