GREEN BAY – Richard White wanted to continue serving his community after serving in the US Navy. With years of experience in retail and business management, he took a job with a company he believed would provide a valuable service locally.
“This gives us (veterans) that opportunity again,” he said of his employer.
White served four years in the Navy aboard the USS Wisconsin stationed in Northern Virginia. When he suffered his neck injury in an accident in Green Bay, he was planning to move to Florida to start a franchise of veteran-owned companies, Jdog Junk Removal and Hauling.
Instead of starting a company, White became operations manager for the Jdog franchise, which serves the Brown County area, Fox Valley, and even Milwaukee and Madison. Its central office is at his 312 W. Northland Ave. in Appleton.
Owned by a married veteran couple, the franchise focuses on junk removal and hauling, but White says it offers a wide range of services.
Catherine Peters launched her Fox Valley-based franchise in 2020 and has seen a 27% increase in revenue since then. Her local Jdog business, which now has 14 employees, hopes to relocate to a new location in Little Her Chute and have more storage capacity, said Peters of her electronic said in an email.
According to the company’s website, the Jdog franchise donates 25% of sales to veterans’ organizations, Goodwill and other charities.
Veteran-run businesses and veteran workers fill a variety of niches while generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact annually across Northeast Wisconsin. Still, many veterans rely on social benefits because they struggle to maintain employment and struggle with mental health issues, addiction, and homelessness.
Veteran US companies produce millions of dollars a year
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a budget of $338.73 billion for 2022 benefits programs and departmental administration. Of that, Wisconsin is getting him $3.5 billion for his 390,000 veterans, said Joseph Orrick, director of his office at Brown County Veterans Services.
Brown County has 15,000 veterans and 5,000 veterans widows, all of whom participate in veterans affairs programs for insurance and compensation, compensation and pensions, education and vocational rehabilitation and employment, medical costs, construction and financing. He said he could attend
“We have to remember that these people voluntarily went to serve their country,” Aurich said.
This year, Brown County veterans are receiving $6.2 million in benefits. Brown County benefits are nearly $130 million each year. In addition to labor income and other income, he adds $196.6 million in goods and services, and veterans have an economic impact of just over $400 million on Brown County’s economy, Aulik said. said.
“Veterans are highly sought after for employment because of their dedication and dedication,” he said. .”
According to a recent SCORE.org report, veterans own 9.1% of all U.S. businesses, employ nearly 6 million Americans, and generate $1 trillion in annual revenue.
Despite the impact, many veterans still lack the basics
Nevertheless, there are veterans who struggle just to maintain a consistent source of food, safety and shelter.
As of August, the Green Bay shelter had 76 homeless veterans, said Gail Knoll, secretary of Veterans No. 1. This nonprofit aims to provide safe and supportive veteran community small homes to local veterans in need of temporary, affordable housing.
Together with her husband, Kim Noll, president of the non-profit organization, they plan to build a village of 19 tiny homes that can provide housing for veterans. and decide where to place this village.
Homelessness in Wisconsin has been trending downward since 2009, when it peaked at 11.6 per 10,000 people, but the National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that the taxpayer burden per homeless person drops annually. About $36,000. Gail Knoll, a veteran herself, says her nonprofit can cut its costs by 50%.
“We have to serve them. We have to do more than the status quo,” she said.
Veterans 1st NEW took inspiration from Racine’s James A. Peterson Veteran Village, but Nohr said she hopes her nonprofit can offer even more. Her vision and mission is to rehabilitate veterans and provide a way out of the mental health and financial challenges they may be facing.
“We want to provide safe housing first and then address substance abuse and mental health,” she said.
This nonprofit can accommodate nine homeless veterans every 12 to 24 months and provide services to help them become independent. It also provides 16 veterans with affordable tiny homes for as long as they need them.
Services the organization seeks to offer include mental health, substance abuse, dog and horse therapy, career training, employment, financial literacy, spiritual support, woodworking classes, fishing trips, gardening, and more.
Once the facility is up and running, Kim Nohr said it will earn 75% from rents and 25% from subsidies. They hope to reduce construction costs with various partnerships and receive donations from local unions and businesses like Home Depot.
Veteran First Village will be the first project in Brown County, he said, but he hopes it won’t be the last.
Ariel Perez is a business reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. You can reach him at APerez1@gannett.com or view his Twitter profile at @Ariel_Perez85..