Joyce welcomes Shawn Harris, U.S. Army veteran and employment specialist with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to the show.
November 11, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Joyce welcomes Shawn Harris, U.S. Army veteran and  employment specialist with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)  to the show.  The WWP is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. It operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.  Mr. Harris will discuss applying 10+ years of recruiting and recruiter management experience to provide resume writing, interview preparation, and career coaching services to Warriors and family service members through Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work Program.

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FINISHED FILE

BENDER CONSULTING SERVICES

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

“DISABILITY MATTERS”

1:00 PM CT

 

 

 

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     >> MODERATOR: Welcome to "Disability Matters" with your host Joyce Bender. All comments, viewed and opinions expressed on the show are of the host, guest and callers. Here is Joyce Bender.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show. For those of you in the United States and around the world. Speaking of around the world, I cannot thank you enough for all of those who are listening to this show for example, China has a large listening audience. But so do so many other countries. Thank you and know this, you are changing lives of people with disabilities. I don't care if it's just one person listening in a country, you can spread the news. And a special shout-out to my good friend Yoshiko Dart. Yoshiko, the wife of the late great Justin Dart and this year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, who more can we think of than Justin and Yoshiko? We all love you, Yoshiko. We love you. And to my friends from the state department starting with Richard Roberts, Richard, I love you so much. Richard is in Okinawa, Japan. He is with the state department. I first met him when I was in South Korea. So when an embassy somewhere in the world is looking for an expert on the employment of people with disabilities, they frequently ask me to visit. So when I went to South Korea, I worked with him and my other wonderful friend and they were the embassy representatives. I loved him and I cried when I left. Then he went to Okinawa and I got to see him all over again. I love you both and how about my new friend Cheryl in Tunisia with the state department? We're really rocking it around the world. We are. Thank you, Highmark, Wells Fargo, People's and the employment  options and sponsoring our show. Great companies that care about people with disabilities. As you all know, this is Veterans month. The month that we celebrate our great heroes, Veterans. But we are going to focus on talking about one group that I love so much Veterans with disabilities. I always say people have heard me say this in all the times I've been a presenter at different conferences, I always say and about hiring Veterans with disabilities. If they come back to this country and they cannot find employment, if they are homeless, here is what I have to say to you, shame on you. I say that because they go and fight for our freedom. They don't even know you. They don't know any of us and they fight for our freedom. Why would we not support them? And that is why it is my honor and privilege to have a specialist who works with the Wounded Warrior Project, Mr. Shawn Harris with us today as my guest. Shawn, welcome to the show.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Thank you, Joyce. I'm real excited to be here today. The opportunity to come and talk about the Wounded Warrior Project, something I'm always excited to you. Thank you again for inviting me.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: It is our pleasure. How about if we start by you telling our listeners around the world what made you decide to join the force? What made you decide to join the military, to protect our freedom?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Sure. I think it was probably mostly influenced by my father, really. My dad had served in the military, the Army actually, the artillery unit back in the Vietnam era. Growing up, you know, he always just made it very clear to me that military service was an honorable thing to do. It was an honorable thing to do, he said, for your country and for your family. And he said it is an honorable thing to do for yourself, son. It is not what you get out of that service but what you become. He always told me that, you know, he always respected himself for serving his country and that others, you know, down the road when you are looking for a job and your military service is over, that's something that will always be respected. So I kind of took that lead and then one day we had a couple of Army recruiters that came into our local high school and I was able to sit down with them and just kind of get some additional information about the different opportunities available through the armed forces and being a farm kid from Illinois, I hadn't even been in an airplane by that time in my life. The chance to travel, to have even a possibility of a career with the military. At the time they were offering some great programs, an Army college fund and assistance through a G.I. bill to help pay for college, you know, after your service and I think just the opportunity to be something -- be part of something that was just bigger than myself and to be able to serve others, that's kind of how it all started. I came home with that information, talked to my dad, my dad talked to my mom and ended up getting signed up for the program and headed off to serve. I served four years regular Army with the first infantry division, the big red one. Spent two years stateside and two years overseas. After my regular service I came back and did five years in reserves and then continued my education utilized my G.I. bill and college fund to start my civilian career.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Wow, what did you do then in your civilian career?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Civilian career I started out when I came back I had my first degree it was in criminal justice. And then I got involved in actually sales and shortly after that into recruiting and I did about 10 years full cycle recruiting for, you know, organizations serving the off highway mobile equipment industry. Organizations like John Deere and Caterpillar, working with them to help them staff their engineering departments, supply chain management, that sort of thing. Shortly after that --

