Mike Sformo, Founder and CEO of Operation Backbone is our guest in this episode of the Spotlight on the VeteranCrowd Network. Sformo grew up in the Buffalo area and joined the Navy right out of high school.
“I learned so much, it was such a blessing. Where I am today is because of the Navy – the friendships, the connections, it was the greatest thing ever.”
Founded almost ten years ago, Operation Backbone performs thousands of skull and spine surgeries for our nation’s warriors.The problem is significant – traumatic brain injuries and serious spine problems can develop after repeated blows, and one can never predict the tipping point.
In addition, our warriors are prone to tough out the injuries – it’s a part of the culture. They have careers at risk, security clearances, retirement, benefits. Thus they endure the pain until problems compound or reach the breaking point. Many of these injuries are career ending, but the warriors would rather die than quit.
“It’s hard to accept and it’s devastating. The mental side of things is crushing. It’s depressing.” Says Sformo
There are many challenges, and Operation Backbone has made great progress with active duty personnel, but veterans lag behind. The VA was created to serve a certain type of disabled veteran, but lacks the structure to support the needs identified by Operation Backbone. And identifying the incident that leads to a long term injury is so much more difficult with the veteran.
Sformo credits the military for instilling the disciplines and grit to be a successful business person. “Everything, everything, everything, it’s. It took my life and went and it put me in line.”
Listen on Spotify
Watch on YouTube
About your host
Bob Louthan is a VMI Graduate, Army veteran, and executive with over 25 years of experience in mergers, acquisitions and private capital formation. He founded the VeteranCrowd Network to bring veterans and veteran-led businesses together with each other and the resources they need to prosper.