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After The Homecoming: Part 3 - James McLemore's Story

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Our troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, but for many men and women the war continues once they are home.

The transition to civilian life isn't easy, it often leads to relationship and employment struggles, even post traumatic stress.

One man's garbage truly is James McLemore's treasure.

McLemore opened his own garbage business after odd end jobs weren't enough to pay the bills.

McLemore says, "I just didn't want people to tell me where I had to be and when I had to be somewhere."

He served active duty in the United States Army from 1988 until 1995. He served our country during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

McLemore says, "if it was up to me I would still be in."

He decided to get out of the military before his second child was born, and he says he was one of the lucky ones.

McLemore says, "I had a job waiting on me to start, the pay wasn't very good but it was putting food on the table so it really wasn't that hard I was fortunate."

So that's when he went to work with his brother-in-law at his garbage business, but when his brother-in-law couldn't pay him what he wanted; "he offered me a chance to buy 200 of his customers and I've taken that 200 and turned it into almost 4,000 in a little over 15 years."

Now he's the owner of McLemore's Garbage Service in Ouachita Parish.

He says it wouldn't have been possible without the support system he had when he returned from serving overseas.

McLemore says, "when I first started, my mom, my aunt, and my dad and uncles were all working for me and with me to get over the humps of the initial start of a business even my wife got out there on a truck she actually drove garbage trucks for a while."

He says the military helped him become he person he is today, and is why his business has been successful; "I used to be very immature, I'm still immature in a lot of ways but the military grew me up as a man, and taught me to be responsible, where before whenever I went in I wasn't very responsible."

He says the transition from solider to civilian was easy for him because he didn't experience the type of fighting soldiers are facing now.

McLemore says, "the things that the guys that are coming back from Afghanistan or Iraq the things that they saw are nothing compared to what I saw I mean it's just night and day difference."


McLemore suggests to anyone who is thinking about getting out of the military to make sure you have something lined up before you get out.

If you'd like to honor your someone special serving in the military nominate him or her for our "Service Salute" at

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