Jacob Burden: A “Jake” Of All Trades

  • Drew Poplin

Jacob Burden has lived a full life and has worn many hats during his time, including those of a retail manager, infantryman, father, student, and teacher. 

But recently, “Jake” and/or “Mr. B” as he’s affectionately known has made room for two new hats in his vast collection. He’s about to be a grandfather, and he is one of the newest members of SDI’s full-time family. 

“ …now I’m working for the school that started at all.”

Being a part-time instructor at SDI since 2017, Burden shifted into his new role within the Financial Aid Department this past December. It is a change that he is very excited about and describes it as “a great honor.”

A Familiar Face

Jake Burden has been a part of the SDI family for a while now. While on break from active duty, he served for six years with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office. It was there he first felt a passion for educating people on firearms.

“I started teaching, firearms instruction at the police academy and realize that, ‘Hey, cops aren’t the only ones that should be privy to this knowledge.’”

Once he was back at base, his interest in gunsmithing and firearms tech came into being. That’s when SDI came into the picture. Finding out about SDI, he quickly got his Associate’s Degree in Firearms Technology and maintained his FFL, while still being on active duty. Here he speaks in more detail about those challenges. 

This, however, would not be the last time that SDI would come calling. After retiring from the army, Jake happened to stumble across a job posting from the school looking for a part-time adjunct instructor. He was hired soon after in 2017. 

New Job, Same Jake

When asked about his new position, Burden offered up some details.

“I primarily am responsible now for taking care of the active duty with tuition assistance and then our veterans through chapter 31 or the veteran’s readiness employment program through the VA.”

It is a change that, while welcomed, has seen its share of struggles.

“Back in the day, when I was going to school years ago and I worked in the financial aid department… things have changed since that time.”

Despite adapting to the changing of the times, he remains as positive as ever.

“I’m one of those guys that I love learning new things. So it’s been fun.”

A Heart for the Heroic

In terms of working with students, Jake has made it no secret where his heart lies. After all, being active-duty for 21 years creates a certain kind of camaraderie not seen as much elsewhere.

“Man, my favorite part is getting to know, the active-duty personnel and those veterans, man, and being part of that community still. And helping them use their benefits that they definitely earned.  I’ve been there, done that.”

Expressing his excitement, he says to those he helps, “Wow… I can play an intricate role in advising those guys where I was once at!”

Jake believes that his time in the military serves him well for his new career with SDI. 

“They (servicemen and women) know that, ‘Hey, they’ve got a vet batting for them here on the financial services side’ is a great relief.”

Busy, Busy, Busy

Although he is no longer an instructor at SDI, when asked if he was giving up teaching altogether, he replied, “No, I’m actually teaching a class a month still… I can’t quite give that up” 

Even when he is slowing down, Burden retains his tireless work ethic. It is a quality that is sure to help him and all of the students he interacts within the coming years.

To hear more from Jake Burden, you can go to SDI’s podcast, The Gun Rack, and give this episode a listen.

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