“Patience is Key.” With Penny Bauder & John Donoghue

These brave men and women have given up so much so that you can experience freedom. Yes, they made that decision, but they sacrificed so much and when they have completed their jobs, they need you to help. Most of them do not want to be homeless and most of them want to feel normal […]

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These brave men and women have given up so much so that you can experience freedom. Yes, they made that decision, but they sacrificed so much and when they have completed their jobs, they need you to help. Most of them do not want to be homeless and most of them want to feel normal but they need help. Unfortunately, because they are proud people, they will never ask for help so its up to us to make the first move and help them.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing John Donoghue.

John is a 48-year-old father of four, two girls and two boys. He is a retired British Military Veteran who has resided in Canada for the last 13 years. John has experienced the loss and loneliness that many veterans face from being alone on the streets to fighting unseen wars. He suffered in a long battle with PTSD but has learned to overcome and move forward. John has been in the security industry for roughly 30 years between military and VIP guarding services. He briefly owned a canine security service with his now cross trained Belgian Shepherd named Chase. However, at the time when this company could have flourished, John relapsed with severe PTSD and family issues, therefore he once again experienced great loss. With help, John was able to get back under control and has started a path to good health. In the time since the closure of his last business, John has worked for several different high-end Security Companies as a form of research before launching HFH Security Services Inc.

What John came to realize is that all these security companies have the same concerns in regard to their staff, most do not recognize veterans or retired emergency responders’ skills and thinking abilities. All they want is someone who can fill a spot and not look to aid or change the company in any way. This is when John’s light bulb lit up, from all of his years of experience, he understood why other staff members were feeling under valued as well as understanding the business requiring people they can trust to show up and take care. John has always been passionate about helping fellow veterans no matter where they served. Now he is in a position to put a company together that will once again bring respect and worthiness to veterans, retired police and emergency responders.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

Igrew up in a town called Middlesbrough Cleveland which is in North East England. The North East of England was a very rough place to grow and live in, so as a child growing up my first and biggest passion was football (soccer). This was something that took up most of my time and was something that you would find me doing on a daily basis. I was raised by my parents along with my brother and sister until the age of 5. Due to family circumstances, I was moved to live with my grandparents. As a young child and young adult, I really struggled to understand my place in life but always knew deep down that I wanted to help people. My grandfather who was a WW2 veteran spent long hours talking to me about his life in the military and the more I listened the more I knew that I wanted to be a soldier and protect people just as my grandfather had. When I was in my early teens I enlisted and worked hard to be the best in my platoon and honour my grandfather. I witnessed many horrific things in my time with the military, but I also witnessed many heroic moments as well. When my time with the military had come to an end, I was lost and searching for quite some time. I worked in the United States for a time period protecting animals with the Leander Humane Society and was enjoying my time there. However, as is the story with many good men I followed my heart to a young lady who lived in Canada, and that is how I moved here and my life started to change.

You are currently leading a social impact organization. Can you tell us a bit about what you are trying to change in our world today?

HFH SECURITY SERVICES INC’s goal is to change the way the security industry operates and is seen in the world today. There are major issues with veterans and first responders being homeless or out of work due the difficulties they face once leaving the military or working as a first responder. Many spend years of their life training and studying to do the best that they can do in the job they have. Then, when they leave the military or their jobs as first responders, they find it difficult to adjust to a normal civilian life. At HFH SECURITY SERVICES INC., we want to give them the opportunity to use the skills and training they have to work in the security industry. As a company, we want to make a positive change and shed light on all areas of personal, company and corporate security by giving it a higher standing through a sense of pride for the employees and a greater sense of community and safety for the clients.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

As a veteran, I have always been passionate about helping my fellow brothers and sisters, having worked in the security industry for over 30 years. Through many different conversations over the years, the number one concern of all the first responders and military men and women is what are they going to do when they transition from their jobs. Being a military member, a police officer, an EMT or firefighter will give you a certain set of skills and abilities. Each of these fields can make it very hard to transition to a normal civilian life and a lot of the times people are required to leave theirs posts before they may be physically or mentally ready to retire. From my personal experience, there are some companies in the security industry that really do not care about your skills or background as long as you can fit into a uniform and be at work at a certain time. However, at HFH, we will take into consideration all your skills and abilities as well as your background and home life responsibilities. I have an overwhelming desire to make a huge impact in this industry, it is time for change.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I was working for a company that claimed to be the best in the industry and in my initial interview, I was told: “Yes, you have a great resume and a great background, but we’ve had people like you before who believe that they are too good to open a door for somebody.” This threw me off as my resume and background have nothing to do with whether or not I can open a door for somebody as I believe that this is just basic manners that we are all taught as children.

