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Oscar Mike: Noah Currier’s mission to empower injured veterans inspires hope and healing

| Source: milwaukeeindependent.com
Spinal Cord Injury: ,

The founder of Oscar Mike, a million-dollar apparel company focused on supporting injured veterans, receives his care at the Milwaukee VA. Noah Currier, who is passionate about wheelchair sports, will be fitted for a new wheelchair on March 13 in preparation for the upcoming National Quad Rugby Invitational.

Oscar Mike is sponsoring the National Quad Rugby Invitational in Rockford, Illinois from March 28 to 30. There are currently more than 200 slots available for area athletes.

Thanks to friends at Paralyzed Veterans of America, Currier regained his motivation to play competitive sports and the experience change the direction of his life, along with countless other injured veterans.

In 2003, Currier died only three days after returning home from his deployment in Iraq. He had survived previous combat tours to Afghanistan, beginning just days after the World Trade Center attack. He was also one of the first Marines to cross the border into Iraq. During those missions Currier saw a lot of combat, but always came back unscathed.

In California, doctors revived Currier and saved his life after an accident, but he has been in a wheelchair ever since. Paralyzed from the chest down with a little movement in his arm, Currier was only 21 when he was injured. He fell into a deep depression before friends forced him to go to the VA’s Winter Sports Clinic, where he learned to ski down a mountain in Colorado.

“When I felt that wind in my face and realized I could still be an athlete, that changed everything,” Currier said.

Currier went on to start the Oscar Mike clothing company with VA loans. The company makes American-made military apparel and brought in more than $1 million in 2018. The term “Oscar Mike” comes from military radio jargon used on the front lines. It translates to “On the Move.” To Currier, being Oscar Mike means being active, staying positive, and living life to its absolute fullest.

The company was founded on a group of veterans, athletes, artists, and individuals from all walks of life who want to embody the spirit of hard work. They share their “On the Move” mission with injured veterans, under the belief that by staying active and focusing on the next goal, anyone can realize their full potential.

Oscar Mike also helps rehabilitate disabled veterans and individuals via adaptive sporting events like rock climbing, kayaking, off-roading, and even skydiving. These efforts are organized by The Oscar Mike Foundation, with 100% of the profits going to support its mission. Currier lives off his disability benefits.

“All of us buy military shirts and stuff like that online, but you can’t find anything that’s American-made. It all comes from Pakistan or China. So, we wanted to make ourselves stand out.”

In addition to military shirts, hoodies, and hats, they also sell clothes with the Oscar Mike logo, and the phrase that has become his motto: “He who sheds blood with me will forever be my brother.” Currier hires other disabled veterans for the company. There is a link on the web site where people can donate, with 100% of the contributions going to veterans to pay their way to the sports clinics and wheelchair games.

Dr. Ken Lee, the Milwaukee VA Spinal Cord Injury director and big advocate for the adaptive sports programs, said Currier is a great example of how the VA can help veterans see there is more to life after an injury.

“I feel like a proud father,” Lee said. “When I first met Noah, he was so quiet, and I didn’t know if he had something like this in him, but it was a quiet resolve, and I’m so happy for him. I truly believe in sports as a springboard for these guys to get back into life,” Lee said. “With the Wheelchair Games, patients see that they can still play sports, and once they see that, they realize they can do anything.”

Oscar Mike officially kicked off Veterans Day 2011, only three months after Currier got home from the Wheelchair Games.

By Gary Kunich, Milwaukee Independent

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