Abilene means business, veteran-owned businesses

March 14, 2022Benjamin Young


The Chamber’s March focus on military affairs continues today as a means of enlightening our community on the importance our air base has on our region.

Today’s column is by Chamber member Benjamin Young, of the Brightway Agency.

We invite you and those you know to become a member of our Military Affairs effort.  For more information, contact Chamber Vice President, Military Affairs, Gray Bridwell at Gray@abilenechamber.com.

Doug Peters, President & CEO

Abilene means business, veteran-owned businesses

 By Benjamin Young

Owner, Brightway, The Young Agency

Abilene has a special place in my heart. It’s not just the people, it’s not just the revitalization efforts. It’s a culture, a culture designed around the support of Dyess AFB and our military community.

I grew up in what was once a small town called Dripping Springs, Texas, which has now evolved into a metropolitan suburb of Austin. In the summers I would visit my grandparents in Sweetwater for a couple of weeks. While in Sweetwater we did things that normal kids would do, hunt for horned toads, drive a tractor, pick up pecans and our favorite experience, visit Abilene. For as long as I can remember, Abilene has had a special place in my heart. From the bedtime stories my grandmother would tell me about growing up in the Hendrick Home for Children to the fun trips to Abilene to visit the iconic landmarks of Gatti-Town and the old Toys ‘R’ Us.

After high school I decided to join the U.S. Air Force. Dyess was always number one on my list of bases to be stationed. I ended up having to wait a bit to get there, being stationed all over the world before having my opportunity to be in Abilene. When the time finally came it was everything I had hoped it to be. It was a place that rallied around its Military Community. It was a place that as newlyweds, offered my wife and I lots of opportunity and a wonderful community in which to start a family. As it turns out, it was the place we would call home for the rest of our lives.

One thing that intrigued us about staying in Abilene was the abundant support of Veteran-Owned Businesses. Deciding to exit the military is an ominous decision but we felt that the supportive community that Abilene has toward the military would likely parlay to an easier transition to owning a business.

Abilene is full of incredible businesses and even more incredible business owners. From a couple of our favorite restaurants like Cypress Street Station, Vagabond Pizza and The Shed, to so many of the local boutiques my wife loves to shop at, the incredible Abilene Zoo and the non-profits that shine the philanthropic spirit of what it’s like to be an Abilenian. Abilene businesses have such a warm and big heart for our Dyess friends and military community, it’s no wonder that so many have been like me and chosen to stay in Abilene permanently.

This is a place that thrives on its support of Dyess. It’s no wonder that the military community honor which is awarded to the community that shows the best support for their installation is rightfully known as the Abilene Trophy, and we should be proud of that! I for one am thankful. I’m thankful for the business community that accepted us so easily and mentored us to be successful. I’m proud to be part of a vast military-owned business community that continues to invest in to the lives of others. I’m proud to see more veteran owned businesses choose to open here every year. You should be too.

Abilene may not be the biggest city but it is the biggest, little city with the largest heart for military community and business support and that’s something to be proud of. That’s something to hang your hat on. That’s something to brag about! To the businesses in Abilene that have continued to support Veteran-Owned Businesses and the Dyess community, you have my deepest gratitude, it’s because of you that we are here, it’s because of you that we’ll stay.

Benjamin Young 



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