Military life comes with plenty of challenges — living at the whim of the DoD, the moves, the separations. It also comes with an incredible opportunity to meet people who are defying the odds and living a life that inspires.
There is a remarkable depth and range to the ways that veterans are contributing to their communities during and after their service – building small businesses, demonstrating perseverance, and inspiring those around them. Whether they are in the national spotlight or quietly serving their local area, our veterans are changing their world. Here are just a few examples of such leaders:
Flip & Christie Johnson, US Navy
Flip and Christie Johnson are tackling entrepreneurship and active duty military life simultaneously, and they’re doing it with style! In 2013, the couple combined Christie’s love of fashion and their desire to serve those in need when they opened Purpose, a boutique with a mission to give back.
Located in Bremerton, WA, Purpose has seen tremendous growth, first expanding to a larger space, then to a second location. And there are no signs that they are slowing down. Next up for the shop? An exclusive clothing line. Purpose is “collaborating and partnering with multiple empowerment manufacturers to produce an adorable, affordable Purpose clothing line made with hope and dignity by survivors of injustice. ”
Jeff Rose, Army National Guard
The author of Soldier of Finance, Jeff Rose served in the Army National Guard as he was building a career as a financial advisor. During his nine years of service, Rose deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While there, he continued his professional development, attaining the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation before returning home in 2006. Since then, Rose has written a best seller, Soldier of Finance, founded GoodFinancialCents.com (a Top 10 money blog you should read, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance), and has been featured on Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Kiplingers, and Fox Business.
CPT DJ Skelton, US Army
On November 6, 2004, then LT DJ Skelton was struck by a rocket propelled grenade and AK-47 fire while investigating a suspected IED in Fallujah, Iraq. In an ABC News interview from 2014, Skelton says that while he is missing one eye, has only partial use of his left arm, is missing the roof of his mouth (so cannot eat or drink without a custom prosthetic), and has limited mobility in one ankle, “Those are the details. The reality? I rock climb, run marathons, mountaineer, ice climb, pogo stick, hula hoop… I just figure out new ways to do the old!”
During six years of recovery, CPT Skelton underwent more than 60 surgeries while also completing a fellowship at Harvard, writing a caretaker’s guidebook for wounded service members, serving as military adviser to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, and co-founding Paradox Sports, a nonprofit that helps those with physical disabilities to participate in outdoor sports such as rock-climbing. He fought to return to active duty and returned to combat in 2011 to command the company he was serving with when wounded!
These are just three of the many stories of vets who are using their lives to inspire and give back to their communities, their compatriots or the world at large…
We want to know:
Is there a veteran in your life that inspires you? We would love to hear their story!