Veterans get support from Goodwill Manasota

- For veterans returning home, it can be a difficult transition. And civilians may not be able to understand what they are going through.

A group working in Manatee and Sarasota counties wants to make sure veterans and their families know help is available. 

Michael Metzinger protected our country for five years. He was deployed to Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army. When his deployment ended, Metzinger came home a different person.

"I kicked doors in, shot bad guys, that's the easiest way to describe it," he said. "You don't have that purpose, you don't have that drive, you don't have that camaraderie."

Metzinger once fought on the front-lines with an infantry unit. After coming home, he found himself at his lowest point.

"I was staying in my car, living down in Ft.Myers in my car," he said.

Then a friend gave him hope by referring him to Goodwill Manasota's Veteran Services. The organization helps veterans and their families get back on their feet and find jobs. That's where Metzinger met Brian Hannon with Signal 88 Security. He's an Air Force veteran and has hired eight service members onto his team.

"I can remember getting out myself and transitioning out of the military and trying to figure out which way to go," said Hannon. "You see their transition and the light spark back up in themselves because now it seems like they've come back from service and now they are pushing forward in life because now they have that role again that purpose."

Last year, Goodwill Manasota helped 88 homeless veterans find employment.

"We are here to... be there for them and be that sounding board and camaraderie that they are missing from the military," said C.J Bannister the director of veteran services.

Michael now works full-time, keeping an eye out on apartments and construction sites. It's a job that gives him a new purpose. He implores any veteran in need of help to reach out and ask for it.

"It's given me a sense of duty. It really has helped me get motivated again in my life," he said. "I know we are who we are. Get your help. Everybody needs it. Nobody is going to judge you."

For more information on Goodwill Manasota's Veteran Services, visit http://www.experiencegoodwill.org/impact/veterans-services/

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