Wounded veterans find recipe for their futures at Dog Tag Bakery



By Jim Axelrod

Welcome to Dog Tag Bakery, now open in Washington, D.C., after eight years of planning and prayer.

“I never gave up because I knew that this was a good work,” founder Rick Curry said. Curry had the “prayer” part covered. As for other, secular resources, this Jesuit priest partnered up with a real estate mogul named Connie Milstein.

“He is the Jesuit father, and I am the Jewish godmother,” Milstein said at the bakery’s opening ceremony. Both wanted to help disabled veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan ease into the next chapter of their lives. They opened Dog Tag to make sure the vets would have marketable skills.

“I was trained as a baker as a very young Jesuit, and I thought, ‘I’m going to teach them how to bake,'” Curry recalls.

Here, the fellows, as they’re called, learn not just how to bake but also how to run the business of a bakery. Veterans like retired Army Ranger Sedrick Banks, whose neck was broken in a mortar attack in Iraq.

“Dog Tag was my first major step back into the working mindset,” Banks said. “Before the program, I didn’t have confidence. I didn’t feel like I had the ability. Now I’m confident in myself, you know?”

“The world thinks that disabled veterans can’t be hired. And that’s absolutely absurd,” Curry said. “And we’re here to prove them wrong.”

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