Latino veterans are helping to make their local, national and global communities stronger years after retiring from service in the various U.S. military branches. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, businesses owned by Latino veterans doubled between 2002 to 2007. Here are some Latino veterans-turned-entrepreneurs we want to honor this Veterans Day.
1. Chris Mercado, Objective Zero
At the Military Times Service Member of the Year Ceremony! Congratulations to all of this years award recipients and…
Named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business this year, Army active duty infantry officer Chris Mercado’s Objective Zero is helping fellow veterans receive the mental health they need during a crisis with the touch of an app. Mercado was inspired to create the app after he helped save the life of his friend and Army mate who was contemplating suicide. That six-hour phone call was the catalyst to get Mercado to recruit a group of his Georgetown School of Foreign Service classmates to work on developing the app in 2015. Now 350 trained volunteers are aiding veterans around the clock to give them the support they need.
2. Graciela Tiscanero-Sato, Author and Founder of Gracefully Global Group, LLC
Decorated Air Force veteran Graciela Tiscanero-Sato is a business maven who has been able to transfer her leadership skills into becoming a successful author in two genres and founding her own marketing company. She has authored a five-time award winning book on Latinos innovating in the green economy, as well as the first bilingual children’s book about mothers in the military, “Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitan Mama.” In 2014, Tiscanero-Sato was named a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama for her military service and contributions to the economy as a business owner.
3. Joe Sanchez, Co-Partner of Sol4r (Solar Four)
CREDIT: Voces Verdes
Georgetown alum and veteran Joe Sanchez is putting the skills he learned early on in his career working in the defense and intelligence sectors to blaze a trail in clean energy solutions. In 2010, he helped launch Sol4r (Solar Four) with Dr. Mary Haberl to provide green energy technologies. He also is working on actively making his company a more diverse one. “We’re a fully minority company, and we plan on employing more veterans,” Sanchez said at a business roundtable co-hosted by Voces Verdes.
4. Nick Velez, Bastards American Canteen
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#NEVER-FORGET @bastardscanteen We're more than just a restaurant, more than just your social watering hole, more than just a name. . . This establishment is named in respect of those who have served in the finest infantry unit of the United States Marines Corps, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines nicknamed “Magnificent Bastards”, and for the courageous Corpsmen of the United States Navy who care, or have cared for them. Semper Fi! . PROUD SPONSORS of @savethebraveorg – Connecting Veterans through outreach programs to build strength of character. Semper Fortem #magnificentbastards #bastardscanteen #originalbastards #grunts #gruntlife #resteasyspencer
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When U.S. Marine veteran Nick Velez opened his restaurant Bastards Canteen in Downey, Calif., with two of his Marine buddies, the name raised some eyebrows in the city. The name is meant to commemorate the service of the U.S. Marines Corps, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines who were named the “Magnificent Bastards.” Once the history of the name was given, citizens welcomed the restaurant with open arms and it has even been named one of Los Angeles’ most popular veteran-owned businesses by ABC7. Sadly, one of the co-founders, Cpl. Calvin B. Spencer, was killed in a traffic collision on his motorcycle. Velez and the Bastard’s community continue to honor Spencer’s legacy through fundraisers and events.
5. Jessica Morel, Tri Freedom Real Estate Partners
Jessica Morel continues to serve her greater community off the field as the owner of Arizona-based Tri Freedom Real Estate. She is helping her clients to attain the American Dream of owning a home after opening the real estate company following her eight years of service in the United States Army Reserves. Morel and her team are still keeping the military tradition strong at their company by completing the Military and Veteran Housing Certification.