Thousands of veterans call Whitley County communities home and we’re so thankful they do. They’re business owners, employees, employers, community leaders and more.
Between 100,000-200,000 service members exit the military each year. Historic trends show that about 33 percent of these service members will stay in the community surrounding the base where they were stationed, and another 33 percent will return to their hometowns. This leaves the final 33 percent who are willing to relocate to another community.
Brandon and Susie Johnson chose to live in South Whitley nearly three years ago. Susie was from California and her husband was from Goshen.
“We wanted a county home, not in the city- more him than me,” said Susie Johnson, owner of American Sugar Coffee House. “I agreed to try it out and I loved it. I still do.”
Separating from the military is different for each person and family, but Whitley County communities offer veterans a place to call home and a place to build their dreams.
Military wife, Susie Johnson chose to create a coffee house to honor veterans and serve the community. American Sugar Coffee House in South Whitley opened May 2019 and they’re a true service to the community.
Susie’s husband Brandon is an Army veteran and still serves in the active guard as a supply sergeant.
“There are more veterans here than anyone realizes,” Johnson said. “Opening the coffee shop made their presence known. We serve veterans all the time, some call Whitley County home, others just visit but we’re glad they choose to visit this community.”
The Johnson family has a unique perspective of the community and service but there are places all over Whitley County inviting veterans to call Whitley County home.
Companies like Larwill based RedStar Contract Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Wishbone Medical, will observe Veterans Day by closing business for the day to honor those who have fought and laid down their lives to defend our homeland during troubled times.
“We always pay special attention to veterans,” said Nick Deeter, Wishbone Medical CEO and board chair. “We often find they’re our best employees. We want to honor them if we can give them a day off for their service– it is the least we can do.”
Deeter is a Navy veteran and values the service of veterans, even choosing them to fill employment opportunities.
“Wishbone Medical hired two veterans the end of October,” Deeter said. “They’re great to hire and I know so many companies value veterans as employees.”
Whitley County has more than 340 jobs listed on the online job portal at http://whitleyedc.com/communities/local-job-postings/. Several Whitley County employers hire employers and work for U.S. Defense.
Ultra-Electronics USSI, in Columbia City, is an industry leader in the design, development and production of advanced electronics, acoustics and integrated sensor systems for U.S. Defense. RedStar Contract Manufacturing creates medical molds and pieces for VA hospitals and U.S. military bases all over the world.
Veterans are also the leaders of Whitley County serving on councils and boards like John Barrett who serves as District 1 County Council representative.
Barrett served in the United States Air Force for five years from 1959 to 1964 and still continues to serve his home town.
No matter what veterans choose to do, they’re not alone in Whitley County. They’re invited to be a part of our communities.
A network of resources is available for veterans in Whitley County and Northeast Indiana. To learn more about resources, benefits and programs that support veterans and their families visit HoosierHomeBase.com.
As a civilian supporting veterans is easy, Susie Johnson listed a few things to help support our veterans.
“So many times, they fight demons we know nothing about,” Johnson said. “Supporting veterans by just visiting with them, walking or running in races like the Veterans Day Marathon, buying a cup of Black Rifle Coffee from American Sugar Coffee House, just being mindful of their sacrifice is helpful.”
When you see a veteran around your community who served in battle, buy them a cup of tea or coffee. Find your own way to make sure they know, we know, what they did for us, without even being asked.
Let’s help put them on their next mission. Whitley County is proud to serve as home for veterans and we hire them, too.
Visit HoosierHomeBase.com to learn how Whitley County and Northeast Indiana is the perfect place for veterans and their families.
# # #