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.​

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Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
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