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March 13, 2013

Veterans pleased with expo

Many attend looking for work

TERRE HAUTE — Jeff Briggs attended the third annual Veteran’s Expo for one reason — resources to find a job.

“I am a recently unemployed veteran looking for a job,” said the 33-year-old Terre Haute resident as he visited several of the 65 exhibitors at the expo held Tuesday in the VFW Post 972, located about two blocks north of Wabash Avenue along 12th Street in Terre Haute.

Briggs said he joined the U.S. Navy in 2003 in Utah. He served in the Navy until 2012, then moved to Terre Haute to work in a federal prison. “It was a great experience, but it didn’t work out,” he said, adding his long-term goal is electrical work.

“My background is in power generation and electrical. I have looked at the electrical workers and their apprenticeship, but I don’t want to start at square one. I have already completed an apprenticeship in the military,” he said.

Biggs said he is looking to stay in the area, adding he “likes the community here. I am glad they have this expo. It is good to support the veterans,” he said.

Larry Larrison, 69, of Rockville said he is a disabled veteran and attended Tuesday’s expo to get medical services in the Wabash Valley.

“I came in to to talk to the Terre Haute Veterans Outpatient Clinic. I was drafted out of Newport in Vermillion County in 1968 and I moved back here from North Carolina about a year and half ago. I had a couple tours in Vietnam…,” he said.

Larrison said he wanted to be enrolled in a medical clinic in Terre Haute as his veteran medical services and doctor are still based in North Carolina.

Walter Padgett, veterans employment representative for WorkOne, said the expo offered educational providers, social services and employers, such as banks, hospitals and industry, such as JWS Machine, PDF and TriAerospace.

Last year, more than 200 veterans came through the expo, with more than 150 signing a sign-in sheet, which is used to determine attendance at the expo and keep in contact with the expo attendees for future information, said Doug Meissel, who started the expo with WorkOne.

A large Veterans Administration mobile home was parked by the VFW building which allowed quick computer access to veterans benefits and health information. The vehicle was from the Indianapolis Veterans Center, said Natasha Allen, readjustment outreach coordinator.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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