At the end of January, I had the pleasure of connecting face to face with a special non-profit organization called The Jonas Project for the first time since we learned about each other following a webinar for Veteran Entrepreneurs that I did with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Jonas Project, focused on developing vetrepreneurs and “Growing Veteran Owned Business Opportunities Through Collaboration, Not Duplication,” was founded by John and Teri Kelsall in honor of their son, Jonas Kelsall.
Jonas spent 12 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL. On August 6, 2011 at the age of 32, he was killed in action in Afghanistan in the single worst disaster in the history of the U.S. SEALs.
Every time Jonas left for deployment he would tell his family, “If anything happens to me, know that I love my job. It is the only thing I want to do.” Jonas also encouraged others to do what they loved as well.
The Jonas Project is a non-profit organization giving back to those Veterans who have served our country with honor. It is for those Veterans, who have an entrepreneurial spirit, and the determination to succeed at their dream, that The Jonas Project was born.
I was honored to meet with TJP founders John and Teri Kelsall, their daughter (and sister to Jonas) Kim Kelsall, and two of their “Warrior Entrepreneurs,” Greg Call of PatriotMove, and Brian Gilb of the Social Publishing House.
We spoke about a lot of the challenges, fears and issues that Greg and Brian are currently facing, and I shared from my experiences as an entrepreneur. With nearly 70 years to draw from, I had quite a few examples that they could relate to with where they are at in the development process.
It was a pleasure to learn more about The Jonas Project and see firsthand their full commitment to the Warrior Entrepreneurs they take under their wing. I sincerely believe that many veterans and military service personnel out there have what it takes to pursue entrepreneurship and become vetrepreneurs. To further support their organization, my wife Julie and I have decided to join their advisory board.
We look forward to watching as more Jonas Project Warrior Entrepreneurs join the ranks as successful vetrepreneurs and help to rebuild our economy and create new jobs.
To view the collection of special photos from our meeting together, visit my Facebook fan page photo album.