We all have likely experienced a setback in a dream or goal pursuit. It’s hard enough to uncover what your heart’s desire is, let alone take the necessary steps to achieve that goal. Thus, heartache is particularly penetrating when you’ve got the dream in your hands and it seems to turn to sand. More often than not, our life obstacles arrive not to rob us of joy, but instead redirect us to more appropriate joy avenues where our personas, time, and talents can best be served. A destiny-filled destination we otherwise would not have known had we continued on our fixed course.
No one knows this better than former military police captain, Dawn Halfaker. Dawn found her purpose and calling in leading troops into combat, but an ambush in Iraq left her without her right arm and sent her back to the states and back to “reality”.
In an interview with Jeanean Chun of The Huffington Post, Dawn says, “I was in a lot of pain. I really thought my life was over. I had a hard time accepting everything they were telling me. I lost my arm, but losing my career was what I felt I had to recover from”.
Dawn was in a space that many of us find ourselves in amidst a layoff, divorce, or retirement– the “Where do I go from here?” scenario.
Dawn confesses, "What kept me up at night was not knowing what I was going to do. I still wanted to be with my platoon and figure out a way to do what I was doing before," she said. "The fact that my soldiers were still over there motivated me to start a business and continue being part of the fight."
Ever the tenacious trooper, Dawn used her skills of strategy to develop a way to fight on the frontlines–for the troops–from her desk chair. Instead of finding a job, she decided to make her own company. Her ammunition of choice: job creation. Her target: the veteran unemployment rate.
With her new strategy in place, Dawn launched her software company Halfaker and Associates and officially started a new life as an entrepreneur. With the new endeavor, a different dream also emerged for Dawn: to improve the resourcefulness of military technology for ground troops & to hire other veterans making the same transition to the job market to accomplish this feat (over 150 employees and counting).
With this move, Dawn did an effective favor to the government she once physically fought for. Not only does she help with veteran unemployment rates, but she also leverages on the vast experience and capabilities of these wounded warriors and veterans. It was business savvy in addition to a soulful and skillful move. Dawn points out, “Our veterans want to contribute and make a difference, and they have the leadership experience and technical skills to do that”.
Dawn has seen such success from her businesses model that she is empowering other business leaders who wish to incorporate more veterans to their workforce with the Warriors to Work Program.
While Halfaker and Associates & Warriors to Work may not have been on Dawn’s initial roadmap, they are in fact what she now calls her life purpose. Each day they fuel her commitment to serve herself, her fellow veterans, and the country she will always be proud to uphold.
Thank you Dawn for being a brilliant example of not only entrepreneurial spirit, but the American spirit as well.