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CW Valor

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 Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

Screenshot taken from a live video of the trial.

A recent (and fairly insensitive) sketch from “Saturday Night Live” said it best regarding the widespread fixation many have on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial:

“It’s not the most pertinent story of the moment, but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively watch and say ‘glad it ain't me?’”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Cold Open - SNL www.youtube.com

Schadenfreude, celebrity fascination and previously inaccessible information now being at our fingertips is a potent combination in this trial, making amateur lawyers and psychologists of all who feel compelled to unleash their hot takes. And though the right to converse and speculate exists, is it always in our best interests to do so? Especially when it means potentially spreading misinformation, or at the cost of empathy and compassion?

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Photo from Upworthy Library

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Mama sloth, aka Grizzly, gave birth to their healthy little one in Feb 2022, which delighted more than 3,000 people on Facebook.



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