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Vets with New Businesses Get Free Boost

Started in November 2011, GeorgiaLocalSearch.com offers online promotion at no charge to service men and women wanting to start their own ventures.

The high unemployment rates for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan inspired the owners of one West Cobb business to do their part in bringing that number down.

Started last November, GeorgiaLocalSearch.com creates online profiles and helps with the overall Internet marketing and presence for businesses in five metro Atlanta counties: Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding.

Service men and women returning from the Middle East who want to launch their own business are given the services free for a year, said Ken Adams, a retired BellSouth executive who runs the business with his wife, Donna Rae, and son, Kenny Jr.

“The guys that have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan have sacrificed so much—they’ve given so much of their lives for our freedom—so I felt like it was worthwhile for our company to stand up for those guys as they came home,” Adams said.

Veterans who have served since September 2001 saw a 2011 unemployment rate of 12.1 percent, while the country’s overall rate bounced around 9 percent.

For those veterans ages 18-24, last year’s unemployment rate was 29.1 percent; of those with service-related disabilities, 26 percent reported being unemployed in August 2011.

Adams, 57, started the faith-based Georgia Local Search after working on a similar project for Yellow Pages in Kansas City for a year and a half.

But with his family in Cobb, Adams decided to come back and start Georgia Local Search. “It was a great thing, except I couldn’t talk my wife into leaving our church, our family or our friends.”

The family is in the beginning stages of reaching out to local veterans and veteran groups, said Adams, the son of an Army dad and a Marine mom who at 17 during the Korean War era was the youngest female Marine in Washington D.C.

To help get the word out, the Adams partnered with West Cobb Business Association President Krystine Torella, an associate broker with Keller Williams Realty. , which gives veterans housing discounts and 25 percent of realtors’ commissions.

She said the percentage is “just a fraction of what my freedom cost them.”

“Teaming up with Georgia Local Search and the Adams family was natural for me as a Homes for Heroes affiliate,” Torella said. “We all have the common goal of giving back to those that sacrifice for us everyday.”

Veterans starting a new business interested in using Georgia Local Search can contact the Adams at 404-797-3300 or info@georgialocalsearch.com.

“I felt we should extend every opportunity to the thousands of American men and women who put their lives on the line so we may enjoy the freedoms and democracy that make our country so great,” Donna Rae Adams said. “This program is one way we can give back to these local heroes.”

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