Veterans embody bravery and dedication and have served their country in ways many will never comprehend, and while they are celebrated every Veterans’ Day, it is important to remember to express gratitude for their sacrifice all year-round.

People talk a lot about supporting local businesses, and this is true, but to take that a step further, it is also crucial to veteran-owned businesses. The community must support those who’ve fought for their freedom. You may be surprise just how many Veterans transition to new professions or business ventures after their service, and this month, Strictly Business wants to shine a spotlight on the businesses owned by Veterans in the community.

By supporting these businesses you are showing your support for the troops and acknowledging the sacrifices they’ve made for this nation. Reintegrating into civilian life post-deployment can be challenging, and having a supportive community makes all the difference.

As the nation honors Veterans for their bravery and sacrifice, it’s also a time to recognize their entrepreneurial spirit. So delve into the inspiring journeys of Veteran-owned businesses, highlighting their resilience and contributions to your communities.

At Strictly Business, we consider it an honor to spotlight these businesses and the Veterans who lead them. Your bravery, resilience, and commitment to the country are deeply appreciated. Thank you for your service!

If you’re a Veteran-owned business interested in being featured in next year’s spotlight, please contact call the office at (402) 466-3330.

John Berry US Army

John Berry, has been a trial attorney at Berry Law Firm ( since 2003. For the past twenty years, John has been a powerhouse when it comes to his clients. As a Veteran himself, he has skilled knowledge of the Veteran Affairs system and commits himself to finding justice for thousands of Veterans. John makes sure that high standards are met with each case.

John served in the US Army for over 20 years before retiring as a Battalion Commander. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the 299th Regimental Training Institute for his service. He has spent his whole life committing himself to the betterment of the community around him and continues to do so today. His passion extends to his family as well, with his wife and four children continually encouraging him to be the best man he can be.

Berry Law’s success stems from the foundation John has laid. The firm’s most recent accomplishment was being recognized by the Better Business Bureau 2024 BBB Torch Award for Ethics. Berry Law represents veterans with VA appeals nationwide and maintains its regional trial practice that includes criminal defense, personal injury, civil litigation and military law.

With over 250 years of combined legal experience and 300 years of combined military service, the team at Berry Law is well-equipped to handle the most serious legal needs. The firm has expanded to offer Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Veteran’s Law. To learn more, go online to or

Kim Hazelton US Army (1992-1994)

“I completed basic training at Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina. After basic training, I went to Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts where I completed my training as a 98D, or Emitter Locator Identifier.”

Fort Devens is where she met her future husband. When she went to her active duty station with the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion in Augsburg, Germany, he was already stationed at another base across town.

When Kim was pregnant with their first daughter, she spent her time working in the Orderly Room (office) for her unit.  Having spent a few years as a secretary before joining the army, she began envisioning running a secretarial business to provide administrative support for other small business owners after her enlistment was over.

This didn’t immediately pan out, though. Instead, Kim spent more than 20 years in healthcare leadership roles, gaining organizational, management, planning, process improvement and system implementation skills.

Now, Kim has finally returned to those earlier dreams born during her days in the army. With Alpha Zed Business Services, Kim brings all of her experience to the table to help small businesses manage leads, automate communication and streamline business processes. To learn more, visit

Something New in 2024 Veteran Led

Each week, John Berry features a veteran entrepreneur who has overcome adversity, applied military values and translated their skills into building a prosperous business or impactful organization. Guests share their personal stories of resilience, determination and the pivotal moments that propelled them to success in their post-military careers.

Through candid conversations and practical insights, “Veteran Led” ( uncovers the secrets to leveraging military-honed leadership, discipline and strategic thinking to excel in the civilian world. From operations management and talent acquisition to risk mitigation and continuous learning, this podcast equips listeners with a battle-tested playbook for entrepreneurial excellence.

Whether you’re a veteran seeking inspiration, an aspiring entrepreneur craving wisdom or a business leader seeking to cultivate a high-performing team, “Veteran Led” offers a front-row seat to the experiences and lessons that have empowered veterans to conquer new frontiers and leave a lasting legacy.

Join John S. Berry and his exceptional guests as they share their journeys, insights and the unwavering determination that has propelled them from the trenches to the pinnacles of entrepreneurial success. Look for Veteran Led on Apple Podcasts and other top podcast platforms.

Marty Fortney US Marines (1986-1992)

I joined the Marines right out of high school to serve my country. In 1986, during the Cold War, I trained as a combat engineer with a focus on cold weather mountain warfare. I gained experience with explosives, mines and building bridges to support the new 60-ton M1 Abrams tank. After a few years in the Marines, I married my wife, who has now been my partner for 35 years. Six months into our marriage, I was deployed to Kuwait, a little-known country at the time, which gained attention when it was invaded by Saddam Hussein. With no standing army, Kuwait was easily overrun by the opposing forces.

