Otto the Orange gets a new look to help local veterans

Jason Uhlig has always been a big SU sports fan, so when he and his buddy Brian Kennedy were deployed to Afghanistan they came up with the idea of a new "military look" for Otto the Orange.

"We decided to rough him up a little bit and put our military spin on it," Uhlig says.

Uhlig and Kennedy's military Otto became a big hit on a base filled with Army National Guardsmen from New York.

"Everyone who passed by, it kind of raised their spirits up a bit," said Uhlig. "So it definitely helped when you are forward deployed."

The reaction to the new military Otto was so positive in Afghanistan that Uhlig and Kennedy decided to create a t-shirt once they got back home. The shirts went on sale at the Syracuse University bookstore last week. They're already selling out. All the proceeds from sales of the shirt are going to SU's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Jamie Alvarez says people are buying the shirts as a way to show their support for veterans and families.

"We're very grateful to be a beneficiary of the proceeds of the shirt sales to help with the programs that we do with veterans and military families," she said.

Uhlig and Kennedy formed a graphic design company called Iron Art and have also designed a new military look Dinosaur Barbeque shirt. Sales from both shirts have already raised close to $3,000 for their fellow vets.

"We never expected this much support," Uhlig explained. "We hoped and prayed for it, but to be able to help raise awareness about what the institute does to help veterans, that's nice enough for us."

You can buy the shirts at the SU Bookstore, the Carrier Dome Orange Shop and online at the Iron Art website.