SAN ANTONIO -- On Wednesday city leaders joined corporate and academic partners to announce two new programs both centered on helping our veterans.
The group of private and public leaders gathered at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce early morning after a long election night. The meeting featured a well-appreciated display of patriotism as the entire crowd joined in singing the national anthem.
Todd Connor went to the podium first, talking about his vision to help aspiring veteran business owners in San Antonio. His company, Chicago-based Bunker Labs, is building its 15th location in Military City USA with the help of USAA.
“In addition to, ‘am I going to get a job? Where am I going to live? What am I going to do?’ There is a larger, looming question,” said Connor to the crowd. “Are the best years of my life behind me? Or is there something ahead?”
Bunker Labs is an incubator for veteran entrepreneurs.
Connor said his vision is to build a new spot near the city’s tech hub downtown, allowing veterans to connect with, partner, and learn from other entrepreneurs.
“Where there’s shared identity, shared values, a willingness to help each other,” Connor said.
It’s in that same spirit of sharing that a second initiative was announced.
TxServes, a program created by AmericaServes with funding from Syracuse University and the WalMart Foundation, will coordinate housing, education, and healthcare services and make them available to the veterans who need them.
“There're 125,000 veterans in the greater San Antonio area,” said Maureen Casey, the COO of the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families, one of the founders of the project. “We would welcome the opportunity to help serve all of them.”
Together, those programs have gained millions of dollars in funding. Casey said TxServes hopes to begin helping veterans almost immediately. Bunker Labs will be holding events soon, but likely won’t have a physical location in San Antonio for several months.
The partners behind the projects will meet for their first strategy session next week.