Veteran Finds New Purpose With New Job

Monday, November 9th 2015, 10:20 pm
By: News 9

Veterans Day is coming up, and there’s an effort nationwide to curb a big problem among the veteran ranks. 

After 17 years as an Army drill sergeant, and two tours in Iraq Jeff Kowalik, 40, had to leave the service. 

The Army medically retired him, because he’s been through 17 surgeries over the past seven years. 

Kowalik is one of 3,500 veterans Walmart is hiring in the state of Oklahoma. The retail giant call is their “Welcome Home Commitment.” 

Kowalik is now a co-manager of the Belle Isle Walmart.

He said with 22 veteran suicides a day, programs like Walmart’s give veterans hope.

“You talk to soldiers, try to figure out what’s wrong with them, give them the opportunity like I did, you know working for Walmart, to come in and not be scared, catch them before they get out of the military,” he said. 

Walmart told  News 9, as part of this program, it plans to hire 250,000 veterans like Jeff Kowalik by 2020. 

Kowalik said he thinks the number one reason for veteran suicides is fear. 

“It’s the stress, the everyday stress you’re not used to,” he said.