Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to join the military?
I was studying medical technology (laboratory work) at the Oregon Technical Institute in the 1960s, during the draft period for Vietnam. I graduated in 1966 and knew that I was going to be drafted so I volunteered to join so that I could know when I was going in.
How long were you in the military and what branch did you serve in?
I served in the U.S. Army in the late 60s. I did my basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and from there I was transferred to Brooks Army Medical Base in San Antonio, Texas. While at Brooks, they discovered that I already had a college degree and asked me to stay on to teach staff at the lab-training center. Not caring for Texas, I joined a group of 53 Medical Specialists awaiting orders for deployment – 50 went to Vietnam, two went to Germany and I was sent to Dugway Proving Ground where I was assigned to the biological research unit. I spent part of my time in Hawaii, working out of Pearl Harbor on the only fleet that was under Army control. We did some interesting research tracking airborne bacterial clouds for thousands of miles. I also worked extensively with Botulinum toxin and researched how it reacted with technical equipment. There was one incident where the Army dispersed a nerve gas over a training ground and it was carried with the wind and storm and destroyed thousands of sheep. It was my duty to take the herd of sheep out and monitor them for 30 days.
The most rewarding duty for me was participating in military funerals for soldiers who had lost their lives in Vietnam. Although this part of my duties was depressing, it was also a considerable honor to perform the ceremonies.
What are some of the top life lessons you learned while in the military?
Working in a chain of command taught me some lessons about discipline and order. I also learned to appreciate the individuals that I served with.
How has your past experience from being active in the military helped you succeed as a business owner?
I learned the values of discipline and order. I learned that there’s a place and time for everything.
Why did you choose to open a Right at Home franchise, and what about business ownership appealed to you?
I had retired at the age of 63 and wanted to re-engage in the workforce. I didn’t want to go back to a salary position; I wanted something where I had a future and there was an ongoing opportunity for a lasting income. I investigated multiple franchise opportunities but Right at Home was the best fit for me based on my management and sales experience in the medical field.
Do you work with many veteran clients? If so, do they have a compelling story we can share? Is there a special bond between the client and caregiver? Any caregivers who are Vets who are taking care of Clients who are Vets?
We are currently serving a good number of veterans, but one that stands out is Joe. He served all over the world while enlisted in the Air Force. We originally met three years or so ago, under circumstances that we and other medical professionals did not feel he would overcome. But here we are three years later, still providing weekly service to him. Every few weeks I take him out to breakfast. He is an honest veteran that deserves many thanks from our nation.