The “Hire a Hero” initiative, launched by Congressman Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), is meant to encourage and facilitate small businesses on Staten Island to hire local veterans, particularly those returning from active duty.
When Pleasant Plains resident Adam Krigel, 24, finished his tour in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army specialist last year, he looked forward to coming home and starting his life.
“When I got home, I started looking for a job and that’s when things got hard. That’s when real life kicked in,” said Krigel, who served from 2012 to 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
After more than six months of applying to countless jobs, he had just about given up hope. That’s when Krigel made one last effort; he called Congressman Michael Grimm’s office and asked for help.
It wasn’t long after that Krigel obtained a job working in the warehouse of MetroLube in Mariners Harbor.
“I started here at MetroLube 1 ½ months ago, and I love it,” he added, noting many employers are reluctant to hire veterans if they are in the U.S. Army Reserves because they fear losing the new hires if they are called to active duty.
MetroLube president Joseph Ioia, who hired Krigel, said he currently has six veterans on staff. Ioia noted he has made it a practice to hire vets.
“These guys (veterans) show up every day; they don’t ask for anything. We get them trained and ready, they never complain and they come to work with a smile. And they actually say, ‘Thank you,’ which is rare in the marketplace today,” said Ioia.
To broaden the effort, Grimm is calling on Staten Island businesses to give special and will connect them with veterans seeking a job.
The state is also involved in helping veterans get jobs after returning home from serving their country.
In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-New York) State of the State address, he pledged to support and expand economic opportunities for New York veterans and military families. The governor proposed steps to establish a five percent goal in the awarding of state contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
The Governor also plans to convene a “Veterans and Military Families Summit” this year to address the unique issues faced by these New Yorkers and determine how the state can better serve them.