For as long as veteran U.S. Navy Petty Officer James Wright of Trumbull, Conn., can remember, he has been a problem solver and a fixer. As a child, he helped to build his family’s house in New Hampshire, mudding the sheetrock and sanding the spackle. During his teens, he worked alongside his father selling building products and working a lumber mill, assembling everything from windows to bathroom vanities, and remembers taking on construction projects. As a young adult, Wright, changed his focus from objects to people, helping to care for servicemen and women at home and abroad as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. Wright loved to find physical solutions to problems and helping others. When he returned home as a civilian, it was only natural for him to start his own handyman business, Wright Service Group LLC. After starting the company, he turned to Work Vessels for Vets for help.
Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. is a national organization that equips America’s returning veterans with the tools they need to start a business or pursue career education or training. Since its inception in 2008, the Connecticut-based nonprofit, which is one of Salute American Vodka’s charity partners, has assisted more than 1,600 veterans across America with more than $2 million dollars in “vessels,” including boats, trucks, computers, cars, tractors, and equipment.
Wright founded Wright Service Group LLC in June 2017 after earning his college degree. One month later, he was introduced to Work Vessels for Vets through Marine Veteran and Founder of Rock Solid Defense, Tim Rockefeller, a Veterans employment representative with the Connecticut Department of Labor. After presenting the nonprofit with a business plan to show the model behind and potential growth of his company, Work Vessels for Vets awarded him $1,000 worth of tools to expand his services and capacity to serve more clients. The grant was made in partnership with Salute American Vodka and the company’s Connecticut distributor, Brescome Barton, Inc.
“I am very thankful and appreciative that there are organizations out there like Work Vessels for Vets that will find the resources and take the time to help returning veterans find a place of value in society,” says Wright. “To veterans, this sort of help is an opportunity to create something of value, which in turn can help other people. My business helps people who have issues in their homes and gives me an opportunity to fix a problem that may seem complex or overwhelming to them.”
Wright served nearly nine years as a Hospital Corpsman and a member of the Navy’s elite Search and Rescue Team providing emergency medical care in support of search and rescue missions. He was then assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines “America’s Battalion” and was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq where in combat he earned his nicknamed the “Doc,” providing treatments for disease and injury for 250 operational Marines. Wright was the senior non-licensed provider for the forward operation base and responsible for daily medical operations and logistical support. He also conducted training that aided in the rebuilding of the communities in Afghanistan and Iraq through patrolling, securing, policing efforts, and community outreach by taking care of any patient in these war-torn villages.
“In the military, you are given so much responsibility that there is this natural feeling of belonging and comradery,” says Wright. “You are successful at your job. But, when you get out and look for careers, you feel lost. I was a medical guy caring for servicemen and women in the field. But, back in the states my skills and experience hold very little value without the proper degrees and licenses I cannot provide this care to civilians as I did for our military members during combat. Having the support from Work Vessels for Vets gave me the opportunity to participate in society and help those in need with repairing their homes.”
In the next 10 years, Wright hopes grow Wright Service Group LLC into an employee-owned company, which will employ at least 25 individuals, including veterans. The proud father of two, Jack, 3, and Autumn, 10, is excited for what the future holds.
Salute American Vodka donates one dollar of every bottle sold to support veteran organizations like Work Vessels for Veterans. To learn more, visit our mission page. Learn more about Work Vessels for Vets at www.wvfv.org.