The Air Force set this man up for a surprising career: as a food truck chef and comedian.
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A comedian, a chef, and a nuclear engineer walk into a bar...

...but in this case, it's no joke. It's just Chuck Anderson, Air Force veteran-turned-comedian chef, heading into work at East Nashville hotspot Rosemary and Beauty Queen.

Photo via Jonathan Kingsbury.


The 33-year-old is the entrepreneur owner of Death from a Bun, the food truck best known for bringing soft, doughy pork-filled Taiwanese bao buns to Nashville.

He’s also a sports podcaster, a stand-up comedian, and a dad to his sweet 4-year-old son named Cole.

So how did such an eclectic dude get his start? As a highly trained nuclear missile and space systems engineer, of course.

In 2001, Anderson was a senior in high school faced with a decision about what to do with his future after graduation.

"And then 9/11 happened," he says, and that sparked his decision to enlist at the end of the year. After graduation, he began basic training with the United States Air Force.

Photo via Chuck Anderson.

Anderson was sent to Louisiana to work on nuclear missile maintenance.

Over his four-year enlistment, the military sent him to Texas, California, and Guam, and by the time he got out, he’d learned everything he needed to embark on civilian life.

"I felt like I’d conquered the world after I finished my enlistment," Anderson says.

His military training set Anderson up for a steady career, but it also introduced him to something else — a passion for food.

When he joined the military, Anderson suddenly found himself introduced to a variety of different food cultures he’d never experienced before.

In Texas, he ate traditional Mexican food, and in California, he tried sushi from the coast.

But it wasn’t until he arrived in Guam that he found his passion. "When I was in Guam, it was the first time I had the soft dough — a soft Asian steamed dough bun, like a baozi," he says. "I fell in love."

Photo via Chuck Anderson.

But when he moved to Nashville, there were no dough buns to be found. That was a problem.

"I’d always had an idea to work for myself," he says. In a city without bao buns, he finally had the opportunity to be his own boss.

The idea for his food truck, Death from a Bun, was born, and with help from veteran entrepreneurship incubator Bunker Labs, it wasn't long before it became a reality.

Photo via Chuck Anderson.

Anderson's Air Force background didn't just inspire his business. It also helps him run it.

"My first real job after high school, someone yelled at me the first day of work," Anderson remembers. "Basic training is built to instill stress, to make sure you can learn and handle things later."

When that stress came in the form of the obstacles to starting a business — everything from learning accounting to legal to plumbing — Anderson drew on his military experience to stay cool, calm, and collected under pressure.

Photo via Chuck Anderson.

His leadership style, centered on integrity, excellence, and service before self, also came from the military.

"Those are the core values of the Air Force," Anderson says. And those are the values that he seeks to instill in his employees. "I trust my guys a lot. They get a lot of freedom. So I’ve got to make sure that they’re working hard when nobody’s looking."

But above all, what the military gave Anderson was a comfort with feeling uncomfortable.

"That's growth, you know?" he says. "The best things that happened to me, I was stupid uncomfortable when I started them." That's how he got started as an entrepreneur and as a stand-up comedian — by finding something that felt uncomfortable and doing it.

"In the military, all the jobs that I thought I definitely was underqualified for, I ended up being good at," he continues. "That confidence comes from just jumping in and being uncomfortable and knowing you can get through it, and at the end, you're gonna be a different person. That's how you grow."

Photo via Chuck Anderson.

That's what gave him the confidence to take on the challenge of starting Death from a Bun — and what seems to drive so many veterans to start businesses too.

Within their community, support for one another combined with their lessons from the military is what helps veteran entrepreneurs succeed.

"You surround yourself with the kind of people who do that stuff, and you realize what's possible," Anderson says. "That's what's led me to where I am."

Correction 10/5/2017: Attribution has been revised to reflect the share image was taken by photographer Lance Conzett of Nashville.​

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

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Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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