JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly 2 million veterans live in the states of Florida and Georgia and a significant number of those veterans live in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. July 25th is National Hire a Veteran Day, which encourages employers to hire former military service members.
In this week's Stories of Service, we focus on a veteran-owned small business on the First Coast that hopes to grow and hire other veterans.
It's a typical day of work for Sean Karpf and A Leg Up Pressure Washing. The sun is out, he's on a job and his prosthetic leg isn't slowing him down one bit.
"Having the amputation isn't as bad as the PTSD I've had since. There's no way to control how your mind is working and operating," said Karpf, who lost his leg after stepping on an IED while on a dismounted patrol with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan in 2012. Nearly eight years after his injury and amputation, the combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient started his current business, A Leg Up Pressure Washing.
"I'm definitely grateful that I'm still able to do a physical job like this, because it could be a lot worse," said Karpf, "I saw guys while I was at Walter Reed who lost all 4 limbs and so I'm very blessed to be able to put this prosthetic on and go to work."
Karpf has been involved with Wounded Warrior Project since his injury. The organization even paid to have his truck and trailer wrapped to help A Leg Up Pressure Washing generate more business. Symbols of his service like a Purple Heart logo, 82nd Airborne logo and Wounded Warrior Project logo are on the trailer, but Karph himself is his biggest advertisement.
"I do have people that contact me and say I see you getting up on roofs and everything you're doing while you were at my neighbor's house and it inspired me to call you and have you come out," said Karpf.
Business has been good. Three months ago he was able to hire his first employee.
"I'm hoping to find other veterans that want to come join and come make a good living, a good wage and teach them a trade," said Karpf, "working alongside other veterans, you see that sense of pride in the work that they do, they're used to attention to detail, they're used to doing things right the first time."
More information about A Leg Up Pressure Washing can be found on their website, aleguppressurewashing.com.
More information about Wounded Warrior Project can be found on their website: woundedwarriorproject.org.
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