Bridges Home Health Care LLC
Thaddious “TJ” Osby, Jr. had seen a lot by the time he prepared to end his 20-plus years of military service. A Marine and a registered nurse, he had seen war and had been stationed all around the world. You wouldn’t think that much could rattle him, but as he mulled over his retirement and what path to take, he felt plagued by one unfamiliar feeling: fear.
“I knew going back into a hospital wasn’t going to be an option for me. I had seen too many fighters torn up, and I didn’t want to see any more. I knew being the owner of a business was the route that I needed to go for mental, spiritual, and physical well-being,” TJ explains.
In 2014, TJ sought out the University of Mary Washington (UMW) SBDC and connected with Susan Ball. He initially broached the idea of operating an assisted living facility, but Susan helped pivot that idea into a home health care agency. “Even though I sat on the battlefield and had bullets shoot by my head, I was still afraid. I didn’t have enough confidence. I didn’t believe in myself. But Susan started plugging in numbers right away,” TJ recounts. “She started talking to me as if I already owned the business. The biggest thing I needed initially was the courage to put thought to paper — and I got that from Susan.”
TJ had observed many elderly and disabled veterans in his life who were not getting the care they deserved. He realized that a home health care company would provide a way for him to keep doing what he loved most. “It allowed me to continue to take care of people. I was drawn to something I had naturally been doing, which was taking care of elderly people. I saw and still see a lot of veterans falling through the cracks. I decided I was going to create that bridge for the elderly and the disabled,” TJ says.
TJ slowly began building Bridges Home Health Care LLC from the ground up with Susan and the UMW SBDC right by his side. He credits them for helping him navigate the many pages of paperwork required to satisfy federal and state requirements, not to mention the piles of paperwork for both the Richmond and DC Veteran’s Administrations, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, and other major insurances.
Despite COVID-19, TJ’s company closed 2020 with strong numbers: over 30 full-time employees, 20 part-time employees, and plans for a brick-and-mortar building in early 2021. TJ hopes to expand the business to offer more robust PCA, CPR, and nurse’s-aid training classes.
It’s a long way from the nervous man that debated if he could take the first step with his business back in 2014. TJ credits it all to the SBDC. “If there is anybody that could be a mascot for the SBDC, it’s me. I preach it to everybody that is even thinking about starting a business,” TJ says. “They have had my back from day zero, and they’ve still got my back today. It’s been quite a ride, and I am so grateful for every single person there.”