A loan of $10,000 helped weatherstrip our greenhouses and retrofit our heating, to make us even more green!

Antje's story

The road to owning his own wholesale greenhouse operation took Jamie Critelli around the world in the military and back to Elmira, N.Y.

Jamie’s first inkling to join the military came as a young guy in the Boy Scouts when he noticed how a leader’s vision could inspire others. The cost of a Cornell education sealed the deal. Jamie joined the Army Reserve ROTC, which paid 80 percent of his college tuition and
costs and allowed him to earn his degree in horticulture with just a $20,000 bill to pay after graduation.

The ROTC also developed his leadership skills. After serving his country,
Jamie completed his eight-year initial service obligation as a captain in the Army Reserve. He spent three years of his service time in Korea, Germany and Kosovo and one more in Iraq.

“My specialty was aviation logistics, such as refueling and rearming helicopters and resupplying repair parts,” Jamie says. “During my last six months of service, I picked up a resupply mission to the front lines of Iraq, which was a harrowing experience.”
Running repair parts from an airbase north of Bagdad to the
front lines meant facing combat every week. “That’s just the way
it was,” Jamie recalls.

As a leader, Jamie was troubled that the difficult and dangerous
work that his troop provided to the front lines was not
appreciated by those combat soldiers.
To win their hearts and minds — and their protection —
Jamie’s unit held an ice cream social. It was a huge undertaking,
requiring ice cream, sprinkles and whipped cream flown in from
Germany for 1,200 soldiers. “But it was worth it,” Jamie said.
“Those guys became our friends, and we gained a helicopter
escort to protect us along the route.

“When I look back, I realize that my time in Iraq was rewarding.
I brought my people home alive. I appreciated the opportunity
to lead soldiers and to learn firsthand what leadership
is all about.”

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About Floral Beauty Greenhouses

Industry: Agriculture
Years in operation: 3 years - 5 years
Website: floralbeauty.com


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