Kauzlarich, who had lived in Des Moines and Winterset, joined the Air Force a year after high school and signed up for a position handling and inspecting bombs and other explosive devices. He served for nine years and was deployed to Afghanistan twice.
When Kauzlarich finished his military service as a staff sergeant in 2010, he returned to Des Moines in search of a new career. Turns out there weren’t many civilian jobs in explosives — even fewer if you didn’t want to live in the middle of nowhere.
“Even when you have a plan, it’s such a shock getting out of the military,” he said. “It’s just such a big change.”
Kauzlarich started a family, worked on flipping a house and launched his own home-inspection company. Then in 2013, a friend told him to consider a scholarship program that West Des Moines-based Iowa Realty was offering to veterans.
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