Today is Veteran’s Day here in the United States. This day was set aside to all those living and past that sacrificed everything to preserve our freedoms.
Forbes magazine published a holiday-themed article today called “Vetrepreneurship” by Mark Rockefeller which profiled 25 start-up companies that were recently launched by veteran service personnel. From tech to food preparation, the list is broad and is a testament to the training and discipline that were no doubt drilled into each founder during their tours of duty. These launches have attracted capital from Silicon Valley and are doing quite nicely in a less than robust economic environment.
I wanted to tell you the story of another vetrepreneur that I have had the great privilege of knowing for three years now and who I finally got to meet in person this past April. I had first heard about this soldier in 2013 although at the time, didn’t know that he was actually on active duty in Afghanistan. He happened to be on a few webinars I had participated in and, like the rest of us, was trying to learn new 21st century internet marketing skills. Although none of the webinar participants knew it at the time, he was attending these webinars while in a bunker in Afghanistan during his off duty time. The fact that he was able to participate in an online discussion from somewhere in the middle of nowhere in less than safe and secure conditions is a story for another time however.
It was during this soldier’s third tour of duty that he decided that this tour would be his last. His goal was simple: to acquire enough internet marketing clients on his next furlough home so that he had an ongoing business ready for him to manage and grow upon his retirement from the Army. His wife had just given birth to their first child, a boy, and Afghanistan was about as far away from where he wanted to be at that time. Doing internet marketing from Afghanistan for these new clients would be hard, but not impossible. Fortunately, the time zone differences actually worked in his favor as business hours in the U.S. coincided with late night in his bunker in Asia – a good time to make calls, prepare reports and deploy internet assets.
Fast forward three years and this same soldier now has a second child (born just last week) and a new home and a happy life back here in the U.S. There are no doubt countless stories just like this each day from veterans that served in the Middle East or any of the other corners of the World. This is a quiet story, however. You won’t read about it in the newspapers, or see it on the nightly news, but like the vetrepreneurs highlighted in Mr. Rockefeller’s Forbes’ article, it too is a story of success, of grit, of making a plan and sticking to it. It is also a tale of applying military precision and adding a creative mindset that is able to adapt to any environment in the pursuit of a worthy goal.
To all the sung and unsung heroes that have served this country with honor and their last full measure of devotion, we salute you this Veteran’s Day 2016.
By Amada Munroe