Grayson College’s gymnasium was filled with representatives from a number of Texoma businesses and industries on Thursday for Workforce Solutions Texoma’s second annual Hiring Red, White, & You! job fair for military veterans.

Grayson College’s gymnasium was filled with representatives from a number of Texoma businesses and industries on Thursday for Workforce Solutions Texoma’s second annual Hiring Red, White, & You! job fair for military veterans.


Dusty Payne, human resources manager at Fischer Controls, manned a large booth with information about career opportunities at the manufacturing company. Payne said the company seeks out veterans because "for one thing, they did a service to our country. In our experience, they make really good employees."


The job fair hosted more than 200 job seekers, said Workforce Solutions Texoma Director of External Communications Bob Rhoden.


"We were very pleased, and the employers were very pleased, with the turnout," Rhoden said. "There’s always a need for job fairs because it allows job seekers to be across the desk from HR people and hiring managers. It means a lot when you can look the hiring manager in the face; it means a whole lot more than just doing it on paper."


U.S. Navy veteran John Lonnevik, who retired "a long time ago" said the opportunity to meet employers face-to-face made it worthwhile for him to come out to the job fair. Lonnevik said it was his "first shot at an active job search" in months.


"I haven’t had time to look (for jobs) very hard. I’ve been concentrating on my schoolwork," Lonnevik said. "I haven’t worked much since last summer and now I have to have a job as soon as possible. I was getting funding for living expenses and things like that from VRAP (Veterans Retraining Assistance Program), but I’m out from under it now."


Lonnevik said he is currently studying at Grayson College to work in computer support technology. "The intent is to update my skills to be more marketable," he said.


Rhoden said veterans often have the skills employers are looking for.


"Employers know that veterans bring a certain level of dedication, skill and training," he said. "It says that they’ve got self-discipline and they’ve been exposed to newer technology. It means a lot. You see a lot of direct application of what people learned in the military to civilian employment."


Although several employers from the Dallas region set up booths at the fair, most businesses were Texoma residents looking for the same. "I’m hoping, hoping, hoping it will be local," Lonnevik said. "The house is paid for; the kids are gone. This is probably the best place to retire in the country, and I’d like to stay here."