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Go ahead.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: And then shortly after that -- after that I spent some time just I guess kind of involved on a volunteer basis working with various different types of charities and then had an opportunity actually to go back to Germany, where I had served, and work with another Veterans organization called SAFA serve as a volunteer support manager there. Just kind of helping and supporting a volunteer network that supported serving soldiers and families while they were serving in overseas posts. Veterans who had maybe left the military and stayed overseas and just providing practical support and financial support to those Veterans and those families to make sure that they had the stable lifestyle that they needed.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: What a wonderful opportunity. Wow, that is wonderful how you served our country and worked in so many areas. But now you are with the Wounded Warrior Project as a work specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project. Can you explain to everyone -- I would be shocked if you haven't heard of wounded warriors but I'm sure there are some that have not. Would you mind telling everyone what is the Wounded Warrior Project?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: The Wounded Warrior Project is something I've been with the Wounded Warrior Project now actually coming up on my two-year anniversary. And the Wounded Warrior Project is just a fantastic military charity that I am so proud to be part of, Joyce, to be honest with you. It is just amazing what I get to see and be a part of in supporting Veterans with disabilities and their families every day. Basically the Wounded Warrior Project is -- has a focus of delivering support and empowering post 9/11 Veterans, those who served post 9/11 who sustained some level of injury or illness during their military service that resulted in some level of disability rating through the VA. We not only help, of course, the warriors, but we also every warrior that is part of the Wounded Warrior Project member, we offer that support for up to three of their family support members within their home so it might be their wife, or husband, or it might be a child over the age of 18. They can get the same help and services, access to the same kind of programs as the warrior does. It really started out really kind of small as a grassroots effort. A lot of these post 9/11 conflicts our Veterans and warriors, serving soldiers were being pulled off the battlefield due to injury and medevaced into these military hospitals. They don't get to stop and pack their stuff to bring it off the battlefield. They are arriving in these hospitals and trying to recuperate with really nothing more than, you know, maybe the hospital gowns that they have on their back really at that point realistically. There was a small group of people that just, you know, wanted to show support, you know, for those who served, serve our  country as you said protect our freedoms and decided to put together 50 backpacks. They had things in them like toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, a couple pairs of socks, T-shirt. Pants, deck of playing cards, something to let them know that they were appreciated and thought of and gave them something to have in their possession again and start being able to look towards what normalcy might look like. These 50 backpacks then turned into requests coming in for more backpacks, hundreds of backpacks. Now the Wounded Warrior Project has distributed thousands of these backpacks to Veterans transitioning out of the military. It is just a fantastic program. From that small, basic startup it has grown now to what it is, this focus on empowering and honoring these disabled Veterans, or Veterans with disabilities that are leaving the military as wounded warriors and trying to help them build stability in all kinds of different areas of their life such as mental health and wellness, physical health and wellness, financial health and wellness. We have an independence program that helps support these Veterans living with disabilities maintain their independence in their living situations. We have a program for benefits to help to make sure that Veterans with disabilities are getting the right compensation through their VA benefits and that sort of thing. We have individuals within the organization that their sole job is to advocate for Veterans with disabilities in D.C. and to promote the good works that we can do. We have a -- we have multiple resource centers throughout the country that are set up. These are accessible to Veterans of all eras, not just post 9/11 Veterans, but a resource center set up to help guide and put Veterans to the resources, Veterans with disabilities and without, to make sure that they have everything that they need to be successful. Just a fantastic program. We also work with other Veteran support agencies, you know, to just provide as much support and empowerment as we can to those within the project.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: I got to tell you, such a great project and Shawn, you have such a wonderful enthusiasm and passion. But you know what? That's what makes the difference. That is what makes the difference. So thank you. So what do you do for Wounded Warrior Project?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: My primary roll, I serve as a Warriors to Work program. It falls under the financial health and wellness umbrella. Primarily I'm working on a daily basis with warriors and family support members just to help them realize their employment and long-term career goals. This can include things like identifying a career path, helping them build a strategy to approach those goals, help them build those tools that are really going to empower them overall in their search for employment.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, thank you for partnering with us. As you all know, listening to the show, Bender, although we have a great software product, I-disability and provide digital accessibility testing, we -- the heart and soul of Bender will always be employment, always. In field of engineering to human resources. If you are listening to this, I just want to urge you to hire Veterans with disabilities because you know as I said, when you come back after providing this great service, you supported us, we should support you. So I just think that is so important. And you mentioned a couple of things. But what do you think -- what would you rank as some of the key reasons that you believe Wounded Warrior Project is making a difference?