Two Groups Help Veteran Grow Business


There was not a dry eye in the house when a group of realtors said thank you to a local veteran.  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Solorzano was a pilot in the military.  He fought for our country in Afghanistan, and faced even more challenges when he came back home. 

As a pilot, Robert Solorzano earned a nickname.  If you know him, you know he goes by “Solo”. 

“Oh, it was great.  I didn’t have to tell people how to pronounce my name,” Solorzano said.

After Tuesday, everyone at a gathering in Sioux Falls will remember who he is and why he is important.  During his service, he was wounded in action and deals with a number of lingering and debilitating injuries.
He says those made it hard for him to find a job and re-adjust to civilian life. 

“The military does a great job of teaching you how to go to war, but very seldom do you learn how to come back,” Solorzano said.

So, he opened his own business, and area realtors and two groups are supporting him.  The American Warrior Initiative and South Dakota branches of Fairway Independent Mortgage presented him with a check for $6,000.  The money will buy him a new computer and a new machine for his screen-printing and embroidery business,Big Yeti Custom Creations.  Within five minutes, the two groups upped it the total dollar amount to $15,000.  So, in addition to the equipment, Solorzano will have the additional funds to grow his business.  

“We need to give back to those who served us and there are certain small things we can do by supporting our veterans,” Troy Lage, Branch Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage, said. 

Though no amount of money can ever pay back the price Solorzano paid to defend our freedom, he says finding this support is worth a lot. 

“It was very humbling.  I don’t like to take a lot of recognition…. it was humbling,” Solorzano said. 

AWI and Fairway also has helped another veteran who is in the hospital.  He recently lost his disability benefits.  The two groups are paying for his expenses — including house payments and utilities — for a year. 

It’s important we support veterans like Robert Solorzano.  Hopefully, the man who goes by “Solo,” knows he does not have to go through life alone.  

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