The job of putting returning veterans to work continues, as state leaders point out tax credits and other advantages. Recounting a visit to Poland,“when I explained to them that our reserve members are employed by Boeing and by a variety of companies, they’re like, the government must be paying those companies to do this,” says Col. Chris Lawson of the Illinois National Guard.“No, it’s the patriotic duty to do that. In 10 years of war, we’ve been able to find a balance and highlight some employers who go above and beyond.”
The director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs says pity is not the reason to hire a vet. Erica Borggren says, “Our veterans are actually among our most proven public servants. They’ve been in the toughest of environments, and they bring tremendous hard and soft skills back with them.”
Borggren says too often, the public image of the veteran is either that of a superhero or that of somebody down on his or her luck, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The real picture, she says, is usually in between.