Vet finds pur­pose re­pair­ing homes

Med­i­cal dis­charge re­quired mis­sion

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY CATHY KUEHNER

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.

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