The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 2, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Hire a veteran

The Clinton Herald

---- — I had a job and obligation to welcome home an Honor Flight at the Quad City Airport for our veterans.

The greatest time was when one of the old veterans came by me and I said to him, “Welcome home young man.” Tears came to his eyes and he said to me that he had not heard that until 70 years ago when he came back home from the World War II campaign. He thanked me and from that day on it changed my life.

When I went to Vegas and stayed in the old downtown I noticed a man in a wheelchair with his legs missing from the knees down and with a veteran sign on the side of his chair. Also a metal cup in his lap and speaking no words due to restrictions on panhandling. I took time with him and talked about his time in Vietnam. Being homeless and with no job, he had to resort to this humiliating task of sitting there. I noticed all the people walking by to avoid him and too busy to get to the next gambling machine. I left him with $100 in 20s to which he was very grateful. He was not a phony as I seen that in his eyes.

Then I realized how many of these veterans are out there. I met an old Marine veteran at our Eagles Club who was a prisoner of war of the Korean War. Being caught behind the enemy lines by the Chinese entry of that war. In their camp he was tortured and that was where his legs were not the same anymore. I befriended him and helped him to find a single floor apartment — a short walk to the Eagles Club to a table to drink two beers. He was quiet but would talk when spoken to with his back to the front door of the club. I surprised him by having a young Marine who was home on leave and in his best blue uniform come to the back of this old Marine and yelling at the seargent to full attention. Words cannot describe the emotions that was shown between these two Marines. They talked a very long time and the young Marine brought a Marine flag for him. Priceless moment in time.

I’ve seen the TV news and newspaper about jobs for veterans, including the disabled veterans. The ideal situation would be to use all these men and women to what they were trained for. There is no reason if they are both mentally and physically qualified. They can handle security jobs for our schools and government buildings and then let all other law enforcement people do the jobs they are trained for — domestic problems, traffic, drugs, investigations, robberies, assaults and murders. What a better time for all communities to use these veterans to protect our schools and government buildings. You would get more production out of them than any politician running the government now, especially without all the bickering and fighting of how to get things done. They protected our country with sacrifice and they should be protected by our own country and its people.

We waste so much money on what’s best for this country and still nothing gets done. If a veteran is able to do his or her job then put them to work to the security of this country and make them production proud Americans.

Don’t walk on by and avoid them. Hire a veteran.

Paul Baker, Clinton