Category Archives: vets

Housewarming for Al

Housewarming! 

For Al !!

Al Jordan, our homeless veteran friend moved into veteran’s transitional housing on April 1, 2008.  He is still excited.   Pat Shankle of Georgia Home Staging with the help of husband Scott and friends staged his new apartment.  That means she selected the furnishings from the warehouse of MUST Ministries, added other stuff such as pictures, decorations, pillows, kitchen and dining room stuff and then professionally decorated the entire apartment – living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining room.   Pat does this for a living, normally staging houses for sale in order to make them more attractive, leading to quicker sale.   She also staged a home for our last Habitat homeowner, Joi.  Pat has said she is negotiating with MUST to stage a number of additional apartments as part of her homeless ministry.  Admire her work in the following pictures.

Als Apartment entry

Entry to Al’s new apartment.

Some of Als friends from our church gave him a housewarming dinner last night (April 3).   It was a great event for Al and his new housemate, Danny.  

Danny, Pat, Al

Danny McDaniel, Pat Shankle, Al Jordan

The food was catered by our Wednesday night dinner food experts.  It was GREAT eating.

Shrimp!  Chicken was also avialable

Shrimp!  Bacon and green beans.  Chicken was also available.  Desert consisted of ice cream with hot fudge.

Here are a few pictures of Als apartment taken while he gave us the grand tour:

Als Bedroom

Als Bedroom

Car tag

Prized car tag in window! for when he can afford a car.  Link to Macland Presbyterian

Bedroom

Another view of Al’s bedroom. 

Kitchen

Kitchen.  The fridge is opposite the stove.  Yes that is a coffee grinder in the far left corner and bags of Starbucks (gifts) on the shelf.

Dining room

Dining nook and lighting

Now to the gifts and people.  Al’s guests came with gifts ranging from DVD players to $50 gift cards and more than a few misty moments as Al opened them and read the cards.   Here are a few photos:

Ladies and Al

As ususal, all the ladies sat on one side of the room and the gents on the other.  And yes, Al is working with a hankie at the moment.

Cross

Admiring the Cross

Al with Pastor Ray Jones III

Our Pastor, Ray Jones III with Al. 

Towels

More gifts, in this case towels and other bathroom supplies

Scott Shankle

Pat’s husband Scott.

Jeff Staka

Jeff Straka.   You may remember him from our meeting with the Police Chief in an earlier blog.

I think we were all as pleased as Jeff appears to be in this photo with the outcome of our first venture into the homeless world.    Al and Danny seemed pleased too.   Although there are not many pictures of Danny here, he was not left out of the festivities and joined in our meal and prayers as well as shared in the joy of the moment for Al.

Danny and Al seem to be very comfortable house mates and will get along well together.  Danny, also a veteran in the program, has a car and has offered to drive Al to our Wednesday night dinner and to Church.  Looks like we have made a new friend there as well.  Danny’s is a different story where he once was married to the daughter of one of the biggest landowners in this area and now struggling to climb out of homelessness.

We also met a bear of a man, Jon who came in to check the refrigerator.  He is also a veteran, lives on the property and maintains/repairs anything that needs fixing.  This is a 20 unit complex entirely devoted to transitional housing for homeless veterans.   With two men to a unit, 40 veterans are served.  Jon said he is enrolled in the STEP program.   Nether Danny nor Al are enrolled in treatment programs, though they are required to find and keep jobs and eventually work their way out of the housing.

Part of the challange is this:  The entire complex is surrounded by woods habitated by other homeless men, somewhat envious of their neighbors.   The area is a high crime area including drugs.   Part of Jon’s job is to keep the area clear of anyone not residents of the complex.   It seems to be working.  I found the complex clean and nicely kept. 

I was well pleased with the housing situation.   This complex is funded by HUD and run by MUST ministries with grants from HUD.   Something just feels right about this situation.

Slide Show

Here is a slideshow with includes all of the pictures taken by me at the dinner, 47 in all.  Enjoy

Oldtimer

Hire Vets First

Banner for Hire Vets First

Hire Vets First – VETS

I hope that all veterans that need jobs or considering changing jobs know about this site on your nearby internet:  Veterans’ Employment & Training Service (VETS).

