Veterans share their experience transitioning from military life to owning a business

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WEST MONROE, LA. (11/11/2020)– Karen Laban served in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1992.

“I served my first few years of service out in Nellis Air Force Base,” Laban said. “It’s home of the Thunderbirds. I actually got to work on the flight line in an administrative role. Then I served my last 5 years for the headquarters in Europe.”

After serving, Laban opened her own business in downtown West Monroe.

“It’s funny I was talking to my mom this morning and she was like ‘I can’t believe it’s been 30 years, almost 30 years since you’ve been out of the military,” Laban said.

She said while serving, she learned about discipline, drive, and dedication. Now she uses that to her advantage in her store.

“Trying to keep my time to productive time in all of those different aspects and keep my store running,” Laban said. “I’m thankful that I was able to have an opportunity to be in the military to learn different things like that.”

Tracy Carter is the owner of Jac’s Craft Smokehouse. He served in the United States Army for 16 years. He said he learned about building a team. Now, he uses that with his employees.

“We are in that process of building what we call the squad and we are moving on,” Carter said.

Carter said his father, who was also a veteran, owned a business downtown, as well.

“He passed away in 2011, and here I am again now owning a business as his son, as a veteran, right here in Antique Alley,” Carter said. “So it’s kind of special for me, I want to honor those who gave, who sacrificed, even through they may not have lost their lives, they still sacrificed a lot to serve our country to make it free.”

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