Atkinson-based graphics designer Dave Tremblay tried to shield his two sons, 7 and 9, from the devastation of the Boston Marathon bombings, especially the news that an 8-year-old was among the three who died in the blasts.
But eventually Tremblay's boys found out about the death of Martin Richard of Dorchester, whom the world has mourned since last week's tragic bombing. The boys began asking questions, like what they could do to help.
No stranger to philanthropic causes, Tremblay decided to once again use his business, Atkinson Graphics, to make a difference.
"After 911 we did the same thing and were able to donate $4,000 to the United Way. It felt good to be able to do something tangible," Tremblay said.
Tremblay designed a 'Boston Strong' T-shirt and has sold about 2,500 of them so far.
Although there are no distributors – yet – in Nashua, any business interested in carrying the shirts should contact Tremblay through his website. There is no minimum order.
Shirts sell for $10 and are currently available at three retail outlets, said Tremblay – Stateline PaySaver , 531 South Broadway, in Salem, and two stores in Plaistow, Foods Plus, 5 Plaistow Road, and Signal Street Variety, 63 Plaistow Road.
The shirts are available in all sizes, S - XXL, and also youth sizes.
Tremblay has sold 350 of the shirts to Londonderry High School through a third party to be sold at the school. He also contacted David Macary, president of the Windham Baseball Softball League, asking if he might carry a few dozen.
Macary instead ordered 350 shirts, and he certainly isn't storing them away for a rainy day.
"We have well over 300 shirts sold, just through the Windham Baseball and Softball website," said Macary. "The response has been phenomenal."
Macary said the notice that they were selling the shirts went out the night before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended by law enforcement in Watertown.
A total of $2 from every shirt will go directly to Martin Richard's family, according to Tremblay.
Massachusetts State Prison ordered 100 shirts, and another 36 T-shirts were also donated to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"They wanted to give them to their patients," said Tremblay of the hospital. "They actually still gave us a $200 donation but we told them we don't want any money.
The money donated will in turn be donated to Martin Richard's cause.
Shirt sales have come entirely through word of mouth. Since the decision was made to make the shirts, Tremblay said that all hands have been on deck at his business.
"We're all working to do this, just to get this done," said Tremblay. "We shut down all presses just for this one project."
Tremblay said that if any other local business can do something for last week's victims, they certainly need to try.
In this situation, Tremblay said that there really is no deadline to the campaign.
"We're just going to keep going," he said. "I would love to give them as much as we possibly can."