It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.  “Veterans Succeeding in the 21st Century Workforce”.

The mission statement for VETS is to provide veterans and transitioning service members with the resources and services to succeed in the 21st century workforce by maximizing their employment opportunities, protecting their employment rights and meeting labor-market demands with qualified veterans today.

Down the left side of the page are boxes of clickable information for 

Service providers

What grants are available?
2007 HVRP Urban and Non-Urban SGA
What are the requirements for priority of service?

Veterans, Service Members and Families

What is Veterans Preference?
USERRA Questions?
Where can I find help with employment?
What should I know about licensing and certification? 
 

Employers

How do I find qualified veterans?
What does USERRA require?
What is required of Federal contractors?

Down the right side of the page are clickable links to Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Information and other valuable resources.  If I were a veteran looking for help in preparing for a job, I would start down the right hand column and click every line and at least scan what they have to offer, then sign up.  Everything from how to get your documents, how to prepare a resume, how to convert your military experience into civilian readable lingo, how to convert your rank into comparable rank in a civilian organization, how to determine what jobs you may be qualified for, how to schedule interviews, what to wear, what to bring, what to say, how to conduct yourself, and where to find listings for both federal and civilian jobs that give veterans preference.

Here is what Department of Labor says about the TAP program:

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshops have provided job-search assistance to well over one million separating and retiring military members and their spouses since 1990. Studies have indicated those who attend TAP workshops find employment sooner than those not participating.

 The Departments of Defense, Labor, Veteran Affairs and Transportation are dedicated to providing you with these important workshops for years to come. TAP workshops are conducted by professionally trained facilitators. Participants will learn how to write effective resumes and cover letters, proper interviewing techniques, and the most current methods for successful job searches. The workshops further provide labor market conditions, assessing your individual skills and competencies, information regarding licensing and certification requirements for certain career fields and up-to-date information regarding your veteran benefits. Information addressing the special needs of disabled veterans is also available

If you are out of a job with time on your hands, what do you have to lose?  There is enormous resource information here.   The manual can be downloaded and viewed on line – all 184 pages of it.   Check it out!

Use the site above to decide what documents you need to get for your portfoleo and begin building a resume now.  Enroll in the TAP program through VETS.  Keep looking for a job with whatever you have, but if you want top dollar and want the very best chance of beating the other guy out, plan out a strategy and build a resume as a special project.  It will make a difference, but don’t stop looking/trying just because you have not completed this program.   Look for a job, work on the program, and if you have not been placed yet or are not satisfied with what you took, finish the program and apply again.  You will be better prepared and better accepted. 

There are some Special Programs you could be interested in – look at the very bottom of the right hand column and find

Helments to Hardhats  

Troops 2 Truckers  

Troops to Teachers  

(These links here are shortcuts to the programs, the logos were added from the sites by me)

Next:  Job listing site for current employment opportunities for veterans

Oldtimer

Veterans Should Know This About Job Discrimination.

Veterans should already know this about job discrimination

But in case you don’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.  If you ever are in need of a job,  or trying to return to a job after military service (and all this applys to homeless veterans as well), or you are disabled and your employer is not accomodating that disablement, you may not know about some programs designed specifically to help you find a new job or return to a job after service.  The first of these is USERRA.

USERRA

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)  covers virtually every individual in the country who serves in or has served in the uniformed services and applies to all employers in the public and private sectors, including (but not limited to)Federal employers.

 

The law seeks to ensure that those who serve their country can retain their civilian employment and benefits, and can seek employment that is free from discrimination because of their service (public or private employment) . USERRA also provides special protection for disabled veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability.

 

Basically this law gives veterans certain rights to return to their old jobs if they leave for military service.    Veterans are also protected from civilian/private (non federal) employees denying new employement just becasue of your military service (such as an employer just will not hire former military for some reason).  

 

Veterans that are disabled have a further advantage in requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability.  Veterans applying for federal jobs have a special preference (points) assigned that give them an advantage over non veterans when applying for those jobs.

