They came from all walks of life with a single purpose in mind — to serve their country. Now, after their time in the armed forces is over, they have begun a new chapter in their lives.
In 2010, Chris Dambach started his lawn care company with a mower and a borrowed truck. Today, he owns Industry Standard, boasting 45 employees, (expected to grow to 60 next year). He has multi-million-dollar contracts throughout the Northeast.
William R. Barry also transformed his love of the outdoors into a vocation. One Cut Above does lawn maintenance, landscaping and excavation site prep work and more. Barry is pretty much a one-man operation.
Corey Christman uncorked his interest in winemaking and is producing his own brand — Bravery Wines. He donates $2.50 of every bottle of wine sold to a charity.
Eileen Baugh is a modern-day Gal Friday. Her one-person business, Admin-On-Call, collaborates with other entrepreneurs. She provides executive-level administrative support to small business owners and entrepreneurs, managing back-office functions, e-mail communications and calendars. She will also step in for her clients at events, if needed.
Michael Bower was able to leave the corporate world and acquire his own company. He became the owner of the East Syracuse-based Eagle Metalcraft Co., a 70-year-old precision sheet metal company. It has doubled its sales and its workforce has expanded. The company was honored as the Veteran-Owned Business of the Year for 2023 by the U.S. Small Business Administration Upstate New York region. Bower’s goal is to double again within five years.
After nearly two decades of military service, Gerald Searfoss decided to spice up things. He said that he joined the military just after 9-11, “I wanted to get in the fight and do what I could after the attack.”
After he was discharged, he owned and operated War Cry Apparel.
“And then a few years later, my wife, Heather Searfoss, and I started Black OPS BBQ in Brewerton,” he said.
J. Vasquez started working for Pack-N-Mail in Oswego. When his boss decided to move out of state and close down her businesses; he didn’t want to buy her out and be part of a franchise. So he decided to open his own shipping store — The Ship Yard.
The Ship Yard is a third-party shipping company.
Steven Mollica and his wife, veterinarian Andrea (Dattellas) Mollica, began Fort Frisbee in January 2022 in Fulton. It officially opened April 11, 2022. His vision is to have the (dog grooming-boarding) business support other veterans.
“When I buy products to sell at my business, I first try to find a veteran owned business,” he said.
Perhaps they no longer wear a uniform, but their commitment to helping others is still evident.