Three years ago, John Ortiz and his wife Jaime sold their home in Colorado and came to Texas to start their junk hauling business.
John Ortiz, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait, wanted to work alongside other veterans, and he and his wife launched a franchise of JDOG Junk Removal and Hauling, a veteran-owned company with headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Now, the Ortiz’s have 17 employees working out of a 5,000-square foot warehouse on East Daggett Ave., and the company is expanding to Arlington and Dallas.
“The truck dashboard was our first office,” Jaime Ortiz recalled.
“I would use my arm to hold down the notebook so that I could write schedules and book appointments,” she said.
The Ortiz’s credit their success to their employees, and the company’s mission of empowerment, service and protection.
JDOG empowers veterans by giving them jobs and it serves the community by donating furniture and other items to help homeless veterans, single moms and others who need a hand, Jaime Ortiz said. The company also recycles metal and other items to protect the environment.
Ortiz said he was lucky when he left the military because when he got his job in the oil fields in Colorado, he worked with other veterans.
Veterans enjoy working with each other because they are used to camaraderie and team work, he said.
One such veteran is Chris Perez, a Purple Heart recipient who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perez was also instrumental in helping JDOG receive its Purple Heart designation by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. In order to qualify, a business needs to have an owner or an employee who is a Purple Heart recipient.
Perez said it was strange to adjust to life after combat.
“It was weird, I didn’t know what to do at first,” he said. “It was strange after so many years of being indoctrinated in the Army and being told what to do at all times.”
Perez said he was scrolling through Facebook when he saw comments from Ortiz, who was his childhood friend in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
‘I couldn’t believe it. I saw pictures of John and pictures of his trucks,” Perez said.
When he first started at JDOG, Perez worked with a crew on a truck. Now, he is the business development manager for the company.
“John and Jaime saw that I like working with people,” he said.
Perez is also training his service dog, Newman, and brings his dog to work where he is exposed to people and other activity.
John Ortiz said that every day is an adventure, and his employees treat the work like a mission.
The jobs include hauling away a refrigerator, clearing out an attic or tearing down a shed, Ortiz said.
“We get a lot of appreciation from customers. It could be cleaning out a home of a loved one that passed away. It’s all about helping people, and it gives our guys a real sense of accomplishment,” he said.
Max Henderson works at JDOG during the summers, but he also teaches fifth grade grade math at High Point Academy in White Settlement.
Henderson, who served in the Navy, wanted something to do when he wasn’t teaching and found JDOG.
One of his most important accomplishments was helping a single mom who is also a Navy veteran. She needed furniture and other things for her apartment.
“We don’t do this to feel good about ourselves. It brings out the compassion. That’s one thing you take away from a job,” Henderson said.