December 9, 2019

SALENA ZITO: He Makes A Village.

Tyler Merritt has taken the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” and turned it a bit sideways. He’s building a village, literally, to allow adults to raise themselves up. His village is a stabilizing rail, or a stepping stone to a better life.

Merritt, a former special operations air mission commander, is trying to help his military brothers and sisters who have found themselves post-military service one paycheck away from financial collapse, as well as those struggling to find their way through modern civilian life, which does not begin and end with a stated purpose in the way military service does.
“Our most recent initiative is our veterans village,” said Merritt, whose post-military life makes him an unlikely entrepreneur and philanthropist as the CEO of Nine Line Apparel and president of Nine Line Foundation.

Merritt is standing outside of the massive apparel store he founded in 2012 that quickly went from a handful of employees, mostly family, to a staff of more than 240, mostly veterans. He’s also built up a deeply loyal cross-country customer base for the company’s patriotic gear.

He is unassuming, charming, and never sits still. On this bright and warm Georgia day, Merritt is pacing back and forth, phone in hand, trying to connect airline executives with families who lost loved ones in a military training accident, getting them to their family members as quickly as possible.

Read the whole thing. But you knew that because it’s by Salena Zito.

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