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Former NATO Commander Brings Veteran Entrepreneur Opportunity To San Antonio

Eileen Pace

A former NATO commander is in San Antonio to promote a new business opportunity for veterans. The Grilled Cheese Truck, a company from Los Angeles, has announced it is expanding its veteran-owned businesses to the Alamo city.

General Wesley Clark commanded thousands of troops from Vietnam to Fort Hood. He was a Rhodes Scholar, has received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, and held the position as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

Today the retired four-star general is making gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Clark is helping to establish business ownership opportunities for veterans with the new Grilled Cheese Truck franchises.

He unveiled the concept at the San Antonio Boys and Girls Club Wednesday.

"It's a very tough thing when you get out of the military," Clark said. "You just don't have the relationships, you often have family obligations, you've just come back from overseas, you've got to get reintegrated in the society and it's tough."

Credit Eileen Pace / TPR
General Wesley Clark (left) unveils Grilled Cheese Trucks for veteran jobs.

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Gibson is the company’s first veteran owner.

"I was part of the Wounded Warrior Project and I was getting job leads all the time from them, but there wasn't anything really that interested me or the pay wasn't very good at the time," Gibson said.

Gibson will train the first wave of vets from San Antonio in the business, which Clark said is not like other food trucks.

"This is for organizations who want what we call in the Army 'logistic support.' And so you want food for a meeting or a convention. It's not like you're walking down the street and say, 'Hey, look at that truck. I wonder what they're selling,'" he said.

There is a franchise fee for veterans to pay off over time, but there is no up-front investment and the trucks are loaned to the veterans.

The company has reserved the first 100 trucks in San Antonio for veterans.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.