GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - What if you lost the ability to walk, talk and even care for yourself? Would you have the will to inspire others?
It's what one local marine is doing through the help of a non-profit called Fashion Has Heart.
Josh Hoffman made a commitment to serve his country and through that commitment discovered what being a hero really means. Now he's found a very unique way of expressing that - without saying a word.
During his tour of duty in Fallujah, Iraq Marine Corporal Josh Hoffman was hit by a sniper. The bullet went through his neck, leaving him paralyzed, with no ability to even speak.
But that didn't break his spirit.
"Marines are very prideful and continue to carry that pride so now he's done what he had to do for his country and now it's time for us to join forces and make sure that josh continues to inspire people all around the world." Michael Hyacinthe is the founder of Fashion Has Heart. He created the non-profit in honor of his cousin who was killed in action.
The focus is to give wounded war veterans a new purpose.
For Josh, it was realizing his dream of being a t-shirt designer, "It's allowed him to utilize the mind and the heart in ways that perhaps he never used it before and it's evident in this design." says Hyacinthe who adds that Josh was involved in the entire design process, "He's very particular about the colors about designs."
And why were they particular?
Through the assistance of his care giver Josh says, "They just were."
Josh uses an alphabet code, one that care giver Amy Sutherland deciphers, "He goes through the alphabet. 1 is a-f 2 is g-l. 3 is m-r..." and so on until he completes his message.
It's an effort for josh to spell even two words but when his Fashion Has Heart team asked him to define a hero, two words was all he needed.
Those words were incorporated into Josh's t-shirt design, using the alphabet code - to describe the spirit - that makes a marine.
The Fashion Has Heart non-profit is hoping to create a t-shirt with a wounded war veteran from each branch of the service. The series is named The Corporal Hoffman Series in honor of Josh.
By Valerie Lego