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Grant Money To Help Navy Veteran Build Child Indoor Play Center Business

by Robert Tourjie
(Swansboro, NC, USA)

I am 46 years old, have been married to my wife for 16 years and we have three young children. I am a US Navy Veteran and live in Swansboro, NC.

I strive to provide for my children's future. My dream to make that future ideal is to secure their financial independence by passing down a profitable business I built from the ground up.


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Disability Issues

My troubles began when I was injured aboard ship while doing my job as a firefighter and corpsman in the US Navy.

After a training exercise, an ordinance failed to secure a firing pin into a missile aboard one of the aircraft. The missile launched into other aircraft on board and I was part of the first-response crew.

I was working on putting out flames inside the hangar when orders came down to get the rest of the aircraft out of the hangar. A P-3 Orion was started up while I was standing next to it and the propeller struck me in the head.

The incident left me with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). I was in a coma for several days. I had to re-learn how to walk, write and talk.

I was given an honorable discharge from the Navy with very few benefits. I ended up on SSI Disability since I was left with a seizure disorder that inhibited me from getting a driver's license.

After several years of seeing a Neurologist and participating in drug studies to help with traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, I recovered quite a bit.

I was declared one-year seizure-free in 1996 and was granted my driver's license. Today I am still seizure-free but suffer from moderate short-term memory loss and some hearing loss.

Financial Hardship

In 2013 we have struggled due to the lack of work. We are currently behind by one month on practically every bill we have. I have been told that work will pick up soon, but was often told that throughout the year.

The VA benefits I receive are spent on essential household bills and that resource is often exhausted within two days of being deposited.

I have been forced to go to the emergency room on three different occasions because of kidney stones since 2010 and have considerable outstanding medical bills as a result of not being able to afford health insurance and having VA benefits disqualifying me for Medicaid.

I am currently on a waiting list for a state program that should help me receive some hearing aids.

Income Efforts

I began working again once I was cleared for a driver's license in 1996. I worked my way from a warehouse employee to warehouse manager of a local flooring store.

I then learned how to install flooring and began taking on small jobs as a sub-contractor for the store as well. By 2000, I had decided to expand the flooring installation business I was doing and start working at it full-time.

I was working on removing and installing new VCT tile flooring at USMC Cherry Point base housing on September 11, 2001.

Since then I've spent seven and a half years as a General Manager for Pizza Hut, and the past three years back at installing flooring, primarily on the local military bases.

Due to several delays in the past year, for a variety of reasons from contracts pending appropriations to the government shutdown, work has been significantly less in 2013 than any other year I've been in the business.

My family in 2013 based on our income qualified for SSI for our son who has Autism, food stamps, Medicaid and WIC. I receive disability payments through the VA as a 50% disabled veteran.

There were several months in 2013 that I was without work for the entire month despite seeking out other jobs, contractors, and networking with realtors.

Each time, the VA benefits, SSI and food stamps were our saving grace and without them, our family would have struggled to get enough food.

Specific Needs

I've decided enough is enough. I need a plan that will really look toward the future. My knees have taken a tremendous amount of wear over the years and I won't be able to work on them forever.

I am looking for grants, legal help with filing an LLC, help writing a business plan, and advice on starting a successful business.

Business Idea

My business idea is for an indoor play center for children. The business will have inflatable slides and bounce castles, birthday party rooms, arcade games, Skeeball and indoor playground equipment.

Additional bounce castles will be available for rental and will be marketed for birthday parties.

I plan to start by filing an LLC and investing enough of my own money to secure the first bounce castle/slide. All revenue earned with that slide will be reinvested into the business in order to obtain more units that can be rented.

Expansion to a building for the indoor play center is the ultimate goal. I believe that once the business is making a sustainable profit and good amount of regular business from the inflatable rentals, it will naturally have accrued credit references and financials showing the fruit of my efforts.

I will prove that my business will create jobs and have very little risk to any bank or investor. That is when I will be ready to pick the future site of the indoor play center.

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