The Greatest GenerationMarch 22, 2013
I spent years taking inventory of the myriad of problems facing our country – from our food deserts, toxic energy systems, crumbling infrastructure, to our disastrous health systems, questionable wars and embarrassingly high unemployment (especially for our combat veterans).
My “light bulb” moment came when I met Marine Corps Veteran Colin Archipley and his wife Karen. I learned about their hydroponic, organic greenhouse project. They were able to create a fully sustainable hydroponic farm that uses less resources and yields high quality products.
They figured out a way to turn their success into a training ground for additional veterans interested in owning and operating their own businesses. Colin and Karen’s success story is just the beginning.
“Every problem is a job,” as I learned on my Greedy Bastards book tour. With so many problems, it is preposterous our unemployment continues to remain so staggeringly high. This was my “light bulb” moment, this was the blinding flash that shocked me back to life and helped me understand that the current systems we use in this country are already irrelevant. It’s people like Colin and Karen that can help us transition into a new paradigm. This is what led me to leave MSNBC. I want to be part of the solutions, not just talk about the problems.
We have an untapped resource that has yet to be re-purposed. Our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are not only experiencing a criminal rate of unemployment, but they are the men and women who have proven themselves willing to pull together and face the most difficult challenges, under the most dire circumstances.
Our mission is to help veterans transition to lead our communities to resolve the issues where others were failing.
What if our young, strong, high-capacity combat veterans deployed domestically to build and operate greenhouses to cure food deserts across America?
What if the men and women we had invested millions of dollars to train for these wars were trained to provide domestic energy from coast-to-coast?
Hadn’t those who had served as members of an all volunteer Military since 9/11 – less than 1% of the population – already identified themselves as willing to do things for America no one else was willing to do?
The Greatest Generation wasn’t great only because they won the war. These men and women literally came home to build an America ready to meet and overcome challenges for decades to come. They were a precious natural resource.
Colin and his wife, Karen, have been helping transition Marines and other veterans to become farmers for the past few years. I’m backing Colin and Karen because they had an idea, turned it into a business, and built a model that helps returning soldiers while providing high quality products using less resources. I’m backing their play–and getting others to do so as well–because they have inspired me to put skin in the game and not wait on the sidelines for others to begin fixing an obviously damaged system.
Our veterans, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “They’re young, they’re handsome, they’re strong and they can’t possibly be beaten!” A huge number are ready to serve us in a mission greater than themselves. They want to build this nation into a land worthy of the sacrifices they made when they were called into combat.
The ownership of this idea is theirs. I’m here to help facilitate it and hope you will join me.
Onward and upward,