“Any company organization that supports veterans—that draws me here.”

Douglas Musheno, a recent Messiah College graduate and 20-year active-duty Army veteran, was navigating the recent Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair in Camp Hill.

Clad in a suit and tie and with a resume-filled portfolio in his arms, Musheno was facing head-on the challenge confronting so many veterans and transitioning military: finding civilian employment.

“As veterans, we offer a lot,” Musheno, of Mechanicsburg, said. “I mean, we have experience, leadership, management, and we’ve been in certain situations as veterans …”

Public admission was free for the Veterans Expo & Job Fair – Capital Area, presented by OLP Events.

Composed of both an expo and a job fair in one location, the event welcomed hundreds of transitioning military personnel, veterans, and their families to the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg on Aug. 29.

The Veterans’ Expo connected active and retired military members with benefits and resources available through local businesses and organizations.

Exhibitors included community service providers, healthcare professionals, VA benefits counselors, education/training providers and business startup assistance, as well as businesses covering everything from home improvement, legal services, and finance to retirement living and insurance.

Along with a focus on helping today’s military, the event also paid homage to those who served under conflicts further back in the nation’s history.

Catherine Courreges and Kim DiJoseph from Quilts of Valor presented quilts to two local veterans.

Jay Snyder, of Lower Paxton Township, served in Vietnam in the 1st Cavalry Division and Golden Knights, U.S. Army Parachute Team. Chuck Kline, of Harrisburg, served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II.

The quilt is a lifetime award bestowed upon deserving veterans and active service members for their service to the nation.

“Our quilters know that our freedom is not free; the cost of our freedom is the dedication of men and women such as all of yourselves,” Courreges said. “This quilt is meant to say, ‘Thank you for your sacrifices.’”

At the Job Fair, veterans and employers met face-to-face to discuss available positions. Company representatives were looking to fill openings in sales, labor, management, tech, medical services, transportation, clerical, manufacturing, engineering, construction, retail, financial services, and more.

“[We’re here] to let the veterans know that we support them … and to help anybody who’s looking to further their education in the trucking industry,” Tracy Hockenberry, education consultant with McCann School of Business and Technology, said.

Also at the Job Fair, a Resource Center provided assistance with resume writing, information on VA benefits and Medicare, and mock interviews.

Like Musheno, Darlene Irving, Army veteran from Harrisburg, was at the event scouting job opportunities. Irving is looking to reenter the workforce after some personal time away.

“It is good to browse and look at the various tables where the employers have displayed the job openings that they have [and] ways to apply for the position, and also some of the hiring managers are right here on site,” Irving said.

Event sponsors included 50plus LIFE, AT&T Mobility, Disabled American Veterans, DMP Solutions, The Guide, Pennsylvania American Legion, Pennsylvania National Guard Outreach Office, Pennsylvania State

Headquarters VFW, USAA, WHP580/Bob 94.9 FM, and WHTM abc27.

The Veterans Expo & Job Fair will return Thursday, Nov. 2, at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim. For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.veteransexpo.com.

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