AUSTIN, Texas - Getting out of the Armed Forces can be a difficult time for many but a local Airborne Ranger decided to put all the passion he felt for the Army into a new business. Tania Ortega has more on Ranger Cattle Company in a special FOX 7 Care Force story.
Ranger Cattle's motto is "From the battlefield to the cattle field."
Josh Eilers is the owner. After he was hurt in action, he could no longer be a soldier so he decided to pursue another lifelong goal.
Eilers says, "When I didn't want to be a soldier, I wanted to be a cowboy, and I was a soldier then, so why not be a cowboy now?"
On any given day you can find Eilers on an East Austin field. He finds the peace and quiet there that he didn't get while he was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Being able to come out here alone, the therapeutic value is well worth it," Eilers says.
Like thousands of others, Eilers was inspired to join the Army after 9/11. He had to wait a few years but he enlisted and eventually became an Airborne Ranger.
"If you're going to do something, do it right. And so I just didn't want to join the military and fight the war. I wanted to do it the best I could," Eilers says.
But during his deployment in Afghanistan, the thing that every soldier's family fears came true.
"I was wounded by a Taliban fighter. He threw a grenade on me during an ambush and I took a fair amount of shrapnel from it," Eilers says.
Eilers healed and eventually came home and received a Purple Heart. He then decided to use his GI bill and go to the college of his dreams: the University of Texas.
Eilers says, "When I got accepted there it was pretty easy decision. I've served my country, my time is up in the military and it's time for the next step in my life to better myself."
Eilers studied biology at UT. He decided to invest the money he had saved during deployments in cattle. Wagyu cattle to be exact. The most expensive type of beef.
"They're about as high quality as you're going to get in the States," Eilers says.
But through it all, Eilers has made a point of helping other veterans by showing them his happy place.
"These animals don't know you have a lot going for you. They don't know that you can become something great and they don't care. I think that's a huge aspect, you know it's very humbling for me to sit here and then for every veteran that's ever come out," Eilers says.
Eilers is now up to about 35 cattle but plans to continue growing his business.
"I'd like to get quite a bit bigger. I like to dream big, so if we had a few hundred that would be nice one day, you know we'll get there," Eilers says.