'Still Serving Veterans', now in Opelika - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

'Still Serving Veterans', now in Opelika

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OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) -

A non-profit organization called Still Serving Veterans, created to empower and help veterans, held its first job fair in Opelika, Ala. today, Jan. 23. Retired warriors in Alabama and Georgia attended the event in hopes of finding jobs, enhancing their resumes, and network with various companies looking for workers.

Still Serving Veterans began in Huntsville, Ala. in 2006. The organization was originally created to serve severely wounded veterans. However, Bill Koch, the Director of Still Serving Veterans, explained that the mission changed for the better. Now, the organization serves all healthy and wounded veterans of all era.

The organization came to Opelika in May of 2013. About 30 veterans attended the first job fair, and Still Serving Veterans members were confident that they would see bigger number next time.

"We moved to Opelika and opened an office here, because of the city's proximity to Fort Benning," Bill Koch said. "Veterans do not have to search and wonder about who and what groups are out there to help them. Veterans can just come to us, and we will take care of them."

All Still Serving Veterans services are free to veterans.

Jerry Martin is a veteran who worked for the National Guard for 34 years.

"This is my very first job fair ever," Martin said. "I still want to work for another 10 to 20 years. I would love to score a job here. However, I know this is a building block for me. I'll probably see some of these same individuals again in different job fairs. I'll learn skills today that I will be able to use in the near future as well. "

Another veteran, 38 year old Jeremy Ellis, landed his first civilian job as work force development associate for the Opelika office of Still Serving Veterans. Ellis was medically retired after 20 years of serving in the US Army infantry.

"I joined the Army infantry when I was 17, right out of high school," Ellis. "I retired at 37. This is my first civilian job, and it is so different from being a soldier."

Ellis said he enjoys the new job he started August of 2013. He likes that his job focuses on helping other veterans find jobs.

"Taking care of a brother, sister and fellow combat or veteran and those who served their time is such an honor," Ellis said. "To help warriors transition and find jobs is amazing. When some of these guys call me and thank me to say, ‘I got a new career, money is in my account, food is on the table, bills are paid.' That's the biggest thing."

Interested veterans in the Chattahoochee Valley can visit Still Serving Veterans website at: http://www.stillservingveterans.org

Veterans can make appointments to discuss health care, benefits, jobs and more.

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