Hiring Our Heroes: Resources for veterans

8:01 PM, Mar 27, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Veterans can use everything from websites to personal connections to help find jobs.

In Avon Lake, business owner Joe Kokinda is trying the personal touch in hopes of hiring a qualfied veteran for his refrigeration business.

"Being ex-military myself," the Navy veteran says, "and knowing what that took to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning for the dog watch five years in a row, and you military guys know what I mean by that, that's what this job takes."

Kokinda, founder and president of Professional HVAC/R Services, Inc., relied on the skills he learned in his 5 years in the Navy to build his business. He's looking for a similarly trained and motivated veteran.

"It's teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. Look out for your brother, make sure they're safe. It's a serious business," Kokinda told WKYC.

In Lakewood, U.S. Army recruiter Sgt. Paul Mongera offers an array of job seeking services, even to those who are no longer active duty.

"Why wouldn't you hire a veteran?" he asks.  "We show up on time to work. We don't call in sick. We work well with others. You know we've been putting something greater than ourselves, above ourselves," Mongera points out.

He responded to a Monday evening news report on WKYC that featured the current job search of Iraq veteran Duane Evans of Cleveland. Mongera contacted WKYC and asked to be put in touch with Evans.

"I saw the story, and I felt bad for him," Mongera said Tuesday." Any man who serves his country, honorably serves his country, to come back and find a hard time finding employment, it just doesn't seem fair."

While working a personal connection with Evans, a husband and father who did two tours in Iraq, Mongera also promoted a number of websites geared specifically to veterans looking for work.

The include an initiative led by JP Morgan Chase, in which that company and a number of others pledge to hire 100,000 veterans between now and the year 2020. Another website called Hire Heroes USA is a non-profit aiming to connect vets with employers.


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