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Veterans connect with employers

Apr. 11, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Hiring a veteran is a good decision, said Laura Finlay, acting director of the Veterans Services Center at the Huntington Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The reasons why are too plentiful to list, but two of the most obvious are that providing a veteran with a good job is a proper way to say thank-you for his or her service, and that people with military experience are good workers, plain and simple, she said.

"These are people who have served their country, so we have a debt to pay," Finlay said during the VetSuccess Employment Expo on Wednesday at Mountwest Community and Technical College. "And they have a wide variety of skills coming into any situation, skills they developed during service to our nation."

The combination of a tough economy and 10 years of being at war have equated to a lot of veterans out there in need of a good job, she said.

So the VA office and MCTC teamed up to offer a way to bring everything together to make the job search easier for veterans hunting for work.

It was appreciated, said Army veteran Brett Murphy of Ironton, who was among hundreds of job-seeking veterans who had the opportunity to meet with about 65 employers Wednesday during the fair.

Murphy has served three tours in Iraq, as well as serving in Kosovo. Now, he's looking for a good full-time job with benefits here at home, and friend James Lester told him about the expo.

"It's good to have something where employers will come out and talk to us," Murphy said. "A lot of employers here actually took resumes -- that was a good thing. (Some others) told me where to go online and apply."

The first two hours of the fair were "literally packed," said Dee DeLancey, vice president of Development and Communications for Mountain State Centers for Independent Living. "That benefits us because we're hiring, and we provide services for veterans."

Employers at the fair represented a number of fields, including banking, finance, the energy industry, health care, retail, telecommunications, law enforcement and more.

Discipline and being self-starters are two of the characteristics veterans have that could help them in a career with the financial services firm Edward Jones, said Caleb Gibson and Jeanette Perry, local financial advisers with the firm.

"We're big on recruiting military, minorities and women," Perry said. "We like to a have a lot of personalities to match those of our clients'."

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