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Veterans flock to Phoenix job fair

Veterans and employers interact at a job fair on Jan. 8, 2013 in Phoenix. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Some of America's veterans were looking for work in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Army veteran Shawn Brown has been out of work for three years and needs a job.

"Any kind of paying job," he said. "Any kind." Brown said he was a military police officer and is looking for security work.

Brown is one of 300 military veterans who showed up at an American Legion Post for a job fair put on Hiring Our Heroes. The group is on a national campaign with a goal of getting 500,000 veterans back on the job by 2014. General Electric, Verizon, and First Command are among the companies that interviewed candidates at Tuesday's fair.

Hiring Our Heroes Western Regional Associate Virginia Carpenter said a workshop was offered giving the veterans tips on how to better market their skills.

"Because a lot of companies don't know how to translate what the veterans did into civilian terms, and a lot of the veterans don't know how to translate their military training into civilian terms as well" [to show how their talents are best suited for the company]," she said.

The group hosts job fairs for veterans all over the country. The next Arizona event is scheduled for March 6 in Flagstaff. Carpenter said they are also hoping to put on another job fair in Phoenix on April 25.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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