Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to join the military?
The honest answer is that college was not in my future—it wasn’t something my family grew up with. We typically went into the police force or fire department. I was going to get drafted, so I joined voluntarily and made the three-year commitment. I wanted to be a helicopter pilot or in some airborne position, but I couldn’t do that because it turned out that I had very slight color vision problems. So instead of that, a representative talked to me and asked me to join Army Intelligence. It was a good decision for me because it was during the middle of the Vietnam War. Being a helicopter pilot or ranger during that time probably wasn’t going to be good for my health. Life takes care of you in ways you don’t realize.
How long were you in the military and what branch did you serve in?
I signed up with Army Intelligence in 1964 and was on active duty until 1967. I was a Sergeant E5 and served in Vietnam in 1966, where I was attached to the 5th Special Forces Group and the 1st Infantry Division.
As a trained intelligence operative, my sole purpose was to locate and free American prisoners of war. The majority of my time was spent in the field gathering information and conducting operations to locate and free those prisoners. Unfortunately, the Viet Cong would not surrender their prisoners alive and we were never able to accomplish our mission, which was frustrating for the team and me. We did recover the bodies of three American prisoners and were at least able to offer their families some closure.
What are some of the top life lessons you learned in the military?
Persistence. My assignments in the Special Forces focused on working to free American prisoners captured in the south. It was very difficult to get information and track them. It took a long time but you had to be focused and persistent.
How has your past experience from being active in the military helped you succeed as a business owner?
There’s an inherent discipline while being in service, so that plus working with a wide range of people gave me invaluable insight into human nature. My experience also taught me to focus and make sure that I always have a plan. You have to try and accommodate the curve balls that come at you, even when running a business.
Why did you choose to open a Right at Home franchise, and what about business ownership appealed to you?
My mother had been in the hospital and had received horrible care. She wasn’t being fed and she couldn’t feed herself. There were times when I would visit and she wouldn’t have any sheets on her bed or the oxygen hadn’t been attached. I talked to a social worker and she said we could hire our own aid to sit with her and take care of her, so that’s what we did.
I was winding down my own computer consulting business, which I had for about 20 years. I always had home care in the back of my mind after my mother’s experience so I started researching home aid companies. Right at Home impressed me the most, especially their senior management team—they had their eye on the ball, had a good business plan and great personalities. I officially signed with Right at Home at the end of 2002.
My transition from computer consulting to in-home care was big. It’s a completely different mindset; with consulting the focus is on business and profits and deliverables, and with Right at Home it’s the same focus but it’s not about finances, it’s about services. We want to make sure that people are safe, that their needs are met and that there’s a continuance of care. Our focus is not on the dollars; it’s on the person. I’m lucky to have a franchise that I like and that provides a service that is sometimes fun, sometimes sad, but always fulfilling.