East Texas Veteran struggles to find a job in civilian workforce

East Texas Veteran struggles to find a job in civilian workforce

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Workforce Commission partnered with a few East Texas businesses Thursday to host the "Hiring Red, White, and You" job fair.

Although the event was open to the public, it was geared towards veterans.

Approximately 50 flags stood tall outside of the Lufkin First Assembly Church. The flags were placed there to welcome veterans.

Eric Ironsmith, an unemployed veteran, was one of the many veterans that came out to the job fair Thursday.

After 22 years of military service, Ironsmith recently decided to try civilian life. He said the transition so far hasn't been easy.

"You're so used to be being in the military looking out on the civilian side that it gets pretty scary," Ironsmith


Ironsmith said simple tasks like filling out a job application can be overwhelming and even challenging.

"A lot of forms want you to fill out an accurate representation of where you have been. However, how am I going to list the address on that? Ironsmith said. "I was in tent city; I was in Iraq - Bagdad ."

He added it's really hard landing a job for one specific reason.

"Well a lot of us have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it has a cumulative effect.

Ironsmith said a lot of veterans feel that employers see them more as a risk than an asset.

Jeff Klotz, the general manager of Loving Honda, said veterans bring a lot to the table with their specialized skill set.

"It's not an issue for us and has not been in the past," Klotz said.

In the end, Ironsmith wants employers and people to understand that the transition from the warzone to home isn't easy but doable with the help of the community.

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