Military couple’s business aims to help veterans make smooth transitions back into civilian life

The Thompsons say military experience makes veterans prime candidates for running a business

SAN ANTONIO – Jeffrey Thompson and his wife are both Air Force veterans. They enlisted back in 1994 and after more than 20 years of service, they said it was time to retire.

I would be lying if I said I was a little bit afraid, right, I mean, that’s normal. A lot of late nights discussing this with my wife and our family, you know, having conversations about what’s next,” Jeffrey Thompson said.

Just like many veterans, they said the transition to civilian life can be a scary experience but not impossible. Michelle Thompson said having a solid plan before separating from the military can help ease the anxiety.

“You have to really take a step back and figure out, OK, what do I want to accomplish in life? Because being in the military and surrounded by the military, you’re focused on one thing and that’s the mission and once that’s taken away, you have to figure out what’s your mission,” Michelle Thompson said.

The Thompsons said it was important to find something to fill the void after retiring. They both embarked on a newfound mission. They put into practice skills learned while in the military into starting a new business.

“When we came to this opportunity, we were thinking about the fact that most of our career, it’s been leadership and project management. And those two skills are the essentials, I guess, of business ownership as well,” Jeffrey Thompson said.

He said his new business aligns with his drive to continue serving others.

“Because we’d spent so much time with the Air Force, we were looking for a company who had the same type of long history and strong organizational culture, so we decided that Red Wing was the right fit for us,” he said.

The Thompsons said the company is right on-brand with their military culture, a business aimed at supporting the American worker.

“I always think about the post-pandemic environment right now. We’re kind of helping the economy get back on its feet,” Jeffrey Thompson said.

Now part of their new mission is encouraging other veterans and showing them the ropes.

“I think cutting a path and then showing other folks that it’s possible is really encouraging so we’re looking to do that through this organization for the years to come,” he said.

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Chandler Watson is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Originally from the Houston area, he graduated from Texas State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s of science in Mass Communication. Chandler is no stranger to San Antonio, as he’s worked here for 3 years prior to joining KSAT. He’s excited to bring you the stories of our community!