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Woman says ignorance about disabilities keeps employers from hiring vets

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Unlike some unemployed veterans, Patrice Murray’s job skills in the Army as a records clerk had immediate civilian world applications.

But a back injury she sustained lifting furniture during job training limited how much she could lift and how long she could stay on her feet. A series of temporary jobs after her seven years in the service eventually dried up and she was out of work for three years until getting a full-time position in April at the mailroom of the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

Murray said ignorance about disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder are what keep many employers from hiring veterans. That’s a mistake because veterans have so many fine qualities, including teamwork and dedication to the job, Murray said.

“It’s an untapped resource,” she said.

Her husband is a veteran of Iraq who is still disabled by a neck injury but going through school to earn his business degree. Their combined injuries limit the types of activities they can do with their children, ages 16, 12 and 6, but it’s just something the children have learned to work around.

“They’ve adjusted well,” said Murray.

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