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Veterans

Optimistic Veterans, Reservists Flood Job Fair

Apr 9, 2013
Maryam Saleh / WUSF Public Media

About 200 Tampa veterans and military spouses gathered at the Ragan Community Center in Tampa today. They met with potential employers at Hiring Our Heroes, a job fair hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as they searched for opportunities to transition back to civilian life.

Jorge Hoyos is a reservist with the U.S. Air Force. He's held contracting jobs in the past, but is now looking for a job with more stability, and an opportunity for growth.

Hiring Our Heroes / US Chamber of Commerce

Job fairs for veterans, coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have made a mark over the last 21 months.

Between March 2011 and December 2012, the Hiring Our Heroes project held 388 job fairs where more than 18,000 veterans and military spouses got jobs according to a new report.

And the job fairs continue.

The State of Florida is looking to honor military veterans who have made significant contributions through civic, business, public service or other pursuits.

The Florida Veterans Hall of Fame is not a military hall of fame. Nominees will be considered for their contributions to the community of Florida and civilian accomplishments made during or after their military service.

Preference will be given to nominees born in Florida and those who adopted Florida as their home state.

Bay Pines VA

Here’s an opportunity for homeless veterans in Pinellas County, as well as veterans in need of help with employment, medical care or legal issues.

A "Stand Down" is scheduled Saturday, April 6, 2013, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m at Bay Pines VA, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, Fla.

A business survey of veterans who are transitioning back into civilian life reveals many would like to start or run their own business.

While the military provides rigorous training and discipline, it's not exactly the place to learn skills on how to succeed in business.

That’s the territory of an experienced businessman like Jack Grise who has created and sold two different businesses. He did a stint in the Navy when he was young and now wants to share business knowledge with veterans who want to start their own companies.

USF Library

The Tampa Bay area has lost another of its World War II veterans and heroes - a tank commander who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

In addition to his distinguished military service which earned him a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star, Fred Karl worked at almost every level of state government from the Florida Supreme Court to Tampa City Attorney.

Karl will be remembered for many things. But he said World War II shaped him and taught him leadership.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melissa V. Paradise) / MacDill Air Force Base

Today is Sequestration Day – the day that Congress’ mandatory budget cuts kick into gear a minute before midnight.  If that happens, it will take weeks, even months before the true impact is felt.

Florida’s Defense Industry and Military Bases

Gov. Rick Scott is certain of one thing - the mandatory budget cuts will severely hurt Florida’s defense industry. He says it contributes more than $73 billion and 754,000 jobs to the state economy.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Private Hugh Washington Mills was buried in Tampa’s Woodlawn Cemetery in the fall of 1919. But his grave went unmarked for almost a century.

Sandy Benitez, his great, great-granddaughter, discovered his grave site.  

Benitez’s genealogical search actually started when she tried to find where her mother’s grandfather, John Morgan Mills, was buried.

“They (the family) were never sure where he was buried,” Benitez said. “They used to go look for him all the time on the weekends and couldn’t find out.”

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The region is home to MacDill Air Force Base, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations as well as two of the busiest VA Medical facilities, James A. Haley in Tampa and Bay Pines in Pinellas County, which means there are several ongoing stories to monitor this new year.

Nicknamed "Stormin Norman" and remembered for his swift victory in Desert Storm, retired Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf died today in Tampa.

VA National Cemeteries Administration

Florida veterans will soon have two more options for burial at VA National Cemeteries in the state. Currently, there are seven national cemeteries, but large populations of veterans in north and east central Florida are still not served.

So, the Department of Veterans Affairs purchased land for two new cemeteries to accommodate about 247,000 veterans living more than 75 miles from any of the current cemeteries.

Stetson University College of Law

Stetson University College of Law opened its Veterans Law Institute on the Gulfport campus less than five months ago. The Veterans Advocacy Clinic already has 20 cases pending or in the pipeline and more than 60 inquiries from veterans looking for help.

Director Michael Allen said this fall semester four law students are working in the clinic helping veterans file for VA benefits or appeal rulings. He hopes to have eight law students working by spring semester.

Bobbie O'Brien

After 10 years of war, the number of veterans is growing and so are their needs. Stetson University's College of Law responded by establishing the Stetson Veterans Law Institute at its Gulfport campus.

It was a long road getting established. The way was led law professor Charlie Rose III, director of Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy, who is also a retired U.S. Army major.

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