The of Jacksonville owner and veteran, Rick Santo, joined forces with First Lady Michelle Obama at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida, for the announcement that more than 2,000 companies had hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses since the initial launch of the Joining Forces White House initiative in 2011.
The Joining Forces campaign was launched in an effort to support American veterans and their families during their employment, education and wellness endeavors. President Barack Obama asked the first lady to direct Joining Forces, while challenging for-profit businesses to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. According to White House officials, this effort has resulted in a 20 percent decrease in veteran unemployment compared to last year.
In June 2012, Santo, who served in the army for four years, opened his own The Grounds Guys franchise in Jacksonville, serving commercial and residential customers with landscape maintenance, landscape enhancements and other services. “I explored many franchise opportunities and landed on The Grounds Guys for a wealth of reasons. Through its veterans program, I was able to fulfill my dream of owning my own business, and I support the opportunity to assist other veterans to do the same,” Santo says.
The Grounds Guys is a subsidiary of , whose founder, Don Dwyer founded VetFran in 1991 in order to assist military veterans open their own franchise. For more information, visit or .