Letter: Thank you to those businesses that help veterans

Joe Kuziel

After that awful experience, I began an eager search for veteran assistance. I scoured the web only to find myself lost in a series of endless links – websites offering job assistance that only lead to more links and eventually to a mega-site where everyone posts jobs. Or worse yet, I would find sites where jobs had been posted but not updated in years. I avoided trying to navigate through the mess by returning to the university website where they had legitimate job postings.

Eventually, I did find a career and began to start a family. Life had other plans for me though. After losing everything in a divorce, I found myself having to start over from scratch. The first thing to do was find gainful employment and I needed help fast. Since I wanted to avoid the tangled web of ‘click here for assistance’ websites, I walked right into the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7824 in Vancouver. I quickly began networking with people who shared common experiences with me. Combat vets seem to be able spot other combat vets and that is how I was introduced to Robin Conrad of Century 21 Realty. Robin then introduced me to Creekside Mortgage Inc., a veteran-owned and locally operated small business.

There was no filing out long applications, spending hours taking online personality tests, or submitting documents to a faceless human resource department. The process was simply word-of-mouth and an interview.

Finally, I had a job with the opportunity of turning it into a career. Everyone at Creekside Mortgage has some tie to military service as a former service member, the spouse of a current or former service member, or they have family serving.

My biggest learning experience with Creekside was finding out how easy it is to buy a home and yet how confusing the process can be if you don’t know where to start. Like my job search, navigating websites that claim to have answers can be a daunting task. Educating veterans in how to use their benefits has become my primary responsibility. Each person has a different situation and each has questions that are based on their circumstances. Many veterans have been surprised to find they qualify for a VA loan or that the current economic situation is perfect for buying a home.

As veterans it is our responsibility to help each other out. That’s why I want to pay it forward by being a tangible resource. When a veteran contacts me, they will receive an answer, not a faceless web link to nowhere.

Joseph Kuziel

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