MARYSVILLE — Area veterans came to the Snohomish County Regional Veterans’ Job and Resource Fair ready to pursue careers, as the event returned to the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Marysville on Tuesday, April 10.
Marysville’s Laurence Finrow, whose prior service includes stints in the Army National Guard and Marine Corps, was one of many lining up to speak to Boeing representatives, in Finrow’s case because he was laid off by Kimberly-Clark.
“I’ve made several different contacts,” said Finrow, who was also keeping an eye out for possible employment opportunities for his wife. “I have trouble just staying at home and searching for jobs on the Internet. I’ve had job offers from places in Memphis, but before I make any sort of move, I want to try and get something here.”
Everett’s Jun-aris Gomez left the Navy after 12 years just last month, and took the time to visit the table for Columbia College, whose Naval Station Everett branch is located next to the PX and commissary in Marysville.
“I’m going to school for IT security,” Gomez said. “This fair has been very helpful as far as offering a lot of resources and showing what’s out there.”
Bobby Davidson of Stanwood spoke with representatives of Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1561 about the programs that were available to him after his 13 years of active duty serving in the Army. Davidson described himself as multifaceted, with hands-on experience not only as a bodyguard and in working with military vehicles, but also as a cook and a tutor to autistic children.
“I’m highly trained,” Davidson said. “An event like this is very rewarding, because it brings everything so close. With a fair like this, people who are already having a hard time with the economy and their lives don’t have to go so far. Everybody wants to work.”
Post 1561 Cmdr. Willy Hughes estimated that at least 50 veterans had stopped by their table within the fair’s first two hours, and agreed with Post Adjutant Bill Morse’s assessment of the recession’s disproportionate impact on veterans.
“The general population has an unemployment rate of a little over 8 percent now,” Hughes said. “For veterans, that’s closer to 12-14 percent, depending upon their ages. What’s great about an event like this is that you get to see who’s being affected. It can be hard otherwise to tell who has a job. A lot of people need the assistance that this fair is providing.”
“A lot of folks are hurting,” Morse said. “They’re looking for anything that can get them on their feet again.”