Since this weekend is Memorial Day, I would like to make a couple of suggestions to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.
Our country has hundreds of thousands of troops overseas, thousands of them fighting this ridiculous and shameful war in Iraq, with over 4,000 of our troops paying the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the last six years. Thousands more have had limbs blown off, others have severe head injuries and many have had psychological scarring that will never heal. Many of our troops (despite these dangers) continue to accept their re-assignments back to the Gulf, year after year. I admire and salute them.
Once these fine young men and women are able to return to a more “normal” civilian life, most will find that employment opportunities are scarcer for them than for others looking for work. The unemployment rate for returning troops is almost 5% higher than for the rest of us.
Here are two things that we can do:
1. Our City Commission could enact a policy that states that preference weighting be given to any Gulf War Vet applying for employment with the City. (Do we even have any Gulf War Veterans currently working for the City?)
2. Our City Commission could also simply ask every company doing business with the City to indicate the number of their employees who are Gulf War Veterans. Most will have none; however, that simple question will cause these firms to reflect and consider how they might expand employment opportunities to these brave young men and women in the future.
When I left active duty back in 1981, I remember how difficult it was to find civilian employment, even as an ex-Air Force officer. A manager from Hewlett Packard Computer Company hired me as one of their first non-technical sales people for HP. When I asked him years later about his decision to hire me, he commented that it’s not always experience that matters the most, it’s ability & desire that matter most. His decision enabled me to have a successful 20-year career in the high tech field.
These are relatively simple tasks we could do here in Fort Lauderdale, but it would help to set a new tone of a progressive, caring City government. Would the Mayor or any of the Commissioners care to respond?
Lt Colonel, United States Air Force (Ret.), and proud of it!!!