Serving those who served


Although they risk their lives to serve the country, military personnel face an entirely different battle when they transition to the civilian world through retirement or returning from deployment.

Last week, the National Guard Armory in Warwick played host to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair. Over 100 veterans, active-duty servicemen and women, and military spouses came out to search for jobs. Many of them shared the struggle they face translating their specialized military skills and experience into a resume for a civilian job.

Think of those men and women working on the front lines. How does one use sniper school as a plus for an office job?

That is one reason to praise the 47 companies that took part in the job fair looking to hire these individuals. And to praise the volunteers who took the time to review resumes and give advice. They are truly trying to give back to those who gave so much for us.

Veterans are routinely honored and celebrated for their service. The “Honor Flights,” which take World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II Memorial, are an example. It is encouraging to see celebrations such as that but there is more that can and must be done for our more recent veterans.

It is easy to remember and thank veterans with special holidays. It is easy to hang yellow ribbons on the homes of people serving overseas and to offer thoughts and prayers for a safe return. But it is just as easy to forget those soldiers need our help and support when they do come home. The transition is hard in ways we don’t normally think of, such as the emotional effects from their experience. Add to that the start from scratch they return to. It is hard to hear about the National Guard or Reserves struggling to find employers who understand their need to deploy on short notice and participate in weekend training. Every employer should be understanding and accommodating of that fact, but that is not always the case. These men and women answered the call to serve their country. It is time for us to honor that response with our support when they come home.


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