Mission: Employable

Hero 2 Hired, a job fair for military veterans, rolls into Los Alamitos.

Jeffrey Henry wants to work.

But the 53-year-old former Marine Corps lance corporal said his time in the service doesn’t seem to help him get hired.

“You would think being military, you get 10 extra points [in interviews],” Henry said. “But, I don’t know. You still get overlooked.”

Henry was one of more than 75 people who attended Day 1 of the Hero 2Hired event at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Bases on Thursday.

A mix between career fair and employment advice seminar, Hero 2 Hired's Mobile Job Store Truck set up camp next to the base’s veteran affairs office.

The event was open to all guardsmen and women, reservists, veterans and active duty soldiers, their spouses and dependent children. Among other services, it offered a live and virtual career fair, job listings, résumé building lessons and a mobile app.

Patrick Kuykendall, chief of staff for the California Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which co-sponsored the program, said soldiers sometimes have trouble readjusting to life after time in the military.

“It’s a little different when you get back to the civilian world,” Kuykendall said. “You gotta start yourself at the bottom.”

Hero 2 Hired is there to offer resources, he added.

“It’s a job to find a job,” Kuykendall said. “Use your resources and make it happen.”

Frank West, who drives the massive Hero 2 Hired truck on its tour across the country, said he loves helping servicemen and women. Since the truck got rolling in January, he’s logged 40,000 to 50,000 miles traveling across the nation, he said.

“The people have served, and we can’t do enough for ‘em,” said West, whose son served in Afghanistan. “They deserve it.”

The program will run one more day in Los Alamitos -- from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday -- and is also sponsored by Orange County One-Stop and the Los Alamitos Area Chamber of Commerce.

As for Lance Cpl. Henry, the Los Angeles resident said he used to make a living as a commercial actor and personal trainer, but the work dried up about four years ago.

“You put in your resume and they say, ‘Sorry we’re not hiring.' And you put it in another place and they say [the same thing]. You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you.” But the truth is “they’re just not hiring,” he said.

If anyone has a job offer for Henry, email him at jhenryworkout@yahoo.com

Ask for a resume. He got it updated today.


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