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November 11, 2015

Local vet: Here's how to honor veterans every day

Veterans Day
11112015_ralph_galati_SJU Source/St. Joseph's University

Ralph Galati, a veteran, former POW and director of the Veterans Office at St. Joseph's University, says the best way to say thanks to veterans on Veterans Day and every day is to hire them and patronize their businesses.

Each year on November 11, Americans are asked to thank our military veterans and think about the sacrifice they make.

There's certainly nothing wrong with making a donation to Purple Heart, volunteering at a Veterans Administration center or sending care packages to soldiers overseas.

But if you want to really change a veteran's life, Ralph Galati has two words for you: "Hire them!"

Galati would know.

An Air Force veteran and former POW, Galati is director of Veteran Services at Saint Joseph’s University. He says another way to support veterans is to patronize their businesses.

“Reach out to your local chamber of commerce or county veterans office and find out about the veteran-owned businesses in your area and support them,” says Galati, a St. Joseph's graduate. “And if you know a veteran looking for a job or starting a business, point them in the direction of local resources to help them get started.”

At St. Joseph's, Galati's office helps veterans and their dependents gain access to government benefits and guides them through the process of completing a degree. In fact, the office has created unique entrepreneurship programs for veterans looking to start their own businesses.

This spring, the university will launch its first cohort of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a free program for post-9/11 military veterans with disabilities and honorable discharge status, in partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

“When veterans leave combat, they enter into a difficult period of readjustment and transition,” Galati says. “They go from such a structured environment in the military to the freedom of civilian life. Building a meaningful career can be essential to adjusting to, and finding fulfillment in, civilian life for a veteran.”

St. Joseph's efforts to embrace veterans were recognized Monday by the Military Times, which included the university in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” rankings.

For information about applying to the EBV program, veterans should visit www.sju.edu/veterans. The application deadline for the spring cohort is Dec. 18. Contact SJU’s Office of Veteran Services at veterans@sju.edu for information.