By Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette — For 13 years Darion Bradberry worked the line at a local factory, the whole time imagining what he would do if he could follow his dreams.
In the eyes of his friends and family, his future was secure. He had a good job and the promise of long, stable years ahead. Only it wasn’t what he saw himself doing for the rest of his life.
“I was at work one day and I was really frustrated. I kind of talked to God, I said, ‘I’m stuck in this situation. How do I get out,’ “ he remembered. “Two months later they offered buyouts to people with ten plus years.”
Those who knew him were shocked when he accepted the offer of that buyout, taking his money, packing his bags, and following a dream that he could finally chase after all those years of imagining how he could make it happen.
Bradberry, a 1991 Niagara Falls High School graduate, moved to Dallas, Texas to open a small business and create a clothing line called FreeSpirit Soldiers. The words “free spirit” came from his own style of marching to a different drummer, he said.
“Free spirit soldiers are people constantly on the move, people that see life through an open lens,” he explained. “They think outside the box and live life outside the box.”
The word “soldier” came from his resolve to follow his heart despite anything. “You have to be strong and be a soldier to keep doing what you’re doing,” he added.
His line is small, but he has plans to make it grow. There are ladies and mens T-shirts and hats, decorated with the Free Spirit Soldier emblem which he also has tattooed on his arm. “I haven’t made it yet,” he said. “We look for big things in the future but we’re not there yet.”
For more information visit www.freespiritsoldiers.com