FirstLight’s Rookie of the Year Carries on Father’s Legacy of Helping Others, Finds Business Success

front_cover_april_2020.pngFirstLight Home Care’s 2019 Rookie of the Year says the franchise is ideal for any veterans looking into business ownership.

David Kapajos, who owns the FirstLight that serves the San Gabriel Valley in California, said in a recent interview from his headquarters in Arcadia that getting into the homecare industry allows business owners to help others, including veterans.

“There are a lot of veterans who need help with home care,” he said.

FirstLight Home Care offers companion care, personal care, dementia care, brain health services, respite care and travel companion services to seniors, veterans, adults with disabilities, people recuperating from injuries or sickness and busy families who require help caring for adults.

Through agencies like American Veteran Connection and Vet Assist, FirstLight works with Veterans Affairs to provide home care to veterans at no cost to them.

What makes FirstLight an especially good business choice for veterans, Kapajos said, is the substantial veterans’ discount the home care franchise offers to former military members.

In addition to the discount for veterans, FirstLight also offers the FirstPass Startup Package which includes several thousand dollars in valuable products and services to all new franchisees to help them get started.

It’s measures like these that helped Kapajos reach 500 hours per week of home care service provided by his sixth month in business and over 1,000 hours per week of home care service provided by the end of his first year in business, earning him his Rookie of the Year award with the company.

Seeing as how the home care business is so competitive, waiving these fees and providing veterans with a good discount on the franchising fee gives them a headstart with FirstLight.

The franchise company also has comprehensive support for marketing and for the cloud-based technology it uses, as well as business development.

Kapajos described how he was brand new to the business of home care when he started and the Business Development Director assigned to him helped him get his franchise location up and running successfully.

Something else that helps FirstLight franchisees with success is the culture of the franchise, which puts an emphasis on only choosing franchisees who have a real passion for the home care industry and passes this along to their franchise locations.

Kapajos said he was impressed with the culture of FirstLight when he visited their headquarters in Ohio for the initial discovery day.

This culture of excellence and passion is something he brings to his own franchise location. He oversees about 175 caregivers and estimated that he only hires about 10 percent of candidates who come to interview for a position.

“We only choose the best,” he explained.

FirstLight also helps franchises retain the best caregivers by compensating them well and making it so they will want to stay with the company.

The company’s rates are also competitive and they have a client-based approach that really sets them apart from their competition, Kapajos said.

Military background and training

While FirstLight has given him every opportunity to succeed as a business owner, Kapajo’s own experiences and training with the military have also helped him.

He joined the army in 2003 and was in the infantry before moving into the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRN) unit of 74 Delta.

He was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2013 and exited the military in 2014, although he is still in the National Guard Reserves.

“What I learned from the military is to never quit,” Kapajos said.

This focus on persistence, as well as leadership, helped him to become FirstLight’s Rookie of the Year for 2019.


Something else that has helped him is the desire to carry on his father’s legacy of helping people.

Kapajo’s father was a surgeon who was forced into early retirement after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at 59 and suffered from dementia and depression as a result of the disease.

At the time, it was difficult to find reliable and trustworthy caregivers so he and his mother and brother took on caregiving duties, which proved to be incredibly difficult for the family.

So, when it came time to start a business for himself, Kapajos decided he wanted to help people like his father had.

“I wanted to continue his legacy and open this business to provide care to people who need it,” he said.

In addition to helping people, home care is also a good industry to get into because of the aging population, Kapajos noted.

Many baby boomers are now retired and requiring home care and they can afford to hire people to help them with their daily living tasks.

A lot of times, the people who FirstLight cares for have children who live out of state and they can’t take care of their parents, he said. Home care allows these seniors to maintain a good quality of life through their twilight years.

For veterans or anyone else looking for a good franchise in a growing industry, FirstLight’s Rookie of the Year is an example of how a culture of excellence partnered with strong support, a desire to do good in the world and some good old perseverance can lead to business success.