Finding jobs still a challenge for many veterans

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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 7:55 pm | Updated: 7:36 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

And as we pay tribute to those who lost their lives for this country, it’s important not to forget the struggles those who survived the battlefield now face. And one of those struggles is helping veterans get back to work.

“I was deployed from 2011 to 2013 to Afghanistan." Seth Lanning is one of the many men and women who answered the call to protect and serve. "We had a really rough time over there. I was with an infantry platoon, so we were doing what the infantry does. We were out there roughing it with the Taliban."

Lanning got home earlier this month, and since then has had to make the transition from being in the armed forces to once again being a civilian. "I've been blessed with the opportunity to work at the YMCA as a lifeguard, which I did previously to joining the military."

But Lanning's experience isn't common. Many veterans have a hard time finding jobs when they return. "A lot of guys coming home having difficulties finding work. With the economy down, if they can find work, it’s part-time; it makes it difficult with the guys coming home with families," says veteran William Koch.

Officials from Manasota Operation Troop Support say part of those difficulties can be blamed on stereotypes. "Sometimes employers have a vision in there head of something they saw in the newspaper or heard about from a friend that a soldiers who come back have severe cases of PTSD," says Linda Craig.

And she says as they fight to get rid of the misconceptions, there are organizations stepping up to help vets get back to work. "Goodwill Industries has a new program to help veterans get back to a vocational program, help them with their resume if they have difficulty getting to work."

In addition to the Goodwill program, veterans can also get assistance from the VA. But Linda says many more need support. "You see the American flag everywhere to sell things, but we need to stand behind the American flag and stand behind these veterans who let us walk around and do everything that we want to do every day in freedom."

And on the day we remember those who lost their lives, Linda says it’s also important to remember that those who didn't die continue to thrive.

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