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Oh gosh, yeah, Wounded Warrior Project, as you can tell in my excitement. I think they make such a positive impact in the lives of our wounded warriors in so many different ways. I think one, just early on decision to kind of have that focus or that post 9/11 demographic. I think it allows the organization to really provide a more targeted kind of service and identify the most meaningful ways to support this particular era of Veterans and to help them in their transition from that military service into civilian life. I also think that because Wounded Warrior Project, this isn't -- it's not like a hand-out type situation. It is about empowerment. The whole project, whatever program that we are talking about, it is focused on that empowerment and that empowerment through those key components of a warrior's life whether it be physical, mental, financial, that are going to give them that firm, you know, foundation and stability, you know, to be able to, you know, make that transition more smoothly. I also think that, you know, it's able to make such a positive impact because of the people that are in our organization. All the people, the employees of WWP. I'm not trying to brag but I witness this every day, the passion that the individuals have within this organization, you know, and how they are dedicated to that mission of honoring and empowering warrior families. It is just amazing. We've got great leadership, you know. Trying to help us keep us on that right direction and that right path and that interaction every day, you know, to make a positive impact. The opportunity is there every single day I come to work, so fantastic. I leave at the end of the day and I just feel like gosh, I've accomplished so much. And I feel good that I've been a support and empowered somebody in their journey from -- through that transition from that military service to their civilian lifestyle.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: I do have a question. I don't think people realize this but I assume that your service, when you were talking about transition, that would be difficult, you know, to leave combat, come back here and immediately start working. I mean, in the business environment. Is that true or is it different for everyone?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Oh gosh, I think it's very true. You know, many of the warriors that I talk to every day, Joyce, they've never held a civilian career. If you look at -- had I stayed in the military as a full career, you know, I left right out of high school and joined the military and then worked my way through my service there, as do many of the Veterans that we work with. So, you know, a lot of them that's all they know is that military service. So when we think about obstacles for Veterans, you know, disabilities, you know, seeking employment or any of that, leaving the military and transitioning into that civilian marketplace, I think it can be very daunting and kind of a scary, scary thing. And, you know, I think just having an organization or multiple organizations -- it is not just Wounded Warrior Project. Many other great Veteran support organizations and agencies that are there to help for that transition, but it's just having that stuff available that I think makes a big difference to help make that transition smooth.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yes, I just think that is going from a regimented environment to now civilian work where it can be totally different. I think that's so wonderful you do that. I really think that is important and I'm glad that you do that. So other than what I just stated, what would you say is the most difficult obstacle, Shawn, for Veterans with disabilities seeking employment?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: You know, I think it's in that transition, Joyce. I don't even know if it's just Veterans with disabilities, but, you know, Veterans in general as they are leaving that military service, when they are making that transition, it is trying to figure out, you know, what direction to go. Just knowing where to start, you know, trying to understand and figure out how their military skills and training and experience translates into the civilian marketplace. I think that can be really confusing. A lot of -- if you're in the military you are talking a lot of times in acronyms and a lot of different things and you come out of a military and you are in an interview and say well I was 11 bravo and to you that means something, you know, as a service member. But, you know, to the person on the other end of the line or the other side of the desk they think we're really good at the phonetic alphabet. I think it's really just helping, you know, looking at how to translate that experience and those skills into, you know, into speak that can be understood by hiring authorities and then adapting those skills and experiences to the type of interests that they have in the marketplace.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah, and then in addition to that, I mean, you know, people with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate of any group in America. So, you know, it's Veterans with disabilities. Now you have the transition you were just talking about and you are a person with a disability. So you are also facing what all people, you know, with disabilities face in addition to being a Veteran. So I could see how that could be like an additional layer of an obstacle to overcome.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Absolutely. Leaving that service especially, you know, coming from a battlefield-type situation, making that transition, you know, there is work that may need to be done physically just to make themselves ready for work. There may be work that needs to be done to overcome invisible injuries, you know, so they can have the right mindset to sustain employment in the marketplace. And that's why, I think we develop these other programs to try to, you know, again, build that solid foundation to make that transition and also supporting the caregivers to the warriors. They are going through everything with the warriors. And helping them overcome, you know, and live with, you know, these disabilities that were brought on through the military service.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Yes. I'm glad you mentioned the non-apparent disabilities. For example, post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. And again, this is with people with disabilities not just Veterans with disabilities. But when someone says they want to hire a Veteran with a disability, a lot of times they seem much more comfortable if the person had an amputation or they are in a wheelchair or they are deaf or have lost their vision, you know, in combat. But when it is post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury it seems so much different. And yet those are the two biggest injuries from the war.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Absolutely, absolutely. And I would have to agree with you. I think there is a bit of a stigma there, you know, to overcome and I know the Wounded Warrior Project, they've spent a lot of time and effort, you know, educating and trying to educate employers, you know, about PTSD and what PTSD looks like. What it might look like in the marketplace. You know, there are a lot of different traumas, you know, is what causes. Trauma is what causes PTSD and it's something that's so new. We didn't have this -- didn't have a label for this in the earlier eras of Veterans that were leaving the military. So just education, trying to overcome, you know, answer the questions and overcome the stigma is something we really focused on trying to do and helping employers understand what reasonable accommodation looks like, you know, in that kind of situation, you know? I think certainly it makes things a little bit easier.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: That is right. I agree 100%. Well, it's on the half hour. It's our news break. Advocacy matters with our great anchor Peri Jude Radecic. Are you with us?

