Like many members of the baking industry, Jeff Dearduff actively supports the military, but the affinity he has for the troops come from a cause close to home. For many years, his brother Scott’s service in the Air Force wasn’t more than a job; however, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed all that.

“He wasn’t in a job anymore; he was in honest-to-God service to our country, putting his life on the line,” Jeff said. Recently, Scott Dearduff published his second book, “Chief,” which is a one-year account of his leadership tours in Iraq.

“It was like living through what he went through every day. I couldn’t put it down,” he proudly recalled.

Accounts such as Scott’s clearly illustrate the qualities that U.S. veterans can bring to baking. Jeff suggested that the industry can benefit from taking an active role in “hire a hero” programs. In an industry that is in many ways outgrowing its workforce, military veterans could be the key to bringing in the next generation of bakery operators. But it’s up to the industry to reach out, he suggested.

“I don’t think there’s any company that wouldn’t welcome a military veteran into its organization,” Jeff said. “But we can’t wait for them to knock on the door. We’ve got to bring them into our business with purpose.”

Companies can find more information on veteran job fairs by visiting