 

Are you covered by the Law?

Click here to find out if you are covered under this law:   Answer the questions and determine if you are covered. Some of these are service related by particular years. 

Do you think you have been discriminated against?

If you think you have been discrimated against, click here: eLaws USERRA Advisor – Discrimination read what it says, then press “continue” and you will find a series of questions that will lead you to an answer as to whether you have a case.

 If you appear to have a valid basis for filing a complaint, how do you file a claim?

Before filing a complaint, you should discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or the Federal agency personnel office that took the action. Anyone you choose, including an official of a veterans’ service organization, may help you at any time. If you are unable to resolve the matter with the agency, you should:

  • contact your local State Employment Service office and speak to a Veterans’ Employment Representative or a Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist. He or she will make sure your information is complete and forward your complaint to the DOL State representative for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS);

or

  • file a written complaint directly with a DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) Office. Please review the instructions on how to file a complaint form . You will find a link to the form on the instructions page.   This involves downloading a form 1010 available at the instructions link above..

What are your remedies?

Remedies to a claimant under the law may flow from two different processes. The first is the administrative route (handled by the United States Department of Labor, VETS). The second is the litigation route (handled by the U.S. Attorney General or the Office of Special Counsel). Remedies may differ depending on which route is chosen.

Remedies available through the administrative route can include:

  • Return to a job
  • Back pay
  • Lost benefits
  • Corrected personnel files
  • Lost promotional opportunities
  • Retroactive seniority
  • Pension adjustments
  • Restored vacation

The courts can require the employer to comply with the law and restore all compensation referred to above. Where violation is considered willful the court may double any amount due as liquidated damages. The court may NOT, however, impose any punitive damages under USERRA.

There is a lot more to this topic. What I’ve tried to do above is muddle through some of the links and find some shortcuts.  You should go to the USERRA Advisor home page for the full scoop.

I will cover another of these programs designed to help veterans in need of a job tomorrow.

 

Oldtimer

Driver Prevented From Wearing Hat Honoring Veterans

Bus Driver Prevented From Wearing Hat

Honering Veterans

Reported By: Valerie Hoff   (link also has video of this story)
Web Editor: Michael King
Last Modified: 5/25/2007 
Veteran, hat in disputeA Gwinnett County bus driver wanted to show support for veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. So today, the last day before Memorial Day, he wore a patriotic hat. 

Gary Rolley, who’s a vet himself, said he was ordered to take the hat off. A supervisor told him it wasn’t part of his uniform.  Rolley is proud of the four years he served in the Navy. He is proud to be an American.   “I love my country,” he said.

Rolley said he is paying tribute to all veterans by wearing his American Legion hat, but the he said that didn’t’ go over well with his bosses at the Gwinnett County Transit Authority.  “The supervisor said, ‘You are you have uniform; you have to take that hat off.’ I explained this was a hat I wear for the holiday.”

Rolley said he continued to wear the hat on his bus route.  “As we were going down the road, a second supervisor radioed me. He said, ‘What do you have on your head?’ I said, “Why are you asking me that?” And he said ‘Take that hat off now,'” Rolley explained.

Rolley said he turned the bus around and went back to headquarters.  “I said ‘I’m sorry, I got sick over this. I’m sick to my stomach, and I’m going home sick’,” Rolley said. “I turned around and I left.”  Rolley said patriotic hats have been allowed in the past, and Santa hats are allowed at Christmastime, so he doesn’t understand why the rules have changed.

“It’s just to me a slap in the face to our veterans,” Rolley said.  He said he wore the hat on Friday because he has the day off on Monday — Memorial Day. He said he plans to spend Monday honoring American veterans.  The general manager of the Gwinnett County Transit Authority said that Rolley was asked nicely to wear the proper uniform, and he opted to go home. John Autry said there is a standard issue hat that all bus drivers are required to wear.

Way to go Rolley.   I support you – America supports you.   We need to honor our fallen and all our Heroes in uniform or who have worn it in the past .

Oldtimer 

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