Albany, N.Y.– 3/6/2012—Several service disabled veterans addressed the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committee on Tuesday in support of Senator Ball’s bill, S2423, which would give service disabled veterans preference on state contracts.
“We must strengthen opportunities in state contracting for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses,” said Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), who is the Chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committee. “The extraordinary service rendered to our nation by veterans returning with injuries incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during active service with the armed services is worthy of providing a contract preference to all service-disabled veteran businesses. With the number of returning veterans suffering with ailments like traumatic brain injury, this bill would provide a small measure of recognition and support that these heroes so fully deserve.”
Christopher Byrne, the director Summit Security Services, hires service disabled Veterans and is a Veteran himself. Byrne said his company has started a program call ‘The Hero Campaign: From Deployment To Employment’ to help place Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s important to me personally because I myself am a combat vet. I know what these men and women have been through. Hiring service disabled vets is not just the charitable thing to do, but the right thing to do,” Byrne said. “These men and women have a skill set that is unparalleled in the civilian sector. They are used to challenging situations where failure is not an option.”
John Fernandez , a service disabled Veteran who runs his own small business, said this bill is a big thank-you to the men and women who served our country.
“I think this is something that is totally necessary because Veterans make a choice to serve this country and that choice should not disadvantage them,” Fernandez said. “ Instead, they should be honored. No Veteran wants a hand out. We’re just asking for the playing field to be leveled.”
Jerry Majetich, who served in both the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, said he hopes this legislation will give other service disabled Veterans the opportunity he did not have when he was looking for a job. Majetich said these Veterans are looking for a permanent career that they can serve with the same dedication that they gave their country.
“I don’t want a job, I want a career. I want something that I’m going to fit into and make a living for me and my children. I’m a single father with three children, so I need to set an example for them.”
Ben Downing, who took part in a financial training program for service disable Veterans called Wall Street War Fighters Training Program, said Veterans have a unique ability to learn new skill sets and excel in new careers.
“We have shown multiple times through multiple deployments that we have the ability to learn,” Downing said. “Don’t pigeonhole us in a box and say you’re a strong military guy, go work in this job. I would not have been working in finance if it wasn’t for this opportunity and I’m very grateful.”
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, contact Brittany Oat (845) 200-9716.