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Last week the news was buzzing with talk of Earthquakes and Hurricanes. In an instant, Twitter, Google, Facebook can light on fire with searches and tweets about natural disasters, or the news of the day.  On August 23rd, I heard about the Earthquake in the DC area at 12:56PM CST on Twitter. For the next 30 minutes, the Nation was united.

Everyone thought about someone they knew – a brother in Washington, a daughter in Boston – and wondered if they felt the earth shake or, more importantly, if they were ok.  Others dealt with the fear and uncertainty, as only some know how, with humor. The buzz died down and turned to jokes, about us, about others, about fiction and facts. The one cool thing about the event was that we were all united in our concern for others if even for a few moments. One of the last tweets I read was, “OK, back to work…”

Certain times bring a family and a Nation together. Hurricanes, earthquakes, accidents – they are all examples of things that can unite people of all walks of life. During times of unity much can be achieved, and we have much to achieve when it comes to taking care of our Veterans. VA employs many health care providers and we are always seeking the best-qualified physicians, nurses and pharmacists to serve our American Heroes, their widows and orphans.

Beyond care, there are many Veterans who are seeking employment and the VA is actively working to hire more Veterans for positions today. However, we all know that VA cannot employ all Veterans, and all Veterans are not Health Care providers. That is why I like to remind Veterans any chance I get, to use your well earned GI Bill and get back in school.  And if you are already in school or applying….think Health Care!

Improving your marketable skills goes far beyond going to school though; it also includes taking advantage of resources available inside and outside of VA. By reviewing VA Careers and other sites, such as VetSuccess, you can identify resources readily available to assist you. After speaking with a Veteran Homeless Coordinator, I toured a local Mission where they have computers for job seekers and a room full of clothes including suits and ties to afford everyone the opportunity to have proper attire for interviews.  Local libraries often have resources available as well. One Veterans Service Officer informed me of eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation assistance through the Veterans Benefits Office during a period of transition. While not everyone will be eligible, they can assist you in finding a path specific to your ability and eligibility. After I spoke with them, they set me on a path of self-improvement that led to a great career.

Lastly, I like to remind every business owner or executive I meet to hire Veterans.  Why? Because Veterans make up less than 2% of the total population and they deserve to be rewarded with valuable employment opportunities. Veterans are high performers, they can spark increased productivity and that can lead to creating more jobs. When employers put Veterans ambition, drive and experience to the test, they are not disappointed.  

So now that we are starting to get back to normal conditions outside, let’s move forward. And since we are all united in our commitment to serve Veterans – let’s get everyone… back to work!

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Published on Aug. 30, 2011

Estimated reading time is 2.9 min.

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