By Rob Lewis
Much of the conversation in and around the Marine Corps has focused on the impending reduction in the number of Marines on active duty. And while nearly every Marine, spouse, or DoD civilian has an opinion to add to the current stream of political rhetoric, far too few of us are looking at the benefits.
While transitioning to civilian life will undoubtedly be a difficult “last mission,” for many Marines, I’m happy to say that they will make it out the other side. And this “other side” is flourishing with opportunity.
But it is the kind of opportunity that needs to be seized and created. It isn’t apparent to the doomsayers and purveyors of negativity on K St., Main St. and in newsrooms across the nation.
For instance, when you hear that we are depleting natural resources at an alarming rate, do you panic? Or do you remember how effective and efficiently Marines can operate in even the direst situations? Do you turn tail and run? Or do you see the opportunity to lead others with creative ideas bolstered by sound reasoning?
When you hear that Wall St. or Washington DC are hopelessly corrupt, do you think that it is a lost cause? Or do you remember that no cause is lost until the last man or woman has stopped fighting?
When my company’s founders—Marine Corps Sgt. Colin Archipley and his wife Karen—heard that the average age of the American farmer is over 60 years and that food security was becoming a huge issue internationally, they did not panic or look away from the problem.
Instead, they added yet another “problem” to the equation—the high rate of unemployment among Post-9/11 veterans. Knowing that too many Marines and other service men and women were not finding work in the civilian world despite their excellent skill sets, they created the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program. The intensive six-week entrepreneurial incubator was created to kill to birds—the need for farmers and high veteran unemployment rates—with one stone.
With more than 150 active duty service men and women, veterans and family members now graduated and pursuing careers in the agriculture business, I think it is safe to say that Colin and Karen made the right choice when they refused to panic.
Hopefully you will do the same.