     >> I am. Good afternoon, Joyce.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Good afternoon to you also. What do you have for us today?

     >> Well, today the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, was argued in front of the United States Supreme Court. The lawsuit is really an attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The real question in front of the court today is whether the individual mandate to purchase minimum essential coverage is severable from the rest of the Affordable Care Act. So we're going to talk about that. Congress had kept the individual mandate. That meant we all had to have health insurance coverage. But they eliminated the penalty. If you remember, we had to have health insurance and if we didn't, we were going to suffer a penalty and that penalty came when we all filled out our tax returns. So the law as it stands now says we are supposed to still have health insurance, however, the IRS doesn't impose the tax penalty for individuals who don't comply with the law. So that's the status of the individual mandate. The State of Texas came along and the State of Texas claimed that once the individual mandate was removed, the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. So how could that be? It's called severability or in this case inseverability. Texas claimed that you can't separate out one part of the law, in this case the individual mandate, without the entire law becoming unconstitutional. Others, like many disability organizations, argued that there is a clause called severability in the law so that if one provision was removed, the entire rest of the law still stands. Now, on our website at disability rights PA.org we have a link to what's called an amicus brief where at least 18 disability rights organizations filed the amicus brief. In that case where we argued that if the individual mandate provision was no longer the law, the entire rest of the Affordable Care Act still stands. So again though go to disability rights PA.org, click on this show today advocacy matters and you'll find the amicus brief of 18 disability rights organization making that argument to the Supreme Court.

