Greetings from Kiowa, Colorado, the county seat of Elbert County.
In the past several weeks, I've had several conversations about what veterans (and specifically, retirees) bring to a local community. First, there's our retired paychecks. While most of us won't readily admit, as retired military already collecting a paycheck, we can afford to take more risks than others can, including in pay and benefits. I won't argue we must or should take less pay, but here in Colorado, we find local government in two types of places that should be actively recruiting military retirees: our mountain ski communities (where the cost of living is high) and in our rural areas (where local government pay is less than our urban centers). In both cases, retiree pay makes those locations more palatable, while still attracting smart, motivated, and motivational talent to where it is most needed (especially rural areas). A second advantage of those retiree paychecks is that we can afford to take entrepreneurial risks that others can't. We can actually afford to devote ourselves full- or part-time to a new business with a very solid safety net below which our families will never fall. Finally, veterans of all shades bring additional small business resources, such as our connection to SBA via Boots-to-Business.
So...my question to this group...are there successful models out there for recruiting veterans and retirees to communities? Not just to retire, but to re-engage with their new communities?
I look forward to the conversation.