For U.S. Army veteran John Ortiz and his wife, Jaime, taking out also means giving back.
The Fort Worth couple, owners of a JDog Junk Removal & Hauling franchise, spend their days moving out couches, hot tubs and other unwanted items from customers’ houses. Some of the stuff is still in good shape, so instead of throwing it all into a landfill, the couple saves the items for Liberty House, a shelter for homeless veterans in Fort Worth.
“We never thought about having a chance to help people out,” John Ortiz said. “We really never even thought about it, but when this came along, it was like, ‘Hey, we can have better lives, possibly a better future, and we can actually help people at the same time.’ ”
JDog, a Pennsylvania-based junk removal company with 61 franchises nationwide, offers franchising opportunities solely to veterans or their families. Franchisees get a Hummer, wrapped in camouflage with the JDog logo, which is used to haul out customers’ unwanted items.
When John Ortiz came across JDog online, he said, getting involved was a “no brainer.”
John Ortiz served in the Army from 2002-2006. He spent a year in Iraq in 2003 and worked as a petroleum laboratory specialist, preparing military-grade fuel for transportation units such as trucks and helicopters.
“Seeing the world, seeing Iraq itself and Kuwait, and the poverty, and how much those people are suffering, it was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “I’m grateful that I went through it.”
After he left the Army, he became a wireline operator for an oil field service company. He worked in the oil industry for several years and met his wife, Jaime, in the process, but he soon found that his job didn’t allow him to spend as much time with family as he wanted.
“It took me about 10 years to figure out there was more to life than just work,” John Ortiz said.
So he decided to try something new. When he learned about JDog, it seemed like the perfect fit, he said. All franchisees must be veterans or veterans’ family members, and the company’s president and CEO, Jerry Flanagan, is an Army veteran himself.
John Ortiz said JDog was something he and his wife could do together.
“The headquarters, the people in the office, are all ex-military, and the people running the business are going to be all military,” he said. “It felt like I was going to be really comfortable.”
And in the two months they’ve been with JDog, John and Jaime say, they’ve enjoyed it. Jaime Ortiz said their three kids love the camouflage truck dubbed the “JDog mobile,” and the family often goes on junk removal trips together.
But the best part of the job, Jaime Ortiz says, is using their work to serve the community.
“It’s a great way for the community to give back, and it’s a great way for us to give to the community,” she said.
JDOG JUNK REMOVAL