National organization looks to help local business

National organization looks to help local business

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A local couple is looking into becoming the first military member-owned business in our area that is connected to a national organization called Homegrown by Heroes.

It's a program from the farmer-veteran coalition, and the idea is to use that specific labeling to identify products that are being made by veterans and active-duty military.  It gives consumers a tangible way to support them and gives the military member a support group to help them market and develop their own business.

The Sparks are considering partnering with the organization because they like how it's open to all veterans and not just one branch of the military.

Tori Sparks and her active-duty soldier husband opened their jelly-making business just over a year ago. She got the idea when she was diagnosed with diabetes during a pregnancy and created a low-sugar recipe for jelly that she and her family could eat. She said it didn't take much coaxing for her husband Luke Parks to jump on board.

"I found something outside the box to do, and in turn my husband loves to do it too. So it actually makes us work better together," Sparks said.

Sparks said since her business is new, having the farmer-veteran coalition's experience and guiding hand will be helpful.

"Maybe a complication or problem that I'm having, the prior vets had it too and they can walk us through and tell us how they solved those problems," Sparks said.

Sparks said when her dad retired there weren't programs like this to help him once he was out.

"It's nice that throughout our service, that times have changed and that there are people out there that realize that there is a need in the transition from going active duty to retired life," Sparks said.

Once veterans discharge from the military, their life changes and they look for something new to do.

"I think it's really important because these folks that are out defending our land," Sparks said. "They in turn at some point and time leave the military and come into a civilian world. I think it's really important that we stay strong and support each other."

Sparks said her husband's retirement from the military is on the horizon.  She says they're already excited about the transition into civilian life, since their new business is already off the ground.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.