National Veterans Conference
Jenny Downey (right) explains to volunteers where their work station is going to be during the National Veterans Hiring Fair and Open House.

U.S. ARMY GARRISON DETROIT, Mich. -- Detroit Arsenal employees and those in the garrison community volunteered three days of work at this week's National Veteran's Conference in downtown Detroit.

The group helped veterans in several sections of the conference, which offered on-the-spot job interviews with a variety of companies, assistance with filling out resumes on USAJobs, seminars on starting a small business, and information on veterans' benefits.

Detroit Arsenal employees answered veterans' questions about various services, helped them find specific locations and offered words of encouragement.

Carrie Mead, garrison plans, analysis and information office chief, reminded volunteers to smile as she spoke to them as a group during each day of the conference.

"I really appreciate all the enthusiasm from all the volunteers," said Mead. "They spent a long, hard day standing on their feet, (but) they come out at the end of the day so pumped about the great experience they've been able to give to the veterans. We're really pleased and proud of what we're able to do in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs."

Other event organizers repeated the message for volunteers to not hesitate to offer assistance to all veterans who look like they need it. DTA employee Carlo Daleo welcomed the chance to offer any assistance he could for veterans in need of work. He's been in their shoes; in his case, laid off and looking for work.

"I appreciate the service they've given to the country and my freedoms and my family," said Daleo, "Prior to my working at the Detroit Arsenal, I worked for General Motors. With the (economic) hit we took to the auto industry here, I lost my job, and I was out of work for a year and a half. I want to do my part to help these veterans get back to work -- they have families to support as well."

Daleo is one of many volunteers from the Detroit Arsenal, a group that volunteer coordinators hope to see service 10,000 veterans during the three day conference.

"We've had 230 volunteers sign up to come down her," said Jenny Downey, DTA Army Community Services volunteer coordinator. "The feedback I've received from volunteers is that they're very happy to come in, shake a veteran's hand and provide services that may help them better their life in the future."

Some of the veterans are already receiving the good news. "We had a man come in yesterday to apply for an entry level management position. We were able to give him a tentative job offer," says Tammy Williamson, a Sears Automotive district manager, who described the process of hiring a veteran as "fantastic."

Williamson said that was especially true for those "who have done so much for our country. It feels great. We've had a wonderful turnout, and we're overwhelmed with the success and the great candidates we've had here."

Page last updated Thu June 28th, 2012 at 00:00