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Seven Springfield employers were presented with the Flag of Freedom Award Wednesday morning at the Missouri Career Center in Springfield. These businesses took the extra step by reaching out to Missouri veterans who needed a job after returning home. KSMU’s Amber Carr attended the award ceremony.
Established by Governor Nixon, the Show-Me Heroes program is designed to connect veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Participating employers sign a pledge to show their support in an effort to reach out to local veterans.
Jon Barry, the director of the Show-Me Heroes program, says that while it’s a complicated effort, he is humbled to be a part of a program that makes connections with businesses all over the state.
“It never ceases to amaze me the amount of enthusiasm that veterans and service members have for whatever it is that they’re gonna do. But also, you know, even being in the military myself it’s amazing to see how the training education experience that I’ve had, as minimal as it may be, applies to almost every aspect of my life,” explained Barry.
Barry presented each employer with a plaque that displayed an American Flag patch that had been worn by a Missouri National Guardsman over the course of the last 10 years. The owner of the patch, their unit, and where they were stationed is presented on the back, making each award unique.
Among the employers awarded was FBN Metal Products. A veteran himself, company President Frank Norton understands what that experience is like and how veterans will impact his business.
“I already understand what training that they have so I know I have a certain expectation when they come on board. With what training that they have and how they’re going to handle certain situations so it gives me certain insight to that,” explained Norton.
According to Jon Barry, since the Show-Me Heroes program began in 2010, more than 3,200 businesses have taken the pledge to hire and support Missouri’s veterans. He adds that as a result, they’ve been able to assist 4,300 veterans and service members in finding employment.
For KSMU News, I’m Amber Carr.