AMVETS helping veterans find new careers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

AMVETS helping veterans find new careers

A new program is helping military veterans transition to civilian life.

For Staff Sergeant Russell Watson, the Army is all he's ever known. At least, for most of his adult life.

"I left for basic training two days after high school commencement, in May of '85," Watson said. "And I retired on the first of June this year."

After serving his country for nearly 30 years, the Waterloo native said retirement was a nice break, at least for a while.

"After a few days, that gets old," he said. "You've got to have something to occupy your time."

He wasn't working, and wasn't sure where to start. Then, he was connected with the Career Center at the AMVETS chapter in Cedar Falls.

"It's helping where we can," said Terry Scheffert, who runs the program locally.

Scheffert joined the center in January, with one goal: to help vets transition back to civilian life.

With his help, Watson's on track for a new career, and a new sense of purpose. In a few short semesters, he'll be a commercial welder.

"The longer they're out, the harder it will be for them to readjust to a civilian life and get settled in," Scheffert said.

He said they have 19 vets in their system right now, and each case is different. While some vets need help writing a resume, others just need clothes for the interview.

In Watson's case, he said the program gave him the kick he needed to get back on track at a vulnerable time in his life.

"I really do appreciate that," he said. "Because, yeah, things were going downhill at the point."

Because after vets have given so much for their country, Scheffert thinks it's time to give them something in return.

Interested veterans can reach the Cedar Falls post at 319-277-6655.

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