Photo of Jon Searles and George Brinegar

Tell me a little bit about yourself, and why you decided to join the military?
I think we’re all driven by some sense of purpose. My sense of purpose, even as a small child, has always been to serve others. Serving in the military was a great outlet for that desire.

How long were you in the military and what branch did you serve in?
I spent a total of 28 years in the armed forces after being commissioned in 1982 as a lieutenant. I was deployed to Korea and Iraq, spending the majority of my career as an Armor Officer, Tank Battalion Commander, Task Force Commander and finally Brigade Commander. I finished my career as a Deputy Commanding General overseeing operations of an army division.

What are some of the top life lessons you learned in the military?
In order to complete a task you need to be committed, but you also need to be driven. You need to be driven by a sense of purpose and not by an amount of money. If you’re driven by money, you’re going to be disappointed at some point. If you’re committed and driven with some sort of purpose that values the betterment and protection of society, and if you understand that it is more important to serve others, it typically works out in the end. Selflessness is another value that I learned while serving. I learned that it’s not all about me; it’s about our society and culture. Although it’s appealing to think “what’s in it for me,” it’s fool’s gold. Unfortunately it took me 28 years to learn that, but having worked through conflicts in other countries, you truly begin to see the importance of a democracy.

How has your past experience from being active in the military helped you succeed as a business owner?
My experience with serving in the military is aligned with the industry I am in now—Right at Home is an outlet for me to continue my service to others. People thought that coming into this industry was very different for me but if you peel back the onion, it’s the same core. If you look at the military, it’s about service and taking care of human beings.

Why did you choose to open a Right at Home franchise, and what about business ownership appealed to you?
It’s not that dramatic of a lifestyle change. If I were to have become a bank president or a CPA, that’d be different, but here, nearly all of our daily efforts are geared toward service and serving others. Whether it’s seven in the morning or evening, there are still seniors that need to be fed, taken care of and looked after. Considering that, it was a pretty sensible, logical transition for me.

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?
Serving in the military here in Central Texas is a very noble thing to do. It’s not uncommon for the majority of seniors here, especially the males, to have served. The lifestyle here is that you’re expected to serve and do your part but that makes you no different. Most of the time we don’t know that our clients have served until we build a relationship with them. Once we get to that point, we begin to hear bits and pieces about their story but typically they don’t start out with that. There’s so many veterans that we serve, and so many of them will just say, “Hey George, my gosh, this reminds me of the time I was in the South Pacific in 1944…” but most of the time it’s an intimate moment where they just talk for a few minutes and then they move on and do something else.

My daughter is a lieutenant nurse in the army and people ask about her, but military service is not anything significant or earth shattering other than that’s what just what she’s supposed to be doing at some point. The other co-owner’s son is in the army and just returned from Afghanistan last week. It may seem significant to someone on the outside, but in Central Texas, it’s just what people do.