Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They gave their lives for our freedom.
One soldier is not only remembering his fallen brothers and sisters. He’s also trying to help those who are wounded and make it home find a job.
Lt. James Barclay IV is the CEO of Working Wounded Warriors, or W3 for short. His friends call him Jae.
“There are some tough SOB`s out there who have been through some tough stuff,” said Barclay.
He’s one of them. Four years ago while serving in Afghanistan, his vehicle was hit by an IED.
“I was wounded. Forty-seven percent of my body was burned,” said Barclay. “I spent two and a half years in and out of a hospital, over 30 surgeries, and every day, three times a day doing the most painful thing I’ve ever been through of physical therapy.”
During that time, Jae spent a lot of time talking to other wounded warriors about what they wanted out of life.
“Those are the guys I want to find to give them an opportunity to be part of a team,” said Barclay.
“Seventeen percent of veterans can’t find a job. Twenty-three percent of wounded warriors are unemployed.”
Jae wants to change that. After several sleepless nights, he quit his own job and decided to do something different.
“This is the right thing to do because these guys are looking for a mission to accomplish and looking for a team to be a part of, and I want to provide that,” he said.
Barclay, a husband and father of three has started his own company, Working Wounded Warriors. W3 will be looking for minor construction jobs that go through public works on Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal. Jae is starting small but thinking big.
“We want to focus on smaller jobs so we can get a good pass performance, a good reputation to where we can grow the company and be successful on Redstone and one day transplant that and carbon copy it to other posts,” said Barclay.
Like Fort Campbell or Fort Bragg, so other wounded vets will have an opportunity to work.
“It’s great for Jae and the new company. It’s great for veterans who need to be hired,” said Will Webb, President of Still Serving Veterans.
Still Serving Veterans is a non-profit group in Huntsville. One of its primary missions is to get veterans into meaningful careers. SSV will send some of those wounded vets to W3 in what Webb calls a win-win situation for both groups.
“It just worked out that we had an opportunity that would really jump-start this new company but would also give an opportunity to a great American wounded warrior and one of our heroes, Jae Barclay,” said Webb.
Barclay’s biggest obstacle so far is raising enough startup money. He set a goal of half a million dollars. The former infantry platoon leader is almost halfway there.
However, another goal is to make sure wounded warriors who come home from war can find a job and be part of a team again that can accomplish its mission.
“When that’s taken from them, they don’t know what to do. They’re looking for someone or something to say ‘Hey, this is your purpose now. Come with us and we’ll provide work, meaningful work so you can go home and have kids and be a part of society, be part of a great community here in Huntsville’,” said Barclay.”