Vet finds purpose repairing homes
Medical discharge required mission
BOYCE, VA. | David Manthey’s grandfather and father taught him valuable trades as well as the importance of taking pride in hard work. What he learned from them was reinforced by four years in the Army. Earlier this year, Mr. Manthey decided to take all the skills and all he has learned and launch his own business.
The response to Manthey Premier Services so far has been overwhelming.
Mr. Manthey, 27, and his fiancee, Deanna Homoud, 23, focus on residential repair and remodeling. They also clean and detail automobiles at the homes of their customers.
“I’ve always done car detailing,” Mr. Manthey said. “I thought this might be a service people would want.”
His instinct was correct. Mobile auto detailing now accounts for half of Manthey Premier Services’ business.
Mr. Manthey grew up in Florida, though his family’s roots are in the farmland of South Dakota. His grandfather owns a construction business in Florida, and his father is a businessman who is also a skilled builder.
“I talk with my grandpa and dad often. They’ve been so supportive of me starting my own business,” Mr. Manthey said.
Mr. Manthey served the Army in the 573rd Clearance Company based at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. He was among the engineer units trained in explosive hazard clearance and deployed in support of the global war on terrorism.
He was overseas three of the four years before being honorably discharged in June 2014, when he returned to Florida.
A rare genetic disorder almost ended Mr. Manthey’s Army career during basic training. He, like other members of his family, has an autoimmune blistering disease that causes his body to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. The result are blistering lesions that prohibit layers of skin from adhering together as they should.
“I was scared I would be medically discharged, and I wanted to serve,” he said. “So I prayed every night, ‘Let me get through tomorrow.’”
At its worst, Mr. Manthey would keep his boots on, even while he slept, to hold the skin on his feet in place. He made it through basic training in great pain only to reach the final test: a 20-mile ruck march.
“I made it to within a quarter-mile of the finish, but I couldn’t do it,” Mr. Manthey said, holding back tears as he told the story. “Other soldiers carried me to the end.”
Basic training ended with a ceremony attended by family members. Mr. Manthey’s parents and siblings were there. All were surprised when Mr. Manthey was presented an award for courage — no one more surprised than Mr. Manthey himself.
After his discharge, he moved to Northern Virginia when he accepted a job with Titan America, a ready-mixed concrete company. Mr. Manthey met Ms. Homoud at a barbecue joint in Leesburg, and they hit it off instantly. Now they are planning a December wedding.
Because Manthey Premier Services has been well received, Mr. Manthey said he’s able to pay it forward. He is building two benches he will donate to the Clarke County Youth Football League. “I’m a huge football fan, and I want to support youth football.”
One day he wants to support teams by sponsoring them. He smiles at the thought of jerseys printed with Manthey Premier Services. He also smiles at the prospect of enlarging his business and hiring employees.
“I never thought we’d have so much success so soon. In five years I’d love to have a branch in my hometown,” he said, thinking wistfully of his family in Florida.
Mr. Manthey believes his skin condition has improved to the point of nonexistence because of his faith, hard work and belief that every day is an opportunity. Working through difficult times is a life lesson, he said.
“I’m young, I’m eager, and I have a passion. I am blessed,” he said.