By Shawn Chitnis
LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4) – Local businesses are coming together to help veterans get a fresh start outside of military life and make the transition as civilians easier with the clothing and preparation needed to find a job.
“A lot of the people that we speak with, they’ve never owned a business suit,” said Malcolm Johnson, the director of public relations and community involvement for Public Service Credit Union. “The only thing that they’re used to wearing is a military uniform.”
This is the second year the credit union has hosted “Suits for Soldiers” by asking employees and their members to donate suits, shirts, ties, shoes, purses, and other accessories. Staff and volunteers also provided help with writing a resume and coaching for interviews. Some employers were also there to meet with candidates on site.
“The response was so overwhelming last year that we had to do it again this year,” said Johnson. “If you’re going to be in Corporate America, you have to dress the part.”
“To get a jacket, something warm, or even a dress jacket, or a suit, as it is, it’s very difficult,” said Oliver Patrick, a veteran that visited the event on Thursday. “I live off of social security, and that’s limited.”
Patrick served in the army for four years back in the 1970s and has lived in Colorado for decades. He says it is often hard for veterans like him to get around town and reach the assistance they need. Thanks to a poster at the VA, he knew to come to this event. He shopped around for suits and shirts, also picked up some ties and shoes. Days before Easter, Patrick was glad to have an appropriate outfit for service on Sunday.
“You go to church with a suit and tie, and I wasn’t able to afford that,” he said.
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Arc Thrift Stores, Farmers Insurance Denver, and No Barriers USA are part of the effort.
Veterans can come by from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Thursday or Friday. Public Service Credit Union is located at 10000 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree. Organizers are planning more events later this year because of the large amount of clothing donated for this week.
“These events are helpful,” said Patrick.