Life transitions can be difficult. For example, the transition from a working to a jobless life. For Karl Monger, the Executive Director and CEO of GallantFew, Inc he delights in helping veterans find pleasure in transitions. His organization is designed for veterans and they are currently working on their annual event, Run Ranger Run, a month-long challenge taking place in February that raises funds and awareness for veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.
We had a chance to interview Karl Monger ansd asked about his story, how he started his business and the future of GallantFew
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
I saw the failures in our nation’s response to the needs of returning Special Operations veterans and looked for an organization that provided one-on-one, local veteran mentoring support. I couldn’t find one, so I approached a couple of veteran alumni groups with the concept. They weren’t interested, so GallantFew was born. Initially helping US Army Rangers, within the first year we expanded to help any veteran of any branch of the service, within our capacity.
How did you come up with your business name?
As the organization was still in concept mode, I bounced the idea off of several veterans. One told the story of befriending a World War II paratrooper veteran who was terminally ill and hospitalized. The man’s niece, in gratitude, gave my friend a bracelet given to the veteran. Inside was inscribed “from a grateful nation to a gallant few”. My friend grinned and said, “There’s your name!”
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
Every veteran who has successfully transitioned from the military has hard lessons that are learned through that process. He or she is eager to share that information with, and help guide,a new veteran just like themselves through that same path already walked. We connect these veterans with new veterans moving to the local area and provide support for issues that may be uncovered, such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, or employment help.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
GallantFew is all about relationships. The government’s response to transition is sterile and impersonal and, in most cases, not locally applicable. We’ve developed ways to create these relationships, and a key example is our annual awareness and fundraising campaign called Run Ranger Run, where people form teams of ten and run, walk, ride, or swim during the month of February. Many people want to help veterans but don’t know how, and this is a great way for them to get involved. They help spread the word, which builds our network of veterans who are ready to help the next transitioning veteran regardless of where he or she wants to live. As a result, we can quickly connect a veteran needing guidance with another veteran in virtually any community in the nation.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
We are currently helping less than a thousand veterans a year, and to make a real impact we need to help ten times than many. The key to that growth is Run Ranger Run. The more people that become involved, the more veterans we can reach. We are also talking with some larger organizations about potential partnerships. What we do is very unique and is a natural compliment to the services they already provide. Helping veterans is not, and should not, be a competition. I would love for the VA to adapt our approach and would be happy to help them!
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
Never give up, be totally transparent and have thick skin. Take care of your people.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
Lou Holtz said “Do what’s right, do the best you can, and treat others like you’d like to be treated”, and my first company commander in the Army, Capt. Randy Bell told me “Leaders eat last”. I try to live by this philosophy daily.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
Please visit www.runrangerrun.com to learn more about what GallantFew is all about and see how you can get involved!