So prior to the Affordable Care Act, remember, private insurance was often not a real option for disabled people. We had annual limits on our benefits. We had lifetime caps on our benefits. There were bans on waiting periods for coverage if we had pre-existing conditions, which we did. And we often had outright refusals to cover things like mental healthcare, durable medical equipment and more. So disabled people, young people under the age of 26 now have unprecedented access to health and mental healthcare as a result of the Affordable Care Act. This lawsuit really challenges all of that all because of the individual mandate. So advocacy matters, this is one of the most important legal cases on the Affordable Care Act. And it has made its way all the way to the Supreme Court and so much is at stake. We don't know how long it will take for the court to rule on this case. Sometimes the court waits all the way until the end of their term when they issue their most controversial decisions, which is June. June of 2021. So all we can do is wait for the next Congress to get sworn in and watch to see if any legislation will anticipates an unfavorable decision from the Supreme Court. So that's what's happening today, Joyce.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: So we have no idea, then, how can I say this, the temperature so to speak of how this is going with the different judges? Do we have any idea how we feel this will go?

     >> Well, Joyce, some court watchers thought that maybe the Supreme Court was favorable to the Affordable Care Act and the severability of the individual mandate. But we won't know until decisions are made.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Okay. And what happens without pre-existing conditions covered?

     >> Well, that means all of us who have pre-existing conditions, if we switch insurance, might either have an outright ban or we'll have to wait for a period of time before our insurance kicks in.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Right. And, you know, I have epilepsy and we know so many people have pre-existing conditions. So why I wanted you to state that is I just want everyone to realize how serious this is and how it would impact directly the disability community. So please go disability rights PA.org and look -- go to advocacy matters and look at it and get involved. Is there anything else we can do, Peri? Anything our listeners can do?

     >> Really not right now. You can read the brief from the disability rights organizations. I also have a link to the Supreme Court where you can find the briefs that have been filed in this case. I even believe C span had the oral arguments on today. So if you wanted to hear how it went for over an hour today you can go to C-span and they had a link to the oral arguments today.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Thank you and keep us up to date. Great job, thanks, Peri.

     >> Sure, take care, bye-bye.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: All right. Well, boy, this would impact Veterans with disabilities, how about that? So we've talked about so many things and you know where my heart and soul is, and that is employment. What is Wounded Warrior Project doing in reference to employment, Shawn?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: The Warriors to Work team is to connect wore wars to employment opportunities. Our specialists, 37 across the country covering various territories, are helping to match up skills and interests of the warriors to the jobs they are the most qualified for. And then provide that career transition guidance that we talked about. And services to warriors to help them prepare for gainful and sustained employment and meaningful careers. You know, we do that by offering support in resume writing. We have professional resume writers that we bring in to help develop resumes whether we look at a civilian or federal resume for our disabled Veterans. We do interview coaching on a daily basis. We work on building their personal brand and their presence on networking sites, professional networking sites like LinkedIn. We also spend time calling and advocating for them once they have applied, you know, with the hiring companies. We do that to try to raise awareness to their application and to also get feedback, you know, to share with those warriors so they know one, that their application has been received and if they're in consideration, and we also try to get that same kind of feedback, you know, after an interview process. Then we do everything that we can to try to connect them with opportunities. You know, we do virtual hiring events, networking coffee mornings. We have developed our own Wounded Warrior Project job board that was developed for us a little over a year ago by monster.com. Our leadership team is constantly out there trying to build relationships with those warrior-friendly hiring companies just trying to open up inroads for our Veterans living with disabilities in their pursuit of employment. And then, you know, preparing them for that engagement, you know. Some of the things I mentioned earlier, the programs such as the mental health, the physical health. Making sure they have that crucial stability needed to move forward on their job search. And then another thing I think that we do that is very important is that it's not just here, you are hired, good luck, see you, glad you were part of the program. It is follow through and follow-up. Every employee that we work together to help them, you know, secure a position in the marketplace we put them on a 30, 180, 360 follow-up plan. We call, check in, making sure they have the things that they need to be successful and to, you know, sustain that employment. And that's a service to our warriors but it is also a service to the companies and organizations that are investing in our warriors, helping them train and retain and I think it's -- there is so much going on, you know, in the support of this.

