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Medal of Honor recipient helps veterans find jobs
Date published: 8/14/2012
By RUSTY DENNEN
Dakota Meyer owns a small construction company in his native Kentucky, but the 24-year-old former Marine sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient is taking some time away from work to help other veterans find jobs.
"This is not about me. It's about Marines, military and their families," Meyer told a reporter Monday after a short speech at The Clubs at Quantico, which hosted the first Hiring Our Heroes job fair on a military installation.
"If I can use my platform to make a difference for all these people, that's what I want to do. If it was up to me, I would go back to my secluded home in Kentucky, and nobody would know who Dakota Meyer is."
Meyer, who received the military's highest honor from President Obama during a ceremony at the White House last September, was at Quantico to help kick off a hiring initiative by Toyota and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which launched the nationwide job fair last year.
"Even as a Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota dealt with many of the same challenges that thousands of transitioning post-9/11 veterans face as they enter the civilian workforce," Hiring Our Heroes Executive Director Kevin Schmiegel, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who lives in southern Stafford County, said in a news release.
Hiring our Heroes and Toyota developed a "personal branding" guide that will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of veterans at some 400 job fairs planned around the nation through the coming year. The idea is for former service members to better prepare for the civilian workforce.
"I was a sniper in the [Marines], so I understand firsthand how hard translating a military skill to a civilian skill can be," Meyer said. "Our country has been served by people who make the best employees--where qualities like loyalty, commitment and hard work are not only required, but honored."
Meyer worked on his father's farm in Greensburg, Ky., before joining the Marines at age 17. After his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned home and started his construction company.
Meyer said he was drawn to Hiring Our Heroes because of what finding work can mean for a veteran.