Every day our veterans, service members and their families make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of the American people. Secretary Solis and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service believe that America must honor those sacrifices by providing the country’s bravest with the best possible programs and services that we have to offer.
No where is this more evident than in the outstanding work provided by state and local area officials through our Disabled Veterans Outreach Program and by our Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives.
One such example recently involved the help given to George Dean, an Air Force veteran who was unemployed and homeless in Delaware. Dean came to the attention of Dover, Del., DVOP Kevin Gunning, who found out that the veteran was staying at a local shelter with no money, no job and no clothes except those on his back.
Gunning contacted his counterpart at the Department of Veterans Affairs and referred Dean there for a housing voucher. Gunning also got Dean food stamps and contacted the Delaware Veterans Stand Down organization, which quickly provided Dean with several changes of clothing.
Gunning then sought help for Dean from local LVER Clifford Rumph. The LVER entered Dean into case management and started making job development contact with employers on the veteran’s behalf.
But since Dean didn’t have a license and public transportation to possible job interviews was problematic at best, Gunning contacted the local police station and was given a partially disabled 10-speed bike for Dean to use. This didn’t deter Gunning — he was able to get a local counseling center to repair it in time for Dean to commute to job interviews.
One of the job development contacts Rumph made resulted in Dean being offered a part-time position with a Delmarva cleaning company which held the cleaning contract for the local Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Dean was hired as a temporary cleaning laborer just for the September 30 – October 2, 2011 race weekend at Dover Downs. The company was so impressed with Dean’s work ethics that they decided to bring him on as a full-time employee on October 4, 2011. Dean also moved into more suitable housing and received more badly needed clothing.
Veteran George Dean told the Dover One-Stop Manager “The Veterans Program has changed my life”. When he was asked why he helped George Dean, DVOP Gunning, himself a disabled veteran said “it is part of my job and I like going beyond what is expected to help veterans.”
Secretary Solis and I salute all of those departmental employees who work tirelessly every day to help our veterans and their families overcome unemployment, find a good job and get the benefits that they’ve earned. We believe that we should serve our men and women in uniform and their families as well as they have served us.
Ismael “Junior” Ortiz is the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.