PORTAGE | A combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is now running a growing limousine business that serves Northwest Indiana.
Former Indiana National Guardsman Joshua Seabrook got his start ferrying around soldiers who returned from war zones to be demobilized at Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis. Returning soldiers were outside of town with no cars, so Seabrook took them to pick up their cell phones, run errands, get tattoos or visit steakhouses and a nearby outlet mall.
Seabrook, who served in the military for eight years, served as a lab technician and a medic during his first deployment, and was in charge of a laboratory the second time around.
"I was a little 21-year-old kid, and it put some miles on me," he said. "I got some wisdom."
He provided medical services to refugees and local Afghan people, including a child who was flown out for heart surgery to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, but died two days after returning to Afghanistan.
"It was kind of rough," he said. "We were treating mostly women and children, trying to win hearts. Nothing was safe. We were always being mortared on post."
His unit drove around in Ford Rangers, often with no more firepower than their M4 carbines. They had to be wary of landmines that were planted during Russia's war with Afghanistan.
In Iraq, his patient clinic treated soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and sometimes had to medevac them to a larger Air Force base, which had blood for blood transfusions.
After getting out of the service, Seabrook had a single town car he used to launch his business by Camp Atterbury. Now he has a fleet of a dozen vehicles after he took over the family business, All-Around Limousine Service.
The Portage-based limo service, which his grandfather founded in 1985, serves both Lake and Porter counties. All-Around takes people to airports, concerts, wedding, proms, Quinceaneras and nights out on the town. It's ferried around corporate executives, including from Anheuser-Busch, and celebrities, including Republican presidential frontrunner Ben Carson and the Jackson family.
All-Around also operates three party buses that take people on craft brewery tours and Southwest Michigan tours, which have proven popular with bachelorette parties.
In the long-term, Seabrook hopes to add a few more vehicles, keep his fleet updated, and partner with a few other limo companies to launch an app to compete with the Ubers and Lyfts of the world.
Seabrook said any veterans looking to start their own businesses can always pick his brain, and he has some advice.
"Don't quit your day job too quickly," he said. "I'm a big proponent of not being too much in debt. Loans can make it hard to make any money. With enough energy, you can make it work. A lot of soldiers are making the transition. Seek help from your battle buddies."