During my deployment, my wife and I communicated through letters, which had a turnaround time of 30-40 days. I can only imagine how difficult it was for my wife and loved ones to watch the news and wonder where we were or if we were still alive.

Ironically, I had trained for years to operate in the mountains – Nonetheless, Marines are taught to adapt and overcome. I witnessed and participated in actions of war that I would wish for no one to witness. The injustices inflicted by the Iraqi Republican Guard on the defenseless people of Kuwait were indescribable. While I am proud to have served my country, I do not believe that war is a solution to any problem. However, I believe that the United States and our coalition forces saved many lives in Kuwait.

Our country is remarkable, with rights protected by our Constitution. Every citizen should know and exercise these rights with civility. Today, I’m proud to continue serving my country in a different way through my small business, Creekside RV Resort. The opportunities that are given to us by the men and women who serve continue to open up for my community. God bless the USA. To learn more about Creekside RV Resort please visit

Keith Fickenscher U.S. Army (1969-1971)

U.S. Army Veteran, Keith Fickenscher, opened Southside Carwash ( on January 1, 1990. Located on the corner of 48th & Nebraska Parkway, the wash is currently owned by Keith and his son, Aaron Fickenscher. The wash offers four self-service bays, along with a Touchless Automatic. Southside Carwash has repeatedly been a pioneer in bringing new features and technologies to the Lincoln market. In a time where the simple Coin-Operated “Wash/Rinse/Wax” options were all that was available to customers, Southside introduced Foaming brushes, presoaks, Spot Free Rinse, hand dryers, credit card acceptance, and the Touchless Automatic.

We take exceptional pride in the appearance, cleanliness and dependability of our wash, which is open 24/7. In our 34 years of washing cars in Lincoln, we have consistently used the highest quality chemicals. Combined with hot, soft water, and a sparkling spot free rinse, we strive to produce the best wash experience possible for our customers. In yet another first for Lincoln, Southside is the only Touchless wash to offer an Unlimited Wash Membership program. Visit to learn more.

Jim Cada US Army (1968-1970)

Jim Cada was born and raised on a farm north of Schuyler. He served in the U.S. Army 1968-1970, obtaining rank of staff Sgt., and leaving with a Purple Heart and honorable discharge. He graduated at UNL with a BS., MA., and JD. Jim’s practice of law includes personal injury, estate planning and probate, collection of business accounts and establishment/representation of business and corporate entities.

Jim currently serves as the NE Aide to Secretary of the Army, is on the Governor’s Advisory Commission and serves as a board member of the Nebraska Veterans Council, which promotes legislation to help veterans. He’s been president of the State Veterans Home Board since 1998; and, since 1994 he has served on the Lancaster County Veterans Service Committee that provides an array of services for veterans.

Jim Cada and Cada Law ( have spent their careers giving individuals, families and businesses the help that they need at the time they need it. With over 50 years of combined experience, we know that our firm could not have had such continued success without a genuine commitment to our clients and community.

Regardless of who you are, your legal issues and concerns are unique, important and deserve to be treated with respect. Call or text today to get the help you need at (402) 477-2233 or email

Austyn Svehla US Marines (2008-2012)

When Austyn Svehla concluded his Marine service, he went looking for the right spot for a haircut. That’s how he discovered Scissors & Scotch (, an upscale men’s barbershop franchise. Austyn would drive 45 minutes from Lincoln to Omaha every two weeks because the cuts at Scissors and Scotch were worth it.

After a decade in the insurance industry, he and his wife were looking for business opportunities, and they quickly decided Scissors and Scotch was just the right one. The franchise prides itself on the experience they offer. From talented stylists to a full-service bar and lounge, Scissors & Scotch is a step above other barbershops and hair salons.

“I never thought I’d find myself sweeping for mines, but there I was in a third-world country doing just that,” Austyn said as he reflected on his time in Afghanistan in 2011. “The Marines taught me adaptability and to perform whatever job is necessary in order to ensure everything is done.”

Austyn served four years in the U.S. Marines. He first became a mechanic and eventually spent a year and a half in Japan for his first tour. After returning to the states for a short stay, he was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months. After ten years in the insurance industry, he has now added business ownership to his resume.

Scissors & Scotch’s first location opened in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2015 by three friends, then began franchising in 2017. Their services include haircuts, shaves, trims, waxing, and a full-service bar and lounge. In addition to the unique business opportunity the franchise provides entrepreneurs, it’s also in a recession-resistant industry.

Scissors & Scotch Lincoln has been open since December 1 and is the first location in the city. The Svehla’s hope to open at least one other location in the future. Learn more at


This is an excellent opportunity for your business or organization to promote your commitment to our country, and your contributions to our community.

Please call (402) 466-3330 or email if you are interested in participating!