Veterans' Small Business Week: Veterans Deserve More Than Just Honor

By Lindsey Novak

November 5, 2020 5 min read

"Three thousand miles from home, an American army is fighting for you. Everything you hold worthwhile is at stake. Only the hardest blows can win against the enemy we are fighting. Invoking the spirit of our forefathers, the army asks your unflinching support, to the end that the high ideals for which America stands may endure upon the earth." — Gen. John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948).

"Pershing's nickname, 'Black Jack,' derived from his service with a black regiment early in his career ... his determination and dedication had gained him the respect and admiration of his men." — Britannica.

Regardless of whether a citizen supports past wars, U.S. military presence in a foreign country to maintain peace in that region, or U.S. military interference to stop genocides, Americans should help and respect those who served and currently serve the country — from veterans to first responders to all in servant leadership and service positions.

Remembering those who placed others' safety first, sometimes sacrificing their own lives in the process, is only the first step to honoring such heroes. According to The Lending Times, U.S. veteran-owned businesses, or VOBs, are essential to the overall economy. Their values and the leadership skills developed during their military service play a major role in transforming them into natural leaders. Those who successfully fall into these roles are able to overcome most of the challenges small businesses face during the startup phase. Their leadership skills can then carry them throughout their time as business owners and long after the launch. Experian analyzed four years of credit data of VOBs and non-VOBs, which revealed VOBs tend toward greater sustainability and longevity than non-VOBs. In addition to the many benefits VOBs offer their employees, 30% are also more likely to hire fellow veterans.

VOBs play an important part of the economy, and so do the businesses created to further assist veterans once they return home. One such company is Homes for Heroes Inc., which is the largest nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage and local business specialists committed to paving ways for heroes to save on a home.

Ruth John and family members created the concept of Homes for Heroes in 2002 and launched the company in 2009, setting up more than 100 affiliate real estate partners. Since 2009, Homes for Heroes has helped over 35,000 heroes save over $60 million on their real estate transactions, sold over $7.5 billion in real estate to heroes, actively partnered with 3,200 like-minded real estate and mortgage professionals who've joined in the mission, and donated over $700,000 to heroes in need through the Homes for Heroes Foundation. Shortly after 9/11, Homes for Heroes eased the path for firefighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement, military (active, reserves and veterans), health care professionals and teachers to purchase their homes.

The program grew exponentially. In 2012, more than $1 million was given back to these homebuyers, and in 2013-2014, $5 million had been given to heroes. In 2015, more than $10 million was given back, and more than $25 million in 2017. By 2018, more than 25,000 heroes had saved more than $41 million in 49 states. The program has helped 40,268 heroes so far with buying, selling and refinancing. It has saved them more than $68,373,743.

One of the 3,400 affiliates, Suzanne Vasbinder (eXp Realty, Cape Coral, Florida) not only believes it is her duty to give back to the American heroes who serve others but also guarantees "to sell her clients' homes at a time and mutually agreed on price or she will buy it herself at a mutually agreed on amount." She wanted to show clients their satisfaction meant more than just words.

The Homes for Heroes Foundation is a legal charitable organization set up to accept donations so those who have not served the country can still be part of giving to American heroes who deserve more than honor.

Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see https://www.creators.com/features/at-work-lindsey-novak.

Photo credit: JCDCreative at Pixabay

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