They keep our hometowns running by reinvesting money in the local economy and creating local jobs, but the work of small businesses doesn’t end at the county line. While we enjoy the perks they provide on the home front, small businesses are also serving the brave men and women of the armed forces, at home and abroad.
After Hurricane Katrina, Darwell Yeager immediately got to work serving the Mississippi communities that needed help. As the co-owner and master chef of Darwell’s Café in Long Beach, Mississippi, Yeager opened shop and welcomed in members of the community with warm and delicious meals – whether they could pay or not.
Now, Yeager balances this business with an even more patriotic mission. Through a nonprofit organization called America’s Chefs, Yeager travels to military bases and installations, domestic and abroad, to serve his delicious meals to the men and women in uniform.
“I’m one of America’s chefs,” Yeager says. “I’m getting to fly around the world and cook for the United States Navy. They let me come in. I demonstrate my crawfish étouffée. I do the blackened shrimp. I do the Southern flair. And then the military comes through and eats, and then they tell me thank you for bringing it to them, and it’s a big camaraderie thing.”
America’s Chefs works with celebrity chefs and culinary experts like Yeager to bring the best food and the most innovative dishes to the men and women serving our country on the front lines. The organization also gives small business owners who work hard to serve their communities a new way to serve deserving Americans.
Small businesses also serve these deserving Americans when they return from duty by creating employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for our nation’s veterans. Nearly one in 10 small businesses is veteran-owned, and the Small Business Administration provides tools and training to help returning veterans find employment with small businesses, start their own businesses, or secure government contracts for work.
From the backyard to the battlefield, small businesses support active and retired military members in each aspect of their lives. Just like in the neighborhood shopping center, these businesses provide economic opportunities and high-quality services to the men and women who greatly deserve them.