Vets making transition from military to civilian life

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- There was no rest for Chad Hollenbeck.

The 25-year Army veteran spent Friday completing lunges, jabs and burpees.

"This is what you need, you know,” he said to WEAU 13 News on Friday. “You get your endorphins going, better attitude, better everything."

Hollenbeck is a local franchise owner for 9ROUND – an international kickboxing fitness franchise that is committed to helping veterans.

This fits well for the former lieutenant colonel, with two tours of duty in his resume. In 2004 and 2005, he served as a sniper platoon leader in Iraq. Then, in 2009 and 2010, he was an infantry company commander.

"We did a lot of physical training there,” Hollenbeck said. “This is something I wanted to start, wanted to get into the gym business and I just love the model, the process that we have here."

Last year, a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration showed there were about 2.52 million businesses in the nation mainly owned by veterans. The report showed small businesses owned by vets employed 5.03 million people and represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses.

For those leaving the military, making the transition back to civilian life can have its fair share of ups and downs.

"Everyone wants to hire veterans. So, it's easier now, but it's still difficult for the individual themselves to make that work," Adam Kohls, interim director of the Eau Claire County Veterans Services office, said to WEAU 13 News on Friday.

"A veteran knows their place, because of their rank. So, they can fall in and work under people, they can work for people, they can have people work under them. But that's what the military is – it's leadership and following leaders."

Hollenbeck said that he's offering free memberships to 9ROUND for veterans during the month of November as a way to salute them.

He’s has run the Eau Claire location on Farifax St. for four years and said he's proud to use this place in a way to give back to those like him who've served.

"I love it. I continue to love it and the workout just amazing. You know, I love the people that come in here. They inspire me to do what we do. So, it's a great connection, a great piece that we use."

“This is one common thing is if they say ‘Hey, let's get in shape. Let's start working out,’ you start sweating, you’re going to feel better and it's going to transition into other parts your life and help you with PTSD issues or whatever issues you have in transitioning to civilian life.”