We've even got one of our programs that falls under the financial wellness program as emergency financial assistance. And we have had emergency financial assistance help Veterans when the opportunity isn't in their backyard. Maybe you live in Pittsburgh but they are looking at a position in Cincinnati. We've even been able to provide support, you know, through that program to help them make that transition and cover some of those moving costs and get them to where they need to be so they can be successful.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: So if a company wants to hire Veterans from you, what should they do?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Just contact the Wounded Warrior Project Warriors to Work program. Most of our specialists, as I said, we're all working regionally. My region I cover Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and probably half a dozen warriors and support members that I'm working with that are in Germany getting ready to make that transition out of the military and going to be looking for opportunities back in the states, or want to remain in Germany and keep working. So, you know, it is contacting your local WWP office and finding out who the Warriors to Work specialist is and connect with them and they will get you going in the right direction. They can also call our resource center to get connected with those individuals and I could give you that number if that would be good to have. It's 888-997-2586, and if you want to connect with Wounded Warrior Project for any of our programs, that's a direct connection for you. The individual who will answer the phone will make sure you get put in the right direction there. So that's definitely how I would go about that.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Okay. Now every organization needs support no matter who they are.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Yes.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Or how can they work and do the services they are trying to do? Is it possible for our listeners to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Absolutely, absolutely, yeah. There are different avenues to be able to support the Wounded Warrior Project and the efforts that we are putting forth to try to support this post 9/11 era Veterans. Their transition. Sometimes we'll have one of our programs that does a lot of work in the communities trying to build those relationships, those warrior communities and do outreach, you know, to let our demographics know that there is opportunity, you know, to come to a project and get help in so many areas. Through that program a lot of times there is gift in kind for services for products that might support. That's one way. Being donors to the Wounded Warrior Project donating directly is something that's also possible. Actually there is an initiative going on for Veterans day it is my understanding that the group, the blue angels foundation, is going to match dollar for dollar any donation that is made on Veterans day for anybody that wants to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. There is a fantastic opportunity there and you can access that through WWW.Wounded Warrior Project.org/give-back. You can also be connected to that department through the resource number that I gave earlier.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Okay. I would encourage everyone to do that. Give us that website again or the way to contribute, donate?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Sure. It's WWW.Wounded Warrior Project.org/give-back.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: What a great thing. You know, if you are thinking wow, look what is coming up, Thanksgiving. Isn't this a great time to give back? Who better to give back to than our military. Hey, I want to mention something just for a minute off topic. When I was saying Veterans Day is coming I mean Thanksgiving is coming up. Please be careful. If you watch on the news, Fauci and different people are advising you to have a very small intimate gathering this year. Stay home. No big family dinners because, you know what, sadly we're up to 100,000 cases a day. Oh my goodness. So you know what? Here is a tip for you. That's what I wanted to tell you, I have a tip. Zoom. Get on Zoom. Get on Zoom. Believe me, it is hard for me because not only am I family oriented, I'm Italian. You know I like to cook. But you know, this, too, will pass. It will pass. Someday we'll be in history books, no doubt about that. You know, just like in 1918 with the Spanish flu. But we're tough, we're American, and this, too, will pass. Shawn, for any Veterans listing to this show, you know, Veterans with disabilities that are seeking employment but everywhere they go they are facing many obstacles and they are listening to the show right now. What advice do you have for them?

