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Cav Scout Beats Cancer and Joins BRCC Team as Executive Assistant Extraordinaire

Miguel Leon spent 10 years as a Cav Scout in the Army, deploying to Iraq and then to Afghanistan before a deployment injury led to his cancer diagnosis. 


“When you get hurt, it’s one thing, but when you get sick, it changes your whole body,” Leon said. “I lost my eyebrows, my hair — no one could recognize me. It was definitely a dark spot for me.”


Over the course of three surgeries and 14 months of chemotherapy, Leon learned to truly rely on his wife of 15 years. 


While with the Warrior Transition Battalion in San Antonio, Leon realized that he wasn’t done serving yet. So, with eight years of service down, he chose to return to duty instead of taking a medical discharge from the Army.


Photo courtesy of Miguel Leon/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 


“I ended up with orders to Fort Polk, which was to be expected because I owed the Army give-back time,” Leon said. “My wife said she would leave me if we moved to Polk, so I managed to find a job at Army South, putting me at Installation Management Command. I honestly didn’t even know what IMCOM did when I got the job.”


Leon ended up as an enlisted aide for a commanding general (a three-star) until the CG retired. After that, he didn’t have much supervision until Maj. Gen. Lawarren Patterson took Leon under his wing. 


From then on, Leon’s place of duty was community college. For Leon, a first-generation American citizen, education was never a factor in his life nor something that he valued until he was an adult. 


“I hit the 10-year mark and had to decide whether I was in or out,” Leon said. “After talking with my family, who said they would support me regardless, Gen. Patterson said that I didn’t need the Army anymore and that I should get out and continue my education.”


Photo courtesy of Miguel Leon/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 


2015 was the end of Leon’s time as an active-duty soldier, but his service didn’t stop there. He spent two years at a local church nonprofit, supporting kids and families with an average combined income of $30,000. 


“Whether it’s God and country or the community, serving and giving back is how I fill my tank up,” Leon said. “It’s how I feel valued and give back.”


By the time those two years were done, Leon had helped develop three campuses for the nonprofit: two in Texas and one in California. Their work was so successful that Leon had to help get the city’s permission to raise their capacity level to give aid to more families.  


“After my time in the nonprofit space, I went back to school full-time for a bachelor's in kinesiology and theology — I liked the idea of becoming a spiritual coach,” Leon said. 


While attending the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Leon worked in the athletics department and started competing in triathlons alongside the 20-something collegiates. Leon put together a team of 12 student athletes, and they competed against Texas Tech University, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M University. Leon thrived on the comradery and the physical activity the triathlon team provided. Upon completing his dual bachelor's, he transitioned to a sports management master's program, helped run the athletic facilities for the university, and coached triathletes year-round.


Photo courtesy of Miguel Leon/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 


“Six months before graduation, I started getting nervous,” Leon said. “I knew the VA was going to stop paying my college, so I spent the next six months looking for employment. I applied everywhere: Peloton, Amazon, any big company … My entire military career, I was told that, because of my service, I would be able to get any job I would ever want. Except I didn’t.”


Leon was denied jobs at multiple places. Many times, he would be competing and get more than four interviews into the hiring process, only to be told that he was overqualified or that they “liked him, but it wasn’t a good fit.” After more than 100 applications, with 15 to 20 interviews and hiring conversations ending in “not a good fit,” Leon was feeling demoralized. His education was coming to an end, and finding a way to provide for his family was becoming a stressful pain point. 


“Between the stress of job hunting and missing my team, both military and more recently, my athletes, this was not ideal for how I wanted to transition out of my education and into the workforce,” Leon said. “All of a sudden, after six months of looking, I got a message on LinkedIn; Nicole Buck reached out to me.” Buck is a senior recruiter for Black Rifle Coffee Company.


“It was completely random,” Leon continued. “I had applied to jobs in the RTD divisions but hadn’t heard anything. Nicole is my shining light. I still don’t know how she found me, to be completely honest, and she started off with, ‘There’s a position in the company without a lot of applications. If you like, you can come in, even though you may be a little overqualified.’”


Leon’s immediate reaction to hearing from Black Rifle Coffee Company was a saying of his father’s: “It doesn’t matter if he’s sweeping shit or saving babies; always focus on the forward momentum.” Leon couldn’t have cared less what the position was; it was an open door into BRCC.


Buck explained to him that, because he was competent in media platforms, had been aide to a three-star general, and was educated, Leon was a perfect fit for the job and whom he’d be working for, though Buck continued to be secretive about the job’s specifics and where Leon would fit into the company. He simply knew that he would have to be prepared to be the human embodiment of a Swiss Army knife.


The process of hiring Leon took two months. He recalled being a nervous wreck going into the interview, thanks to six months of feeling hopeless and rejected. He felt like he’d checked all the boxes — education, service, you name it — but he said that had never seemed to make a difference in his job search prior to the BRCC interview. The minute Buck called and welcomed Leon to the team and family, she wished him good luck.


Leon finally learned what job he’d gotten himself into: He was to be the executive assistant to Logan Stark. This position absolutely required him to be the epitome of a Swiss Army knife. No two days at BRCC are the same for Leon, he’s responsible for everything from handling Stark’s schedule, creating reports and spreadsheets, planning and coordinating corporate functions, just generally being able to take any given request and see it through to completion. 


Now, Leon admits that his job has been a sprint since day one, and the last six months have been a blur — in the best way possible.


“One of the papers I wrote in my master’s program was on job employment enhancement,” Leon said. “If your needs are met, you’re going to be happy and fulfilled and fucking run through brick walls for the company.”


Photo courtesy of Miguel Leon/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 


“To clarify, I’m running through those brick walls,” Leon said. “A lot of times, it doesn’t feel like work. Logan [Stark] is an amazing leader, super creative, and a lot of times, he’s pushing pace. I am surrounded by these absolute workhorses of human beings, and I’m doing my best to keep up and be more effective. From the moment I started, everyone has been so selfless with their time. It seems to beat the military in that aspect — perhaps because we have people from all service branches? This whole experience has been an absolute blessing, and seeing the company grow has been incredible.”


When Leon was initially offered the position, it was a 12-month spot, allowing him the ability to move around in the company once there was a replacement. Instead, Leon found out that he would stay on in his current role for another year, subsequently being told that he was “killing it.” This adjustment on his employment timeline allowed him to think about what he really wanted to do. He sees nonprofit work in his future, and he can also decide what he isn’t so gung-ho about, such as graphics.


“The selflessness and adaptability across the company is astounding,” Leon said. “I think I talk to every department humanly possible, and everyone, across the board, is always ready to do whatever it takes to get things done. It doesn’t matter if things are in your purview. The company is just made up of all of these people willing to step up and make things happen.”


In Leon’s eyes, waiting out the two months during the initial hiring process was worth it. Until BRCC reached out, he was ready to take the low-hanging fruit — any job that would hire him, even if it meant hunting for a new job a year later. Now that he’s here, he feels like he’s here forever.