Once a week, for 52 weeks this year, OpsLens will post a card highlighting Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders. And, yes, this is a spinoff from the 2003 Deck of Most Wanted Playing Cards! This time around, we are talking about, honoring, and bringing awareness to post 9/11 businesses or charities launched by the military community.
You’ll learn the top facts about these organizations, as well as why they made the list, which comes down to impact, scalability, health and unique value proposition. We encourage you to look for these weekly updates, share the card with your network, and support or buy the products and services they offer. See the 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders launch story here.
4 of Spades | Vets2Chef
If you talk with older generations, they would tell you that when they left the military, the buzzword for and emphasis on “transition” was nowhere near what it has become for post 9/11 service members. Today there are countless programs, groups, charities, to self-proclaimed experts who assist members of the military as they navigate the wilderness of civilian life. For good reason, there are unique challenges for the post 9/11 generation, coupled with the all too familiar challenges that have been present every era. Former U.S. Navy paramedic Bryan Jacobs had his share of personal battles and struggles when he transitioned from the military after two combat tours to Iraq. And his life’s purpose and passion became crystal clear during that time frame, at one of his darkest moments—his brother Kevin, also a veteran, committed suicide in 2014.
Through Kevin’s loss of life, Bryan said, “Something about my life clicked.” He recognized the patterns in his life, and his love for cooking had been woven through his earliest childhood memories of spending time in the kitchen with his grandfather (who also served in the military, as a cook in WWII). His direction had already begun to solidify, with unique opportunities (working with various reputable chefs) and an education that anyone seeking a culinary profession would need. Bryan launched Vets2Chef in 2014, a nonprofit that focuses on changing the lives of homeless or displaced veterans through food and brew programs.
Offered in Florida, with strategic plans of scaling across the nation in upcoming years, veterans go through a one-of-a-kind 12-week training program that is reintegration focused, teaching both culinary and personal skills that will help them find “the recipe for life.” Vets2Chef’s unique approach uses food to rally veterans around a “new unit, new mission,” that also successfully places them in jobs and reconnects them to their community. Participants become part of an alumni network and are offered guidance on how to join the American Culinary Federation or seek further certifications.
Vets2Chef is a frontline leader that should be on your list of most-wanted charities to support in 2018.
Frontline Leader (Founder): Bryan Jacobs.
Name of Company/Organization: Vets2Chef, founded 2014.
Location: HQ is Sarasota, Florida.
Post 9/11 Service Connection: U.S. Navy, Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion.
Tours of Duty: Two tours to Iraq (OIF I & II).
One sentence tagline &/or mission statement: Giving veterans a new purpose to serve through food and brew.
“The way you present yourself is like a chef presents his plate, you must work with the best ingredients in life to present yourself to the world the way you want to be seen. You become the ingredients in life that you collect. Examine the ingredients you have in your life and get rid of the bad ones.” – Founder & CEO Bryan Jacobs