There has been a wide variety of programs aimed at helping veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan find civilian jobs, but two servicemembers have taken things into their own hands. Thomas Wilder and Neil McCanon, both Iraq veterans, are nearing the launch of their own craft brewery, aptly called Young Veterans Brewing Co., The Associated Press reported.
Wilder and McCanon returned from Iraq in 2005 and found transitioning back to the civilian world was difficult. They went down a number of different paths, including heading back to school and finding employment in various forms, but nothing felt right. Eventually, after trying out a home brewing kit and earning positive reviews from friends, it became clear that starting the brewery was the best option. Although the businesses venture is partly about earning money, Wilder says there's more to it than that.
"For me, it's sort of my way of showing that after service there's more to do," Wilder told the AP. "For a lot of soldiers who come home, there's a lot of trouble. I've been through that, and I know what that's like."
The two high school friends aren't the only entrepreneurs in the military community, and the National Defense University Foundation is looking to give them the chance to have their business ideas heard. The first annual Veterans Venture Forum is slated for Oct. 29.