There’s a certain talent and skill that goes into making sure every U.S. military uniform is “strac.” A special group in Talladega is credited with making that happen. The Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) manufactures neckties for all branches of the U.S. military.
The workers are a part of the AbilityOne Program, which is among the nation’s largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
“We’re the only producer of those neckties in the nation,” said Donovan Beitel, Diversity and Outreach coordinator for AIB. “Our workers, whether they be blind or deaf or whether they be deaf-blind, get the opportunity to produce a meaningful product every day.”
The plant produces up to 500,000 neckties a year, and each necktie is labeled with a special logo that that says it’s made by the workers at the Alabama Industries for the Blind. Many consider making the ties a source of pride and a way to give back to those who help ensure the nation’s freedoms.
“Doing it for the military, that’s great,” said David Marshall, a production worker at the plant. “I think it’s a high honor to me, just to do for them and be a part of it.”
“Our true mission is we serve the military and we create a product and it’s not just a tie. The product that we really make is our people,” Beitel said.