A Helping Hand: Vets2Success
SARASOTA - This November Suncoast Veteran Bryan Jacobs has spent most of his time at his new farm. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the first seed was planted in 2014.
"Vets2Success was originally founded due to the loss of my younger brother to veteran suicide; I lost him about four years ago," Jacobs said. "I just knew I had to do something, and at that time I was just a really good cook.”
Like his brother, Jacobs had a rough transition after serving. He was homeless and didn't know how to ask for help, like he says a lot of veterans don't. Now they don't have to ask. Jacobs began mentoring veterans, teaching them to cook and create what he calls their recipe of life. He’s helped countless veterans become chefs in local restaurants, and his love for cooking dates back to when he was a kid.
"If we wanted food, we grew it in the backyard. If I wanted fresh clams, crabs and fish, we went and caught 'em," Jacobs said. So instead of asking for donated ingredients, he decided to grow his own for Vets2Success. That requires 'A Helping Hand,' which Jacobs got from Attorney Carl Reynolds of Carl Reynolds Law Firm.
"We love what you stand for," Reynolds said, presenting a $1,000 check to Jacobs. "I have grandfathers who served, and my kids have three uncles who have served, so God bless you and the work that you do, sir.“
Jacobs typically mentors 15-20 vets a year, but that donation will help fuel the farm, and the farm’s revenue will help put 80 vets through his program next year. Jacobs’ Vets2Success grads work in restaurants like Evie's and Gecko's, and he soon hopes to work with the Longboat Key Club and Ritz Carlton. The farm needs volunteers, so if you’re interested, click here.