Walz talks vets and jobs

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. — As if what they do for their country is not already hard enough, veterans returning from war often have a hard time getting acclimated back into the real world.

One of the biggest struggles is returning to work, mainly because jobs have been hard to find.

Stephen Jezeski has a long history of building office furniture at HALCON.

“I’ve been working here every summer since I was 16,” Jezeski said.

That has not been his only job. He has also served the country as a Marine. When Jezeski’s service was done, he knew there was place at home where he could work.

“Depending on your job, it can be hard to get a job out in the civilian world if you don’t have a good job that goes back and forth,” Jezeski said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Minnesota, knows what military life is like. He is the highest ranking enlisted soldier to have ever served in Congress and he also knows the struggle readjusting to civilian life.

“We spend a lot of money taking them from civilian, through boot camp, to turning them into soldiers. There’s a little bit of responsibility to turning them back into civilians,” Walz said.

That is why he stopped by HALCON Furniture. He is thanking businesses like that who go out of their way to hire veterans.

“What we’ve found is, the sooner they start working, the less incidents of mental health care that’s needed, less incidents of getting in trouble with the law, whatever it might be, because the problem is we’ve got young people who’ve experienced some pretty traumatic things, have gone and served this nation and many of them in combat situations. They come back home, the best thing we can do is make sure that we’re here for them, getting them jobs, getting them in,” Walz said.

The businesses like HALCON have learned that these veterans are reliable employees. Plus they can also be great role models for employees.

“Even when I was younger too, there were always people that were veterans that were here, so that was pretty cool. It was a great experience for me to talk to them before I joined too,” Jezeski said.

Walz said that he will take the lessons learned during Tuesday’s meeting and relay them to his colleagues in Washington. He wants to make sure they can continue the pattern of hiring vets in our area and spread it across the country.

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