St. Louis Public Radio News
6:53 pm
Wed July 6, 2005

Citizen soldiers explain difficulties

St. Louis, MO. – Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is studying the plight of small business owners deployed in the National Guard and Reserves.

At a roundtable meeting in Clayton Wednesday Akin heard from veterans and advocates who say citizen soldiers often have trouble maintaining their staffs and customers while away for extended periods.

Missouri National Guardsman William Stephen owns a small shipping company in Branson. He lost $174,000 in sales and $62,000 out of pocket after he deployed.

"We have no collateral; we have nothing that a common, everyday banker will give us a loan on," Stephen said. "And because they won't allow us the money to rebuild and get new business, there is no plan in effect to show that I can repay this loan if they do give it to me."

Stephen and others are calling on Congress to initiate reforms to make business loans more accessible to veterans.