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Investing in our Country

Published: 05/11/2017

Veterans who spent years defending America are learning to protect their own financial freedoms through a program funded in part by Entergy.

The Fireteam Foundation, based in Montgomery County, was formed to economically empower veterans through financial education and training. Foundation chairman Jeremy Williams, who is also a veteran, said a large number of veterans struggle when transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce.

Williams discovered this firsthand when he started Fireteam Apparel Company and began hiring other military veterans.

“It was found that many returning veterans lacked the fundamental business experience and civilian employment history to be competitive in the hiring process,” he said. “Our programming, developed by the USAA Education Foundation, is comprised of fundamental financial principles veterans can leverage to become financially stable.”

The six-week financial education courses are held at various locations, including recent classes at the Conroe Police Department and Integrity Comfort Solutions. Subjects include home and vehicle purchasing, budgeting and saving and managing credit.

Veterans use laptops donated by Entergy to work on budget spreadsheets.

Conroe patrol officer Andreas Garcia served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years and said the class has taught him some interesting aspects to saving money that he had hadn’t really thought about before.

“As veterans, we get told to follow orders - do this and do that, and you get told when to do it. You are told to save money because there is life after the military, but you never get told how to do it. There are classes out there that the military does offer, but nothing as in depth as what they’re offering here.

“When I came into this class, I was a little money savvy,” Garcia added. “But the class really clarified those things that we don’t think about - those small things, like stopping at the gas station every day for a drink. Those little things really start to add up.”

For attending the class each student receives a laptop, which they get to keep upon graduation.

“It’s actually a really good laptop, and it’s great for our Excel spreadsheets to complete our budgeting,” said Conroe police dispatcher Jillienne Love, who served in the Texas Army National Guard for six years.

According to a 2015 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America study, financial stress and the lack of financial education and literacy have been identified as predicating factors in veteran homelessness, suicide, and criminal justice involvement rates.

“I would like to say thank you to Entergy and all the other sponsors as well,” Garcia said. “As police officers and veterans, it’s an honor serving the United States and also our community, but I can’t say nobody likes to get a pat on the back when you offer things like this. It’s very much appreciated.”

In addition to sponsoring programs like this one, Entergy also supports our armed forces by employing thousands of veterans and those currently serving. The company also recently accepted a Pro Patria Award from the U.S. Department of Defense's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Learn more about Entergy's commitment to our military.

Kacee Kirschvink