LIVERMORE, Calif. - On Veteran's Day, one Bay Area business owner said if it weren't for the military, he wouldn't be where he is today.
"It's kind of an emotional day," said ex-Marine Jason Rittenbach. "Witnessing the sacrifices. It makes it pretty somber."
Rittenbach spent four years in the Marines in the 1990s, joining after he graduated high school in Pleasanton.
"I've been around people injured, a double amputee," he said.
When Rittenbach left the military, Rittenbach went into the construction business with his father. He now owns and runs Allied Construction Services based in Livermore. It is the second-largest veteran-owned business of any kind in the Bay Area. He has 67 employees.
Records show California has the most veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.
Rittenbach credits what he learned in the marines for much of his success with building up his company which concentrates on commercial construction and roofing throughout Northern California.
"There are some Marine core values," he said. "Integrity is huge, and in business that is so huge," he said.
Rittenbach said he hires veterans when he can. He also knows that when so many of them leave the service they fall into addiction and homelessness.
"I'd love to see more outreach. And more opportunities for their mental health is huge. I don't think we pay enough attention to that."
But on this Veterans Day, Rittenbach honors those who served and feels fortunate for how everything has fallen into place for him.
"Definitely without the Marine Corps values, I don't know if I would be here today. They are a big part of how I approach business and managing," he said.