Mt. Kisco , N.Y. – (4/37/12) Service Disabled Veterans addressed the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committee on Friday at the Mount Kisco Public Library in support of Senator Greg Ball’s (R, C – Patterson) bill, S2423, which would give service disabled veterans preference on state contracts
The US Department of Labor released a report in October of 2011, that stated the unemployment rate for veterans who served from 2001-present is around 12.1%, much higher than the nation’s unemployment rate. Senator Ball has been leading the effort on the state level to create quality jobs for returning veterans. Senator Ball’s legislation, S2423 will add service-disabled veterans to the list of groups receiving the state preference in contracting, which includes women and minorities.
“We must strengthen opportunities in state contracting for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses,” said Senator Greg Ball who currently Chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.“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.”
Service-disabled veterans from Summit Security, John Fernandez Associates Inc., and Drexel Hamilton, the sponsor of the Wall Street Warfighters Training Program addressed Chairman Ball and Assemblyman Castelli (R,C-Goldens Bridge) to express the need for more quality employment opportunities that match the skills and experience service- disabled veterans have.
“Disabled Veterans do not want to be anyone’s charity. That is something that is engrained in them by their service. After they have served their county and when they hit the civilian market, that doesn’t change,” said Cauldon Quinn, a retired Lieutenant from the US Navy and Service Disabled Veteran. “This bill is so important because it provides opportunity for Veterans to demonstrate that they are capable of not just competence but excellence”
Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli, a Vietnam Veteran, disabled veteran, and ranking member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, thanked Chairman Ball for hosting the hearing, and pushing the bill. “One percent of the nation protects the other ninety – nine percent,” said Assemblyman Castelli. “We owe our veterans, and especially our disabled veterans, a debt of gratitude. The fact that a man has no legs, does not mean he has no brains. Service equals success. Hire a vet.”
Jerald Majetich, a Retired Staff Sergeant from the US Army gave testimony on his horrific experience overseas in October of 2005. An explosive device struck Majetich’s vehicle, he managed to escape the vehicle but was then shot three times in a firefight. He spent the next twenty-two months in the hospital and to date has undergone 62 surgeries.
“Veterans as a whole do not want to sit at home. I am 42 years old, I am entirely too young to retire and sit on the couch for the rest of my life and receive a paycheck from the government,” said Majetich. “I wanted to prove to my children that it doesn’t matter what happens in your life, you can get back up and make a meaningful difference to not only your family but to your community”
“Currently there’s a plethora of good will out there when it comes to Veterans. However, there is not a plethora of even opportunities to perform”, said Staff Sergeant Ben Downing. Downing is currently a member of the Drexel Hamilton Wall Street Warfighters, a program sponsored by the finance firm that teaches service-disabled veterans the ropes of the finance industry.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Krista Gobins: (845) 200-9716.