OCEANSIDE (KGTV) — In a lot of ways, Michael Andela needed a sign.
The Marine Corps veteran says he was crushed, physically and emotionally, when he was forced to medically retire in 2018.
“No job. My head was scrambled. I could not make a good decision to save my life,” he said.
Andela had served as an explosive ordnance technician since 2006. But with the help of his family, and the Semper Fi and America's Fund, he was able to confront his traumatic brain injury and start a business.
A sign business.
Coastal Sign Co. in Oceanside is kind of like the Color Me Mine of signs; they offer materials, tools and some training to help customers design and create their own rustic signs and crafts.
“It’s been a huge blessing for us,” he said.
Andela operates the business with his wife out of their garage workshop. When migraines strike from his traumatic brain injury, he’s able to take time off, something that wouldn’t be possible in a typical 9-5 job, he said.
Semper Fi and America’s Fund helped Andela secure thousands of dollars in seed money for the business. With the help of donors, the non-profit provides financial assistance and support to wounded, ill or injured veterans and their families in all branches of the military.
“It took my family, it took my faith, my church, the people I rely on and it took people like the Semper Fi and America’s Fund to get me to where I could get some help,” he said.
Coastal Sign Co. is currently closed because of the pandemic, but Andela said they’re looking forward to welcoming customers back once COVID-19 restrictions allow.
This story is part of the Positively San Diego, Season of Hope series. Click on the video link above to see Michael’s story and the sign that changed his life.