The Fine Line, Part 1, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

English: A German Shepherd dog Polski: Owczare...

English: A German Shepherd dog Polski: Owczarek niemiecki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a nine-page essay written by one of my friends from college. I’m going to break it up over several posts. Her essay is about the problem of men and women serving in the armed forces and coming home to find that there are no jobs for them.

“Inside the Churchville Veterinary Hospital, veterinarian Rick Parsons is busy performing cancer surgery on a 5 year old German shepherd.

It’s a bitter winter afternoon, and Parsons’ friend and accountant, Dave Young, has stopped by to go over some financial records. Stepping outside the operating room, Parsons asks his friend if he would like to watch. Glancing at the bloodstained operating table, Young politely declines.

But Young says he’s happy to see his buddy again wielding a surgeon’s knife. Parsons is just glad to see Young back handling the practice’s books.

Both Young and Parsons are part-time soldiers, majors in the Army Reserve whose recent tours of active duty in Afghanistan wrenched them from their lives in western New York for a year each, nearly destroying Parson’s veterinary practice and putting strains on Young’s tiny accounting firm.

When Parsons came home after a yearlong call-up to Afghanistan in August 2003, he was within a month of having to file bankruptcy papers. He’d been unable to find another doctor to fill in during his absence. Meanwhile, Young spent most of 2002 in Afghanistan, forcing his wife to go to work with his father to keep clients from abandoning Young and Co., the small firm he had started five years earlier.

The lives of these two officers and a half dozen of their Army Reserve comrades in Rochester offer a window into the growing strains that many warn are threatening to break America’s part-time military,” explains Dave Moniz.

Flash forward ten years and the stories are even more bleak than anticipated. An economic recession sent our economy into a downward spiral. Businesses closed, jobs were outsourced, or eliminated completely. The job market is small and the competition is high. Not only are reservists returning to civilian life, but are now in a new battle. The new battle is for the jobs they left behind.

To be continued…..

Related articles
•Ex-soldiers offered cash to join TA (telegraph.co.uk)

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