     >> Sure. I would say take advantage of the resources available. There are so many resources available with just a little bit of research or just calling that 888-997-2586 phone number for the resource center and they can get you connected with those Veterans resources. But there is so much out there to take advantage of. You know, there are resources through the VA like vocational rehab. There are placement agencies that specialize in job placements for individuals living with a disability. Bender Consulting I love also and share about the connections that you guys help to also empower individuals living with disabilities and their search for employment. Reach out to Veteran support organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project. Hire our heroes. All those different kinds ever places. There is a large number, even locally here in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh hires Veterans. There is so much out there to help and support them in their pursuit for employment. I want to also say that I would encourage them to start preparation right away. Be ready to seize the opportunity when it arises. One of my favorite quotes is from a gentleman by the name of Zig Zigler. If you are a warrior or family support member ever been on my caseload or worked with me through the Warriors to Work program you've probably heard me say this many, many times but Zig say success is when opportunity meets preparation. I believe that so much. I think that, you know, if you are thinking about employment and thinking about getting a new start on a career start researching the companies you're interested in today. Start practicing your interviewing skills, you know, today. Start networking with those other professionals in your desired industry today. Work on your elevator pitch. You just never know when that opportunity is going to come up and you will have that 30 to 90 seconds to be able to talk about hey, you know, what can I do to open up this opportunity and introduce yourself to an opportunity? I think that's the best advice that I could give.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: You were mentioning Pittsburgh hires Veterans. Is that an organization that people listening to the show can also go to?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Yes, yeah. Pittsburgh hires Veterans, for those in the Pittsburgh area. We work very closely with them through the Warriors to Work program. In fact, they were on my coffee morning this past Monday and shared some great opportunities with our warriors. And what we try to do is try to work with those like organizations to maximize the horsepower to support our Veterans with disability and their job pursuits. But definitely Pittsburgh hires Veterans. If you just Google them for the greater Pittsburgh area, I think you will find a great organization that is passionate about serving its area Veterans. They work with Veterans from all eras, not just post 9/11.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Give us that quote again, Shawn. Give us that quote.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Success is when opportunity meets preparation.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: That's so good. That is so great. So true. So true. Okay. I got my last question here. You have so much enthusiasm and so much passion, so I have to ask you who is your role model?

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: You know, I've got to say that my parents always, always supported me in any decision that I have ever made that they thought was a good decision for me, anyway. And my wife is a wonderful support. I know she is listening to us in England today, actually. She is at work in England listening to us today. I have to tell her I love her as well. I would say that my role model, I would have to -- sorry, mom, but I would have to say my dad. Growing up, you know, sons and dads do, they can have their disagreements. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on every single topic but I always respected my dad and I just love him dearly and my whole life to this day, thank god he is still with me, you know, I can be watching my dad and just find myself in awe just of his kind heart and willingness to help others, whether it's helping ladies down the street plant a new tree in their front yard or fix somebody's sink that is broken, or you know, he will collect aluminum cans and give it to the little guy down the street that's collecting aluminum cans and encourage him in his pursuit. And it is just -- you know, I think that -- honestly I guess I just have to say I'm sure that part of the reason I choose to do what I do certainly stems from the example that he has set for me and my siblings, you know, the rest of my siblings during my whole life.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: Well, you are a great man and that is a great compliment. By the way, my dad is 95 and he is a World War II Veteran from the Navy. That's one of the reasons.

     >> SHAWN HARRIS: Thank you for his service.

     >> JOYCE BENDER: That's one of the reasons this is all so important to me. Well, thank you so much, Shawn, and anyone listening to this broadcast. No matter where you are, make sure you share it with someone else. We end every show with a quote and today that quote is in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it said President Barack Obama. This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where "Disability Matters" at Voice America.com. Talk to you next week with my guest Mick Malik, Senior Vice President, now president -- was Senior Vice President now president at Highmark and a great, great person.  Don't miss that show. Talk to you next week.