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In honor of National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 4-8, Google has been busy recognizing veteran-led businesses with special edition challenge coins. 

One of those small businesses is the local Battle of Fredericktown Civil War Museum ran by Scott Bates. 

Bates joined the army in 2000 at the age of 18 and received an honorable discharge in January of 2010. During his time he was a UH-60 Helicopter Mechanic, was deployed to Kuwait where he was part of the invasion force into Iraq, was a squad leader at Camp Humphreys in South Korea and his last deployment was spent at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. 

"Throughout this timeline, I experienced events and emotions that most people couldn't begin to imagine," Bates said. "I had ups and downs both physically and emotionally. However, through it all, it taught me discipline, commitment and persistence."

Bates said he learned to fight through the storms and enjoy the times of peace, to cherish the little things and thank God for the big things.

"Leading a company takes persistence and dedication even in the tough times," Bates said. "You will never be successful at your job if you don't commit and push through the rough spots. I believe that is what makes a veteran a good business leader. We have the dedication and fortitude to continue the fight even when things look bad."

Bates said many veterans can bring more than just professionalism to a company.

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"There is a level of commitment and devotion to the job that a veteran has instilled within them," Bates said. "We want to see the mission complete and work to see that end."

Bates said a lot of this kind of devotion and commitment is brought about through the training that veterans receive in the armed forces. 

"It is a dependency on your coworkers as a team rather than individuals," Bates said. "Recognizing that need to make sure the mission can continue to move ahead."

Bates said when he was placed in the role of Site Administrator in 2014 the Battle of Fredericktown Civil War Museum information on Google was changed to say Veteran Led. He said he did not apply for the coin or fill out any paper work, it just showed up.

"A challenge coin is a coin that the military has used since WWI as a symbol of recognition or unity," Bates "The only time I have ever actually seen them used in a challenge or to challenge one was to see if they had one and who had the better coin."

While the challenge coin, adorned with large red, white and blue "V" on one side and a "G" for Google on the other, may just be a symbol of support maybe it will encourage or even challenge other businesses to hire more veterans like Bates.  

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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