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Stories of Service: Honoring our Veteran Franchisees

We all know Veterans Day as a time to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. But many veterans continue to serve their country when they arrive home in another way: by owning businesses. According to the Small Business Administration, veterans own 1 in 10 small businesses in the U.S. — totaling nearly 2.4 million businesses.  

At Padgett, we are proud to work with many veterans, as clients, tax preparers and accountants. In recognition of their service, abroad and at home, we would like to share a few franchisees’ stories of their time in the military. 

Herb Harris, Air Force 

Herb Harris is the owner of Padgett Business Services of Peabody, Massachusetts. But before he became a business owner, Herb served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1972, during the Vietnam War. After training, he was stationed at Wakkanai Air Station in Japan, where he monitored Russian aircraft and naval radar, and at Nellis Air Force Base inThe Keesler Air Force Base class of 1968-1969. Herb Harris is pictured kneeling in the center. Nevada, where he worked as an administrative specialist.  

“When I wasn’t watching the Thunderbirds train, I was tasked at typing officers’ performance reviews,” Herb says. Working in a time before copiers or computers, he used carbon paper to create six copies of each review. “I was required to have no errors — no typos, no erasures, no typing outside of the lines. If there was a single error, I had to take all seven sheets of paper and six sheets of carbon paper out of the typewriter, rip them up, and start over.”  

That discipline and attention to detail has become part of how Herb runs his business. “This perfectionist behavior has carried onto my professional life now,” he says. “I’m very particular with my clients’ information — whether accounting or tax returns.” 

Bob Naujokaitis, Army 

Before becoming the owner of Padgett Business Services of Tempe, Arizona. Bob Naujokaitis also served in the Vietnam War. “I served in the army from 1968 to 1970,” Bob says. “My service was with the artillery and included time stateside, in Germany, and in Vietnam." He served as a liaison with the Marines at Hoi An and Landing Zone Baldy and achieved the rank of Sergeant E-5 in less than a year. 

The time Bob spent in the military taught him lessons he still applies to running his business today. “Time served instilled discipline, respect for authority, and the ability to work with all sorts of individuals,” he says.  

Phil Patterson, Air Force 

During the Vietnam War, Phil Patterson served as a ground radio operator with the Air Force at the Thule Air Base in Greenland, just 800 miles south of the North Pole. “Christmas Eve of 1970, I was working aircraft,” Phil says. “All of a sudden, Santa 01 called the station and said they had left the North Pole, and the destination was the hearts and minds of all the children in the world.” His associate used a teleprinter to share the message. “So, you could say we delivered the message that Santa was on his way that year.” 

Now, Phil owns and operates Padgett Business Services of Nashville, Tennessee, along with his wife Beth. He says his time in the military has changed his approach to business. “Being in the military taught me discipline, authority, and responsibility,” Phil says. “I learned that if you didn’t do anything about your destination, someone or something would make that decision for you. Therefore, it taught me to do what's right and about providing for the family. It taught process. It’s usually about the process more than the actual result, because if you have the process right, then the results will take care of themselves.” 

Padgett salutes you 

We know these stories represent just a small sample of the veterans who have served our country. We want to recognize not only Padgett franchisee veterans but all the men and women who make up our military. Thank you for your service. 

Do you have the support you need to manage your small business bookkeeping? Contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with a local small business advisor.