Adjusting Back to Civilian Life

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There are literally thousands of veterans who have come back home to our area after the War on Terror. For many of them, adjusting back into civilian life and finding a job have been difficult.

And if they are injured, making the transition is even more difficult.

Eric Graves of Newton says he pressed forward to make a future for himself and his family.

"It was not so much that I didn't have things planned when I got back, but the problem is while I was away I hurt my leg," said Graves. "And I guess training kicked in. I didn't even bother acknowledging it, thought it would be O.K. Thought it would get better; it just progressively got worse."

After the surgery and little recovery time, Graves says he planned to be a security contractor. But he couldn't pass a required physical fitness test. Other employment options failed as well. He then decided to get into sales.

"I didn't have a lot of sales experience," Graves said. "I'd been a recruiter for a couple of years while I was in the Army Guard; that was pretty much it. I talked to two more managers, and after I talked with the second manager at the end of that interview, decided they really like me, and they would go ahead and hire me."

Graves says his managers helped him open his own new Alfa Insurance agency in Newton. He says he feels fortunate to have found a job, but he knows there are many like him who are still looking for work.

"I would like to say, I thank God that I got this job," said Graves. "And I'm in the position I'm in, I think He's got a plan. And we don't always know what that is, but everything does work out."

Graves says he is now in a position to help people and give back to not only his country, but his community as well.