A Day To Honor the Veterans in Our Lives and Communities
Benjamin L. Harris, CPA, CGMA

I voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army on the day I turned 18. Needless to say, my mother wasn’t very happy with my enlistment, but she knew that my decision was inspired by my father, who had served before me, and by my sincere desire to serve a country I still so proudly call home.

I served in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm; earned the rank of Captain; and learned job, life, and leadership skills as a medical services health officer. I believe these skills that I learned and honed during my military career led directly to my being able to achieve success working in the financial services arena and then to start and grow a small business, BLH Technologies, Inc.® (BLH).

I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to enlist in the U.S. Army. Although such a career choice might not be right for everyone, I remember with great fondness and immense pride my time as a soldier. In addition, the benefits that came from my service have helped define who I am and how I got to this place in my life as a successful small businessman.

Sadly, not every veteran’s story has such a happy ending. Some veterans struggle to return to civilian life, with some veterans suffering quite a bit more than others. According to U.S. Housing and Urban Development statistics, nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, a number that accounts for 11 percent of the adult homeless population. Joblessness and substance abuse also pervade the veterans’ community.

That’s why I am proud to employ veterans when I can. BLH currently employs three Air Force veterans, two retired Master Sergeants, and one Senior Airman and has employed numerous other veterans throughout our more than 10 years as a thriving company. Together, our current veteran staff members have 50 years of military service and have served all over the world, including deployments in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Italy and duty assignments at bases in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

I’m also proud to personally support organizations that help veterans, such as the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and I encourage you to support such organizations in your local community not only this week but all year long.

On this Veterans Day, remember to thank those who have served this country as a member of our armed forces, support local and national veterans organizations in various ways, and join me in remembering those who lost their lives for our freedom.