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Hero-Owned and Operated

Four local veterans share what fuels their businesses and why they chose to call Evans home

Real life heroes walk among us! Evans proudly boasts a large military presence, both active duty and retired personnel, so military heroes are intricately woven into the fabric of our society.

Many active duty personnel come to love the CSRA while they are stationed at Fort Gordon; they fall in love with our amazing community and often choose Evans to settle into after retirement. We are so thankful for their service and the sacrifices of veterans and their families, and we recognize that each of our veterans plays a vital role in the Evans community. 

Shopping at veteran-owned businesses, treating veterans with dignity and respect, and supporting organizations that serve veterans are just a few ways to honor their service. What's one of our favorite ways to honor veterans? Sharing their stories…

Frank Berry - Army

Self-proclaimed “military brat,” Army veteran, and owner of Franny’s Farmacy, Frank Berry says, “When I joined the military in 2000, it was going to be a 4 year term, but I liked what I was doing and the friends that I met, so I stayed in. It turned into a 20-year career.”

Recently retired, Frank chose to stay in Evans to open his business. He says, “Augusta is my favorite station location because this is where I’m starting my new life, and this area is my favorite as far as my army travels.” Over the course of his career, Frank served in Arizona, Korea, Germany, and Oklahoma. He explains, “Augusta is unique. It’s slow-going even though it’s not small, but it has its fast moments like during the Masters.”

“The army helped to shape me into who I am today,” says Frank. “Veterans go through the military, we do what we need to do, and we’ve all done different things. Experiences impact people in different ways. My experiences in Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute helped me to understand that everybody has a different perspective.”

Janae Barcus - Air Force

After serving for four years in the Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst, Janae Barcus, owner of The Buttercup Bakeshop, uses life lessons gleaned from her military service on a daily basis. Those lessons have guided her through opening (and handling the day-to-day challenges of) a new business.

Janae says, “One of the best things I learned while in the military is resilience. Never give up, and never say ‘I can’t.’ I strongly believe that we as people are our own worst enemy and that overcoming fear is the best thing you can do for yourself. Invest in yourself and figure things out. When you’re down, don’t dwell on it, but pick yourself back up and learn from it.”

Kristyna Smith - Air Force

From her five years of service with the Air Force Military Police, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Dispatcher Kristyna Smith fondly remembers being rewarded for extraordinary deeds.

“You would get ‘coined’ when you did something that was extraordinary and needed to be recognized,” shares Kristyna. “It was always from someone higher ranking who saw you do something that should be recognized. Every time I coined was really special, and each coin has a different story.”

“Kristyna served her country in the Air Force, and now, after returning to Columbia County, she continues to serve her community as a 9-1-1 dispatcher,” says her supervisor, Lieutenant John Sherman.  “She’s an asset to the Sheriff’s Office, and she’s an asset to our county.”

Orin Jackson - Army

As he remembers his eight years in the Army, Dryer Vent Wizard’s Orin Jackson says, “Germany was definitely my favorite duty station. I love Germany, its culture, and the food.” Orin adds, “The place where I lived was really diverse. I made a lot of good friends over there, and I feel really close with a lot of the people I was stationed with there – they are my closest friends.”

“My favorite thing I bought back from my time in Germany,” Orin says, “is my daughter, Anisa. She was born in Germany, and she’s about to go into the military too. She’s going into the Air Force.”

Orin lives out numerous life lessons gained during his active service. He explains, “I try to be a good person and always try to look out for others,” he says. “That’s one of the first things you learn in basic [training] - to look out for your battle buddy. And I think with the way things are in the world right now, we should all be doing a little bit more of that.”

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