Veteran Mission | Brooklyn, NY

U.S. Army veteran Aaron Cox served in combat operations in both Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Upon honorable completion of his military service, Aaron returned home to his wife and daughter in Harlem, NY. It was there that Aaron met the challenge all returning vets face: supporting a family.

Like so many before him, Aaron fell victim to the belief that the government would enforce laws to protect veteran jobs, by holding their civilian employment positions until they returned from war. But the convenience of time compromises with a forgetful society, that invents creative tactics to replace absent vets, without legal repercussion.

After months of endless job hunts, Aaron’s unemployment benefits were running low. That’s when a random VA employee handed him a VRL business card: “I don’t know if they can help you, but I know we can’t, so check out their site.” Out of answers, Aaron googled: Veterans Rebuilding Life. Within 24 hours, Aaron was contacted by a VRL representative who scheduled an appointment for him on the following day.

Veterans_Rebuilding_Life 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization VRLNYC.ORG
Vets in need of new skills select from state-approved trainings.
Vets in need of new skills select from state-approved trainings.

He met VRL mentor Sean Simpson. The two discussed their shared military experiences, and the issues they faced when returning home. Sean ended the meeting by registering Aaron for VRL’s professional training and employment program. Aaron showed up 30 minutes early for his first class, and enthusiastically completed the 10 hour training course in record-time, and received the  highest examination scores in the all-veteran class.

But before receiving his certificate of completion, Sean had already secured a full-time position for Aaron in the construction industry. After completing his first week of work, Aaron’s new employer contacted Sean to express gratitude for providing such a stellar employee.

Sean’s saw potential in Aaron and insisted he apply for higher education to expand his career options. Seen above from left is Aaron, holding his Certificate of Completion standing with VRL mentor: Sean Simpson, responsible for providing veterans with state-certified safety training, before entering the workforce.

Sean contacted VRL partner, The Elmsford Rotary Club for help. In less than a month, Aaron was invited to attend the Club’s Annual Dinner, where he was officially recognized and awarded the Rotary Scholarship for Veterans (the first of its kind) opening the door for future vets seeking higher learning.