The Washington, D.C./Baltimore region is an area where nearly everyone has some connection to the military. They’re on active duty or have served in the past or, if not, they know a friend or family member with connections to the military or work for a contractor connected with the military. Yet the relationship of the Online Trading Academy centers in D.C. and Baltimore to the community is something special, and you can recognize it as soon as you walk in the door.
“We have a big ‘Project Vets’ sign on the wall right by the front door,” Owner/General Manager Chris Koomey explains. “We focus on community and in specific on the 19 year old kid who had the world by the tail, then was injured while serving and now is wondering what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.”
Project Vets has sponsored $1.5 million in scholarships for these “Wounded Warriors” to get training at Online Trading Academy and help bring purpose, meaning and self-satisfaction back into their lives. A great example is Joshua Himan, a U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal whose war injuries left him a quadriplegic.
To paraphrase what Josh told Chris Koomey, in comparing his OTA education with his work toward a master’s degree: “My masters of finance told me my job was to make things complicated, but at OTA I learned to make things simple and that’s how I make money. I was able to fund my own care through my trading so my sister can return to work.”
Another example is Mark Lytinski, a Marine Corps rifleman who lost three limbs in an IED blast. Wondering how to provide for a future, he came to Online Trading Academy with his wife and “now I have hope.” The Litynskis have since moved to Minnesota where they take financial education classes at that OTA center and supplement their income through trading.
Chris Koomey is proud of the accomplishments of students like these and eager to share them at venues like “Beethoven Found”, the nation’s largest event for wounded veterans which will be held this week in Northern Virginia. Over 35,000 attendees are expected ncluding some 400 OTA graduates. Koomey is an official sponsor and will provide a barbecue tent where all are welcome.
“I can’t tell you how many people have signed up for advanced classes because of programs like Project Vet,” says Koomey. “We’re ‘embedded’ in the DC/Baltimore community and it’s great to help people pursue their dreams and achieve them.”
Before Online Trading Academy, Koomey was an attorney specializing in small business. He sees a lot of similarity with trading as a business. “We ask people why are you doing this, what kind of legacy do you want to provide. Then we provide an action plan along with a team of people to support you. You don’t have to do this by yourself.” It’s a message that resonates particularly well with his community of veterans.