VOICES: Continuing to serve is in my DNA

Credit: Tammy L. Brown

Credit: Tammy L. Brown

I cried when I found out I had orders to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I’m not sure what I expected from this assignment, but images of “Little House on the Prairie” came to mind. When I combined that with my dislike of cold weather, I thought living here would be my worst assignment. I was sorely mistaken.

The Dayton area is now my permanent home. After 10 years on active duty and multiple assignments, the Dayton area grew to be my favorite. In fact, I was able to convince my parents to make this their permanent home and relocate from Tennessee as well.

Although I’m still a reservist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, I’m also a proud entrepreneur and advocate in the veteran community. What I do know about veterans is we are a close-knit tribe. Being involved has helped me immensely on my journey since being on active duty. I have benefited from the mentorship of other veterans like Lt. Col. (ret.) Dan Semsel and Col. (ret.) Cassie Barlow, who have made indelible impacts in the community. Whether it’s the Ohio Board of Women Veterans, the Miami Valley Military Affairs Association (MVMAA), the Wright Patterson AFB Transition Assistance (TAP) class, or the local Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, I’ve found great joy in continuing to serve. You could say it’s in my DNA.

My grandfather was a veteran of the Korean/Vietnam War. His call sign was “Mutt” for his ability to blend in anywhere. He was passionate about two things: service and sauce. What people know as the company, Mutt’s Sauce, is my tribute to him, his service, and legacy. He wanted to bring people together using a “sauce for every meal.” I used mentorship from Dayton SCORE to start the company while I was still on active duty in 2015.

The core values that I carry with me now as a fourth-generation veteran, I’ve tried to weave into everything that I do in the local community. In order to continue strengthening our work in Dayton with veterans, we must put processes in place to ensure their smooth transition and eventual success. Volunteering at the local TAP classes to show them resources they can have as a civilian is a great start. Recently, I testified to the Ohio Senate for Senate Bill 105, which would streamline the process of certification for women, minority, and veteran owned businesses. My advice is to find your strength and take action. One person can make a big difference, and a huge tribe stands ready to support you. One team, One fight.

Charlynda Scales is a veteran, entrepreneur, speaker and the founder of Mutt’s Sauce, LLC.

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