A company that helps veterans start their own businesses has joined a campaign to get supplies to increasing numbers of US troops headed to Europe as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
JDog Junk Removal & Hauling is a national company that employs veterans and offers franchises to them to start their own refuse removal businesses under the company banner. A company official arrived in Hagerstown Thursday to help drum-up support for the campaign, and he was joined by local JDog owner Aaron Mowery, franchise owner.
The US has deployed troops to Europe to show support to allies as a result of the Russian invasion, and the number now exceeds 100,000.
To help keep the public focused on the mission of US troops, JDog has joined an effort known as the RED Campaign — Remember Everyone Deployed — to raise money for supplies for the military. The goal is to raise $10,000 for the nonprofit Soliders’ Angels to get troops the supplies. JDog is also encouraging the public to wear red shirts on Fridays to show support for the troops.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the campaign.
To spread awareness of the campaign, a JDog representative is driving a BMW detailed in the theme of the RED Campaign around the region, and he stopped Thursday afternoon at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets. The outlets are also the location of The Overwatch, a thrift and consignment store operated by local JDog franchise owners Aaron and Amber Mowery. It is in Suite 525 in the shopping center off South Potomac Street.
Through their shop, the couple sells re-useable items they rescue from junk removal jobs. They also donate some of the items and dedicate a portion of their proceeds to local nonprofit veterans groups.
James Caudle, vice president of training and development for JDog, traveled from his base in Berwyn, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, and arrived in Harrisburg, Pa., earlier Thursday. He visited a JDog franchise owner there who donated $1,000 to the campaign.
“I (usually) only see these guys at conferences, so it’s good to see their faces now,” Caudle said in the outlets parking lot with two JDog trucks operated by the Mowerys.
Caudle, who served eight years in the US Army, said he hoped to arrive in Lancaster, Pa., later in the day to pump up excitement for the campaign.
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“The more popular it becomes, the more we’re going to drive this car around,” said Caudle, who said he wouldn’t mind heading south toward Florida.
JDog Junk Removal & Hauling is designed to help veterans explore business ownership and make a transition from military service. It has a little more than 270 franchises across the country, including the one the Mowerys established. Caudle said the company wants to branch out into other businesses, such as home inspection.
The Mowerys got their first truck in 2020, and Aaron said Thursday he has been surprised at the success of the venture. So much so that he obtained a second truck with a trailer and is about to get a third rig that will allow him to use roll-off dumpsters.
What do those deployed need?
Caudle and Mowery said US troops in Europe mostly need “creature comforts,” such as snacks and personal hygiene products like shaving razors and lip balm.
“Socks are always a big thing,” said Mowery, a 2003 South Hagerstown High School graduate who lives with his wife in the Robinwood area.
Mowery was in the US Army from 2009 to 2012. He was a combat engineer and served a tour in southern Iraq.
He said previously his goal is to keep between 60% and 80% of the material he collects out of landfills through reuse, donation or recycling.
It’s similar to a recent series on Discovery titled “Operation Hidden Treasures,” which followed JDog veterans who found unused items that were salvaged and donated to people in need.