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Nearly 240,000 veterans call Iowa home

Many veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are finding the move back into civilian life can present barriers, but there is help, and not just on Veterans Day.

One hurdle is finding employment, so local employers are being encouraged to hire former soldiers, according to retired Col. Robert King, executive director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs.

“They’re experienced. They’re dedicated. They come with leadership that’s been provided by the military. You just can’t ask for more,” he said.

King said that in Iowa, the gap in unemployment rates between veterans and the general population has now almost fully been closed. Nationally, the unemployment rate for the youngest vets, between ages 18 and 24, is still at about 20 percent.

Another issue for some returning soldiers is mental health, and King said there are various options for help for those dealing with anxiety, depression or PTSD.

“And I would just encourage service members who have returned and have issues to seek help,” he said. More information on vets in Iowa is at http://bit.ly/17hB5JF.

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