Finding a job can be a struggle for a veteran entering the civilian world. YNN's Megan Cruz has the story of one man at the Hiring Our Heroes event who has been searching for years.
LATHAM, N.Y. -- John Byrne is an army veteran. He served as a medical officer for 10 years, including two years in Iraq. He has seen his share of missions, but says finding a job may be his toughest mission yet.
"It leads to depression in a lot of people," said Byrne. "Application after application and waiting for that call to hopefully get something to work. My family depends on me."
Byrne was honorably discharged in 2005. He's tired of odd jobs and is ready for a career.
"I'm looking to get back in the medical field, that's what I'm good at," he said.
That's why he attended the Hiring Our Heroes job fair on Wednesday. He was joined by more than 200 fellow veterans, part-time service members, and their spouses.
"We saw from the labor statistics that service members across the board were having a more difficult time finding employment opportunities," said Hiring Our Heroes Executive Director Eric Eversole.
"The jobs and everything else we do in the military don't transfer right over in a civilian field," said Byrne. "And a lot of people say if you don't have a college degree, we're sorry."
Eversole says it's a problem that's not going away.
"With the draw down and the transition from the military and the belt-tightening," he said.
More than 70 businesses attended the job fair. They said they'll thank veterans for their service by having them join their ranks.
"Veterans are great candidates obviously," said Phil Stenglein of the Sheet Metals Workers' International Union Local 83. "They've got discipline, are focused."
"I can do anything," said Byrne. "You just have to train me, give me a chance."
Since 2011, Hiring our Heroes has found jobs for over 20,000 veterans.
For more information on the Hiring Our Heroes mission, head to www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes.