Home From War: Home Depot Hosting Workshop For Vets

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - WHNT News 19 is launching a new segment on Friday mornings called “Home From War.”  Each week, we’ll focus on the challenges facing our veterans once they return from battle. We'll also spotlight the organizations helping our heroes and we'll celebrate their service.

Making the transition from military to civilian life can be tough on men and women who have served. But one company is doing what it can to help those heroes hone their job skills. When our servicemen and women come home from war, one of the first things they do is look for a job. That can be a tough assignment. But for one retired veteran we talked with, he likes what he’s found on dry land.

Jeff Rowe graduated from Huntsville’s Grissom High School in 1979. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in ’81 and spent time on seven different submarines. He says he’s been to several different countries and many home ports. But Huntsville is now his home port.

“In my case when I was looking for a job, my wife says you might as well go to Home Depot and work because you go there every day anyway,” Rowe said.

After retiring from 30 years in the Navy, Jeff had to make the transition from military to civilian life.

“I told myself I was going to take a little time off and do some traveling and I did that and then when I went out to start looking for a job,” Jeff told me. “I'd kind of forgotten that I really hadn't interviewed for a job in probably 30 something years. Every job just came along and that's where I went.”

It’s sometimes difficult for veterans to take the skills they learn in the military and translate them into what’s valuable for an employer but Jeff adds, “It's kind of easy when you think about it because what you're good at is you're good at showing people how to do things and you're good at leading people and that's what every employer wants is somebody who can teach other people how to do things and is comfortable talking to people.”

That's where Jeff's employer comes in. Home Depot is hosting Mission: Transition Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at its store on South Memorial Parkway in Huntsville. Nationwide, the company employs 35,000 active and retired vets.  Just last year, 10,000 were hired.

As part of its commitment to those who serve, Home Depot is trying to make a difference in the military communities where vets work and live.

Store Manager Lynda Ares says they like what veterans bring to the job.

“I think the leadership qualities and the skills that they bring because of their military background and then they bring that into an organization to where they're more structured,” said Ares.

During Saturday’s three-hour workshop, vets and those who are serving will hear from former military and industry leaders working for Home Depot.

“What that does is to help aid the veterans that are coming in that have been in the military to help them to acclimate to the interviewing world," said Ares. "I guess you could say with their resumes, interviewing skills, not only through Home Depot but any company that they're going to cause it's hard to transition from that military lifestyle sometimes to the civilian lifestyle so we're going to help them with that."

Space is limited and you need to sign up ahead of time. Go to careers.homedepot.com/military to register for the free event.

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