“I have an open mind; I’m ready for anything.”

Joseph Boulware spoke words any employer would want to hear.

Recently returned from his Army deployment in Kuwait, Boulware, of Baltimore, attended the Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair in York in search of work.

He was joined by Brittany Dorm, Army, who had also recently returned from time in the Middle East.

“We just got back from a deployment, so we’re trying to transition back into civilian life here,” said Dorm, a native of York now living in Baltimore. “We’re just kind of ready to dive back in there.”

Hundreds of current military personnel of all ages, veterans, and their families attended York County’s Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair at the York Expo Center on April 20.

The day was a two-for-one event presented by OLP Events; admission was free to the public.

The Veterans’ Expo connected active and retired military members with the benefits and resources available to them through local businesses and organizations.

The Korean War Veteran Color Guard began the opening ceremony by displaying the colors, honoring each branch of the military individually. Amy Shaffer, singer from House of Vocals, performed the national anthem.

York County Commissioner Doug Hoke, whose father and grandfather were veterans, spoke of his gratitude toward those who have served the country.

“On behalf of all York County residents, I want to thank everyone for this day, for helping our York County veterans and for your support of the people of York County,” Hoke said.

Additionally, Catherine Courreges from Stitches of West Brandywine presented Thomas “Wally” Clarke, a World War II Army veteran, a Quilt of Valor. The quilt is a lifetime award bestowed upon deserving veterans and active service members for their service to the nation.

“This quilt is meant to comfort you and remind you daily that you’re forever in our hearts and in our thank-yous,” Correges said.

In 2009, Clarke published a book, George S. Patton’s Typical Soldier, a memoir of his time spent serving as a machine gun sergeant in the Third Army under Patton.

“It was a complete surprise,” Clarke, of York, said of the quilt presentation. “I had no idea. I’m still shook up because of it.”

At the Job Fair, transitioning and former military personnel met face-to-face with employers to discuss available positions.

Company representatives were looking to fill openings in sales, labor, management, tech, medical services, transportation, clerical, manufacturing, engineering, construction, retail, financial services, and more.

This was the second year at the event for state trooper Aaron Hunt. The recruitment coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Police, Hunt said the organization is in the process of aggressively hiring new employees.

“We’re always looking for folks—from veterans to folks from different backgrounds—to help join us and make us better as an agency,” Hunt said.

“I love coming here because there’s always good turnout, always good people to talk to, and you never know if you’ll find someone today or five years from now from this event.”

Veterans’ family members were also welcome at the event. Erin Fox, a York resident and graduate school student at Rutgers University, was at the Job Fair with her father, a 38-year Army veteran.

“I’m looking for a job in human services; my father’s actually a veteran and I’m his dependant,” Fox said. “I’ve found a few places [to apply] already.”

Also at the Job Fair, a Resource Center provided assistance with translating military careers to civilian opportunities.

There, Vincent D. Jones Jr. from York County CareerLink offered advice on resume writing; Justin Leader from Benefit Design Solutions conducted mock interviews; and Shannon R. Degiglio from the U.S. Small

Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Office provided guidance on small-business ownership for veterans, women, and the disabled.

Ashley Althouse, human resources administrator for Wagman, said the company has exhibited at Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair events in both York and the Capital Area.

“We definitely come out to support our veterans,” Althouse said. “We try to hire veterans if they’re best qualified for the job, [and] also we try to support our local community.”

Event sponsors included 50plus LIFE, BusinessWoman magazine, Church & Dwight/Arm & Hammer Products, Disabled American Veterans, ESPN 92.5/92.7, Fulton Financial Corporation, NEWSTALK 910 WSBA, Pennsylvania American Legion, Pennsylvania National Guard Outreach Office, Pennsylvania State Headquarters VFW, WHTM abc27, and the York County Economic Alliance.

The Veterans Expo & Job Fair will return to Berks County May 31 at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel in Wyomissing. The event will also return to the Capital Region Aug. 29 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in Camp Hill and to Lancaster County Nov. 2 at Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim.

For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.veteransexpo.com.

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