One man’s mission is to help Houston-area veterans find work

One man’s mission is to help Houston-area veterans find work

John McDermott, a tall, lightly-grayed man, opens a thin black binder exposing business cards, brochures and folders, and an American flag stitched onto an interior pocket. Once accustomed to dealing with coding and decoding communications equipment as a paratrooper, McDermott is now navigating a new mission; trying to help curb veteran unemployment. Lone Star Military Maintenance is a veteran-owned, staffed and operated organization that provides janitorial and other maintenance services to businesses in the Houston metropolitan area, hiring all service veterans, disabled vets, vets’ spouses and military retirees exclusively. Once matched, they’ll do anything from cleaning single office spaces to entire business parks, also working open houses, foreclosures, move-ins and move-outs. McDermott spent 15 years in the army before exiting the service in 1999, working as an operations manager and business development leader at power management company, Eaton Corp. He’s launched veteran assistance fund raising programs and is affiliated with veteran organizations like the Houston Veteran Association and a local VFW. What further complicates the experience is the lack of a social network that may not be available upon return with high school friends having moved on, while those on professional tracks have gone to pursue their own respective careers. “In 2014, veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, while veterans constituted 8.5% of the US population,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. McDermott said someone may need the job as part time work while they utilize the GI Bill to go back to school to reduce the education curve that they may experience being out of the competitive job market for 14 to 26 months. Newman is McDermott’s ideal partner, someone with more than connections and opportunities, but a former veteran himself, who McDermott said he can trust to have vets’ best interest at heart as they settle into their new lifestyle. There are these stereotypes about veterans always ready to snap; we want to shift this perception of them, McDermott said, but even then, when does cleaning happen? With his profit margin limited by the organization’s bylaws, his solution is to create a for-profit branch to help equip and sustain the nonprofit’s endeavors.

Source: www.chron.com/neighborhood/tomball/news/article/One-man-s-mission-is-to-help-Houston-area-10862344.php