The Accidental Epiphany.
TrainOurTroops has a unique story about how we originally started and we want to share that with the veterans and organizations who leverage our assessment, training, marketing, preparedness, and placement solutions.
At a national trade show conference Glen Brynteson, founder, President, and international entrepreneur, met a gentleman named Ron Sable.
At the time neither knew of each other, they had never met.
Mr. Brynteson was attending the unveiling of their new booth and the launch of their advanced training solutions, which was drawing a lot of attention and all hands were on deck, so to speak, as prospects were lining up to view their four interactive screens.
Mr. Sable politely asked one of the people at the booth who the owner was and then politely waited for Mr. Brynteson to get a spare minute to speak with him.
What turned out to be an introduction between the two ended up being a conversation that lasted over an hour. Eventually, the lights dimmed in the conference hall, the booth display screens were shut off, employee's left asking Mr. Brynteson if everything was "ok" and if they'd see him at the conference event that night.
Glen and Ron were engaged in conversations about various military aspects; Glen's father was an Army Ranger and served in the military for 40 years, and Ron had served 3 deployments in the Middle East as a Green Beret. Both exchanged stories and frustrations in the strangest of places; a dimmed trade show conference exhibit hall where thousands of people were now nowhere to be found. A very strange place to ever imagine that two big guys would bring a serious conversation to the table and generate enough passion to cause each to wipe their eyes more than once.
What was the center of their discussion? Veterans, training, and how to handle the various challenges of opening the civilian employment door.
At the end of their conversation Ron asked if he could run and get something from his hotel room and that he'd be right back.
Ron quickly returned to the empty exhibit hall. Glen approached Ron and he could see that Ron seemed very somber and had something clasped in his hand.
Ron then said these words to Glen: "In the Green Beret we got customized challenge coins for our service and we are supposed to give a challenge coin to someone who pivots our lives in a positive way. I just want to thank you for taking the time to help guide me in my career. You turned down having conversations with prospects in order to continue to converse with me. I would like you to accept my first coin. What you told me tonight, and the time you spent with me, is going to change my life." Ron went on to tell the entire story behind what the coin represents.
Glen, at 6'4 and a hockey player, fought with every ounce of his being to not display vulnerability as he realized nobody in the world had ever touched him in the way that Ron just did. Ron's hand was extended with the challenge coin. Glen had never been in that position before; he was a businessman and owner of several firms that he founded from an early age, skeptical of most, for good reason.
Glen accepted the challenge coin from Ron. It was a very unintentional humbling feeling; something you didn't realize you did until someone else pointed it out.
Just prior to the trade show conference Mr. Brynteson had completed two weeks of jury duty in Austin Texas for a trial involving a police officer shooting of a veteran with PTSD. He sat through days of testimony and psychologists explain the characteristics of PTSD in the military and its impacts on veterans and their civilian lives and careers.
The encounter with Mr. Sable at the conference was another sign. He knew it.
That evening Glen skipped the nightly conference event and instead asked his delivery director to meet him for dinner and figure out a way to help people like Ron Sable. Ideas were generated. Additional "eye misting" happened as stories were exchanged and solutions were discussed about how to get our veterans equipped with the right skill sets that were in demand. Glen began to question what could be done to get veterans to the front of the interviewing line at organizations.
Mr. Brynteson and Mr. Sable's lives changed that day.
TrainOurTroops was born on the flight back to Austin, Texas where Mr. Brynteson, upon getting home, woke his wife up after midnight and attempted to explain his encounter and accidental epiphany he had with Mr. Ron Sable to roll out in-person and online training solutions for U.S. veterans and their spouses. He managed to bring his wife to tears as he attempted to explain the coin he was holding and the story of someone he'd never met before. All of this from the most unlikely of places - a conference trade show that had absolutely nothing to do with the military.
Ron Sable is an active Advisory Board member at TrainOurTroops and continues to guide the organization on behalf of veterans.