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Supporting Iowa Veterans, Every Day of the Year

PHOTO: The nearly 240,000 men and women in Iowa who have served in the military are being honored on this Veterans Day, but making sure vets in the state have the support they need is happening every week of the year. Photo credit: Carl Wycoff
PHOTO: The nearly 240,000 men and women in Iowa who have served in the military are being honored on this Veterans Day, but making sure vets in the state have the support they need is happening every week of the year. Photo credit: Carl Wycoff
November 11, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa - Many veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are finding the move back into civilian life can present barriers, but there is help and it's year-round, not just on Veterans Day. One hurdle is finding employment, so local employers are being encouraged to hire former soldiers, according to retired Colonel Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs.

"They're experienced. They're dedicated. They come with leadership that's been provided by the military. They're tested. They're proven. They've got job skills in a lot of different areas. They understand teamwork and they bring with them a family that gets involved in the community," he described the vets. "You just can't ask for more."

King said that in Iowa, the gap in unemployment rates between veterans and the general population has now almost fully been closed. Nationally, the unemployment rate for the youngest vets, between ages 18 and 24, is still at about 20 percent.

Another issue for some returning soldiers is mental health, and King said there are various options for help for those dealing with anxiety, depression or PTSD.

"And I would just encourage service members who have returned and have issues to seek help," he said. "There are a number of places in the community where they can get assistance and I just encourage them to reach out sooner than later."

There are nearly 240,000 veterans who currently call Iowa home.

More information on vets in Iowa is at bit.ly/17hB5JF.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA