Here is a letter I received that praises US veterans after hiring a US veteran handyman.
It was the week before Christmas and we needed a handyman. Not just any handyman, No, a veteran handyman. See, we’re part of a nationwide group of independent veteran owned US Military Maintenance companies working together to fight veteran unemployment. We hire veterans and pay well. Anyway, this work order comes in the week before Christmas and we need to find a veteran handyman Pronto.
Every handyman we knew was busy. It was Christmas break and I think half of them were hanging Christmas lights. I must have called a dozen handymen but no luck. Finally, James, one of our regular handymen said, “Call my friend Ken, He’s always asking me about freelance work. “Thanks James!” I call Ken and he’s delighted to do the work. It’s a Christmas miracle. I tell him the address and he says, “I know exactly where that is, that’s around my training station.”
I arrive at the address about fifteen minutes early. It’s a beautiful condo building facing the harbor. My phone rings and it’s Ken. “Is that you in the white car? Yes, I answer, I’m in the lobby saw you drive up. I meet Ken and he’s got his handyman belt, ladder, boots and Capt. America t-shirt. A big jovial guy with a Cheshire cat grin. I find out he’s been a Seabee and a civil engineer for 25 years. “That’s where I learned how to fix things,” he said. Ken loved to talk. He had an infectious laugh and terrific sense of humor. He was one of those guys who always saw the sun shining.
However, his story was sad. He was turned down by the Marine Corps, and ended up a member of the 121st Naval Construction Battalion affectionately known as Seabees. They were fighting alongside Leatherneck infantrymen in Afghanistan. “We Build, We Fight” Ken said proudly. But this one day he did more fighting than building and was hit three times in a surprise attack by the Taliban. Ken was in the hospital for eight weeks then transferred to the Naval Training Center in Point Loma. About a mile from where we were now.
Ken suffers from PTSD and because of that it’s hard to keep a job and as such his wife divorced him. How the hell is this guy smiling? I thought. He talked about his little daughter who is the love of his life and his smile got bigger. I liked Ken. I liked Ken a lot. It was hard not to. He was a hero and deserved a better fate.
The repair was simple. Just replace some ballasts. It took about an hour and a half. It would have been shorter if Ken could stop talking but I didn’t care. I paid Ken $100. He said that’s way to much. I told him how much I appreciated him and after all It’s Christmas. For the first time today, Ken went silent. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I was laid off last week and I didn’t have money for Christmas presents for my daughter, now I do. Thanks.” “You are sincerely very welcome Ken” I said, and he gave me a big hug. I walked back to my car with tears in my eyes wearing a grin that rivaled Ken’s. It was my best Christmas present ever.