STOW — A local Ohio National Guard veteran, who served his country as a medic from October 2005 through February 2019 with three tours in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, is now serving the community through a new business.

Joe Pigg, owner of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Akron is inviting the community to celebrate a grand opening on Sept. 15 from 1 to 6 p.m. at VFW Post 4738, 3733 Fishcreek Road.

The grand opening event will include food from Mission Barbeque and a gift basket raffle to benefit the VFW. In addition to friends, family and community members, the event will be attended by Mayor John Pribonic and members of city council. State Rep. Casey Weinstein may also make an appearance.

Pigg said he is applying for membership at the VFW Post 4738 and the event will provide a recruitment opportunity for the post.

He started his business in June and chose the franchise JDog Junk Removal & Hauling after seeing it on Facebook.

“I always wanted to start my own business and run my own business,” Pigg said.

After attending Discovery Day about the company in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, Pigg said he decided it was a good fit for him. The owner, Jerry Flanagan, also was a veteran and communications specialist with the nickname “wire dog.”

JDog exclusively franchises to veterans or relatives of veterans with 220 active franchises serving more than 40 million customers nationwide, Pigg said.

The JDog mascot, which is a bulldog, will be at the grand opening, he said. Pamphlets will be available and Pigg will talk about his experience.

“Business has been steady and good,” Pigg said. “It's a great business to start out with as a young entrepreneur.”

The business allows someone to start right away, Pigg said. He rents a place to store and sort through items.

“There's no storefront,” he said. “You just call.”

“Being an entrepreneur is stressful at times but exciting,” Pigg said. “There is a sense of freedom. I can control my activities but I still have to put food on the table.”

Pigg advises others looking to go into business to find good mentors who have started their own businesses and talk to them.

“They can help guide you to becoming a success,” Pigg said.

JDog helps local residents and businesses in Stow, Akron, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson and Green clean up their community, all with the environment in mind, he said.

“About 60 to 80 percent of everything collected is donated, repurposed, or used in some way instead of being dumped in a landfill,” Pigg said. “We go out and solve problems. If they need help getting rid of things, I help them.”

Besides hard work, Pigg likes to give back to the community. He picks up nearly all items but hazardous waste and educates people about the option of taking items to the Household Hazardous Waste Recycling Center at 1201 Graham Road in Stow.

“I try to find someone who can use it,” Pigg said. “I get a lot of clothes and donate them to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.”

He recently removed a lot of Mary Kay cosmetics and donated it to a women's shelter in Akron. If appliances work, he contacts organizations to find someone who needs an item he's picked up. He'll recycle metals and paper. Books are donated to libraries, especially the free mini-libraries.

Pigg said he plans to add carpet cleaning to his services and offer the full spectrum of removing junk and leaving the place clean.

“I plan to do this for a long time,” he said.

For a free estimate, call 844-GET-JDOG.

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com