Anyway, I got the job, and while sitting in an apartment complex as a concierge I knew that there had to be something better. I went on a smoke break, and I found myself talking to a gentleman who was begging for change. He told me that he was a Canadian Veteran and had been living on the streets for almost 5 years. He wanted a break in life and he wanted to find a job but this was difficult as he had no family and no address. This got me thinking: What if I could start a security company that could help him and others solve their problems, so the thought process for HFH Security Services Inc. began.

Many people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

The biggest thing with starting a security company is all the licensing requirements which is a slow and somewhat agonizing process, especially for me because when I set my mind to something, I want it to happen fast but this requires attention to details and patience. Next, you need to take the name you decided on and create the logo, making sure to copyright. This is also a good time to start building a social media presence so that you can start getting the word out about the company. On top of that, I also spoke to some of my contacts and friends to get their opinion as to what they thought about the new company. I did a lot of asking questions and a lot of research. The best advice is to be persistent, not everything works out the first time.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your organization?

Well, I think the most interesting story that we have had so far was being offered the opportunity to be recognized as a Social Impact Hero via Thrive Global and Authority Magazine! Not only has it been such an honour to be featured, it’s the perfect platform for HFH to show the world that we are a company dedicated to helping veterans and first responders not only by giving them jobs but also by giving them the hope that there is still a future that is worth fighting for.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

As we are just in the process of starting, we have not really made many mistakes except with paperwork and filling the right ones with the corresponding division of government. However, we will always try to our best to assess any risks before it happens.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

My partner Faith, her son and her Autistic daughter have been my support system since we met almost 3 years ago. My life has changed so much since I have become part of their family. Faith has helped me refocus and reignite my drive and ambition by her support, patience and understanding. She is very aware of the struggles I have had and the challenges I face. Our children give me the balance and the family support I require to push for the best security company and the ability to give back to others like myself.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

As we are still in the start-up stages, we have not been able to impact a particular individual. However, as we grow and we move forward with the company, we hope that we can impact and help thousands of veterans and first responders and their families. On a side note, you could say that I have really helped myself, due to the energy that I am putting into starting this company and what it represents has helped me become more focused to fight the battle that my brothers and sisters are still facing everyday.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

1. Raise more awareness and support for veterans and first responders. Such as awareness of their abilities and the effects of military service and similar work.

2. Have more funds available for those who want to work but need that help to get started. Eg. Security training at reduced costs for those who want to learn but do not have the funds to do so.

3. The ability to identify and assist with homelessness and initial help centers: There have been cuts across the board and the system is lacking in its support.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. They would have told me to double check partners before signing on everything. I initially set up my company with another veteran but his family was not supportive of our cause and business. Therefore, I had to start all over again which set the company back in time and resources.
  2. Social media was not originally on my to do list, however, now I know it’s an integral part of any business. There are numerous courses online and I’ve been fortunate to educate myself on how to best use each platform to reach a target audience. HFH Security Services Inc. is currently active on Facebook, and I am thinking of expanding to LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
  3. Patience is the key in all business endeavors. Knowing when to have it and when not to is wisdom that garnered over the years. I had a K9 business before, where I moved too fast and did not have all the requirements in place which led me to close it.
  4. To have self-determination. I have been told for years by many people that I am not good enough to have a company that takes care of people. I now have the opposite; I have a whole family telling me I can do anything I put my head to. Now, I believe I can really make a difference.
  5. Its ok to ask for help. I have always tried to do everything all on my own since leaving the military and I’ve learned that this does not always work best.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

These brave men and women have given up so much so that you can experience freedom. Yes, they made that decision, but they sacrificed so much and when they have completed their jobs, they need you to help. Most of them do not want to be homeless and most of them want to feel normal but they need help. Unfortunately, because they are proud people, they will never ask for help so its up to us to make the first move and help them.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would personally like to meet Gary Sinise as I have watched him for years. I really honour and respect him for all the work he does for veterans as well as his humility. Yes, he is an A-list actor but that never shows when he is supporting the troops.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow us on our website at www.hfhsecurity.com as we will soon be starting our blog pages. Or, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/honouringfallenheroes

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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