They fought for their country, but now they can't find a job. We've told you about soldiers come back from the battlefield by the thousands, only to stand in unemployment lines. But there are success stories, like Kevin Anton of Aurora, who reinvented himself, while raising a few eyebrows among his army pals.
He was working in just about the most macho profession you can think of. Donning body armor and a gun, patrolling the desert in a hummer, fighting for a living. So you can imagine the jokes Anton's army buddies must have told, when they found out he's now a male nurse.
“Never really thought that my life was going to be a male nurse in a predominantly female career,” Anton told FOX31 Denver.
It's true, even with the passage of time and stereotypes, nursing is a field dominated by women. In 2012, a whopping 94 percent of all nurses are still female. But Kevin says, it's the right fit for him.
“You have a lot of power to help someone else, to make a difference,” Anton said.
Like thousands of soldiers coming home from war, Anton didn't know what to do when he left the Army in 2009. He needed a game plan. Hearing about the glut of jobs in the medical field, his brother - a marine veteran - became an x-ray technician. So that got Kevin to thinking about, of all things, nursing.
“Listen to other people's story, don't think it's too cheesy. Don't just shrug off people's advice. People do care,” Anton said.
Almost immediately, things started looking up for this retired Army sergeant. He went to nursing school, where he met his now fiancé. They had a baby. Now along with their growing family, he has a great job at a rehabilitation clinic.
Anton says he hopes to one day become a flight nurse. He couldn't be more excited about his new profession. And he says, even his old macho military buds, are now considering giving nursing a try.
There is an active push to get out-of-work veterans jobs in the medical field. The Obama administration launched an effort a few months back to get local community health care centers to hire 8,000 veterans over the next several years.
To learn more about that initiative, click here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/10/25/american-jobs-act-numbers-11