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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: I'm simply looking for a fair chance

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email letters@bemidjipioneer.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

062922.OP.BP.LETTER.THOMPSON
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Nobody ever said that life was going to be easy, but there is no justification for deliberately making people's lives hard, especially those that have served the needs of the United States of America in the U.S. military.

I am one of those people that served in the military and call Minnesota my home, following my service. I am not going to go into detail, but I have a number of service-connected disabilities that have made living my life difficult without the help of my family to help support me.

Simply put, I cannot just sit around and do nothing, I have a need to serve my community and try to help others out as much as I can.

To that end, I have tried to find suitable employment that makes use of my years of service to this great nation, as well as the skill-sets that I have developed, compounded with the trio of college degrees that I have obtained, all while trying to keep afoot of my disabilities and my limitations thereof.

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I have been unable, to this point, since moving to Minnesota years ago, to find employment that satisfies my need to help others.

Sadly, I have been rejected for more jobs than I wish to count, often with comments from the prospective employer that my disabilities and/or veteran status disqualify me for employment.

More often than not, I have found that my applications are not even looked at unless I omit my service in the U.S. Navy. I find this to be unacceptable, as I feel that honorable service in the U.S. military should be cherished, not scorned.

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So far, everywhere that I have reached out to, from the Beltrami County Veteran’s Office, to the Minnesota Department of Labor, to the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone nowhere.

The local veteran’s office will not return my calls, nor will the Department of Labor, and the VA says that I should simply stop looking for work and just count myself lucky that I have what I have for health left.

I find that unhelpful at best, and hurtful at worst. I am not asking for sympathy for my disabilities, nor a handout, either. I am simply looking for a fair chance to make myself useful to as many people as I can in the nation and state that I love and call home.

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