Veterans throughout the globe were honored on Monday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day including Tony Vola, 66, of Des Moines.
Vola, who grew up in southern Iowa, wanted to leave home and discover the world so he entered the Air Force in 1971.
“It was by far the best thing I’ve ever done,” Vola said. “It allowed me to be in an environment where I was encouraged to perform my best, built my self-confidence, and allowed me to travel to a number of countries. I really discovered what life was really about and grew like I never thought I would.”
Vola traveled to 13 countries during his 21 years of service and said he came to understand that all individuals are human beings no matter their origin.
“When (I) lived overseas, I met different people and (witnessed) different environments not at all like the U.S.,” Vola said. “I realized that people aren’t that different; they are like us. They want to have a good life and a good family.”
He said his whole military experience was an eye-opener and has shaped him to become who he is today as a franchise owner of Right at Home, a company that caters to senior citizens and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently. “The military allows individuals to build their own confidence, which allowed me to start a franchise,” Vola said. “It also gave me more empathy toward individual beliefs. As we work with clients each day, we have to realize that not everybody is the same. These individuals are people who want to live life their own way, and therefore, we need to understand them.”
Eric Little, SVP of Franchise Development for Right at Home, said veterans like Vola make fantastic business owners due to their commitment.
“He certainly has a passion for serving and we see that with a lot of our military folks,” Little said. “The military teaches veterans discipline in the context of commitment (as well as) taking standard operations and implementing them.”
Although the majority of clients are senior citizens, the company does work with clients on waver programs between the ages of 32 and 102.
Each of their clients are matched up with specific caregivers who go to the clients’ homes to do activities such as cooking, getting groceries or talking with the clients.
“We would like our clients to enjoy the last stages of life,” Vola said. “There are a lot of things they have a reason to live for. It’s about helping them enjoy life, feeling a sense of worth, making sure they have someone to talk with, and reminding them of all the good things in their life.”
Right at Home’s global office is located in Omaha with 300 franchise locations-including those in Dallas, Madison, Warren, and Polk Counties- operating in 44 states and six countries.