Vets Get Job Help
Vets Get Job Help: Nailing Down Civilian Jobs Can Be Stressful
By Lisa Eckelbecker TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Photo by Telegram & Gazette
Photo: Ben Mehr (left) and Helder Machado (right)
WORCESTER — Benjamin J. Mehr carried one burden when he went to war in Iraq, and he came home to another — unemployment.
The 25-year-old husband and father of two boys hauled heavy loads on his back while deployed as a specialist with the 772nd Military Police Company of the Massachusetts National Guard in Taunton, only to return in October 2009 with a herniated disk injury to his back and the discovery that the ailment would prohibit him from returning to work as a carpenter.
He searched for jobs and took a temporary position as a Census worker.
“I ran across not being able to translate my skills to a civilian position,” said Mr. Mehr, who lives in Northboro. “The jobs out there were things I didn't have any experience in. It was very overwhelming. It felt hopeless. At more than one point, I felt I wasn't going to get anywhere.”
Thanks to a small nonprofit group, Guard Support of Massachusetts, Mr. Mehr found a job working for another Guard veteran, Helder A. Machado. And Mr. Machado won the first loan that Guard Support is offering under a new initiative, $40,000 that is helping him ramp up his technology business, Machado Consulting, now housed in offices on Shrewsbury Street.
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