JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Steve Burnett spent 20 years in the Navy and served during the Cold War. But like many veterans, he had a hard time finding a job after he retired.

"Over the last two years, I've tried sending resumes to hundreds of businesses out here; no interest in interviewing this veteran with a master's (degree) in business administration," Burnett said.

Now he's serving cold treats as the owner of a Tasti D-lite franchise in Five Points.

"Last fall, my wife and I talked about what the options were out there and decided to create our own jobs again," Burnett said.

As a veteran, Burnett received a special 25 percent discount when he purchased his franchise. It was through a program called VetFran, an initiative of the International Franchise Association.

Burnett honored veterans at his shop Thursday with a ceremony featuring Navy members and Junior ROTC members from Robert E. Lee High School.

He said this was his chance to say thank you to other veterans and spread the word about a program that helped him get back on his feet.

"I appreciate the veterans that are serving today and coming back, and my message to them is, 'You may have to create your own job,'" Burnett said.

To learn more about VetFran, a program that helps veterans acquire their own franchises, go to www.VetFran.com.