Former Fort Bragg officer creates nonprofit to educate soldiers on budgeting, finances

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Brendan Duebner served on Fort Bragg, he noticed that many fellow troops were falling victim to poor financial decisions.

"You're still this 18, 19, 20-year-old kid. What do you want? You want the nice cars, you want to do the fancy things, you want the designer clothes," Duebner said.

Duebner, who was active duty for four years as a Field Artillery Officer with the 18th Field Artillery Brigade, is now a Military Intelligence Officer in the Army Reserves.

With what he saw during his time on post, Duebner and other fellow troops knew they had to do something, creating "Life Skills for Soldiers" in 2019.

The nonprofit provides free online courses that cover a wide array of subjects including: budgeting, investing, and options for purchasing a credit card or vehicle. The organization uses military officers as a channel to that education.

"We take the sergeant, lieutenant, that military leader, who is already in the unit, and we train them up to turn around and teach their troops," Duebner told ABC11. He goes on to say that this is a stark difference between his organization and military installation run programs. Duebner's focus is finding those leaders the troops connect with to provide the education, creating a more personal touch to the process.

In their first two years, Duebner says they've helped hundreds of troops across the nation and seen 12 Fort Bragg unit leaders reach out for the curriculum.

The CEO and Founder of Life Skills for Soldiers noted, "We take a little bit extra pride when we get a leader from Fort Bragg who comes to us for help."

The online format has allowed the organization to survive the ongoing pandemic, according to Duebner. He hopes they can offer in-person classes in the future.

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