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Veteran's Career Fair held at Billings Metra

Posted at 4:25 PM, Oct 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-08 18:25:23-04

Close to 90 businesses were on display and accessible at the Montana Pavilion Saturday morning, as hundreds of veterans walked up and down the aisles.

It's an event organizer Mike McManus is describing as the "first annual," and the hope is that it continues to grow and expand.

“We’re calling it the first annual, which you know can be kind of a bold statement, you never know. But yes, we definitely want to turn this into an annual kind of thing," McManus said.

McManus is the Veteran's Navigation Network Coordinator. He's also a former veteran himself, serving 20 years in the Air Force. He knows just how hard it can be to return to the real world.

“You’re leaving something that was much bigger than yourself and had a lot of purpose to it. We want to make sure it’s open, so we benefit as many people as possible," McManus said.

The event is organized by veterans, and McManus said the bond military members share is very powerful.

"So, kind of coming back amongst their brothers and sisters in arms, if you will. It's definitely a community," McManus said.

At 18-years-old, Colten Hogg was one of the visitors on Saturday. Hogg is a member of the National Guard and while he's still got an eight-year stint before he's relieved from his duties, he was hoping to help ease his transition back into the real world.

"I’m still trying to adjust to getting back to civilian life. It’s definitely whirlwind of affect trying to get back into the normal swing of things,” Hogg said.

While it hasn't been easy, Hogg said the event on Saturday was a step in the right direction.

“I’ll see something, and it’ll start making me teary eyed because I’ll go back to 'hey, I’ve been there I’ve done this,'" Hogg said. "I’ve run into a couple veterans already and talked a little bit, and it’s definitely helpful."

For McManus, it's people like Hogg that the event is made for.

“At some point in time, you find yourself no longer in the service. Depending on how long you’ve been in, depending upon what you did while you were in the service, transitioning can be difficult,” McManus said.