At my niece’s wedding this weekend, I got to spend some time with my nephew, her brother, who served three combat tours in Iraq with the 17th Infantry. He is 27 now and living in Phoenix with his wife. He has suffered from PTSD, understandably, given the horrors that he lived, including watching a close friend die in his arms. As we talked, he shared that he has struggled to find a worthwhile job since coming home.
He was a leader in the Army. When he gave an order, his men followed. He has presence. He is the guy everyone likes and wants to spend time with. When he returns home to Michigan, 50 friends show up at his folks’ house to see him. He was not, however, a good student, and I suspect that the limitations of a thinly-won high school diploma hold him back in his job search. I hope that, very soon, a hiring manager out there will look at him holistically and recognize the worth and value of this warrior-turned-civilian. He wants nothing more than that.
A lot of companies are publicizing their commitment to hire veterans, and I applaud their efforts. I hope it’s more than a PR stunt and that they truly give these men and women the opportunity to work in a job commensurate with their value and to share their strengths with our communities. Today and everyday, let’s give them a chance.