After 22 years of service in the U.S. Army, Herbert Murphy planned to transition to a new career in his hometown of Pomeroy, Ohio. However, finding a job proved more difficult than he anticipated.
Despite the work he put into the job search and his years of experience as a Sergeant First Class in the Army's Air Defense Artillery branch, he didn't gain any leads.
"I had a run of bad luck," said Murphy.
By September 2014, Murphy and his fiancé, Dana, were running low on funds and needed a solution. They decided to move to Chillicothe, where they thought the job outlook would be more favorable.
On Sept. 11, Murphy and Dana visited the Chillicothe VA for career and housing assistance. While they were there, Murphy saw a flyer advertising for veterans with construction experience, and since he had a background in construction, he decided to call.
A half hour later, Murphy met MVRC Career Specialist Dennis Lambert, who had posted the flyer and agreed to meet Murphy that day.
"I initially thought I might be meeting with a contractor for laborers," said Murphy.
Instead, Lambert explained his role as a Veterans Services Specialist at Military Veterans Resource Center and how he connects veterans with employment opportunities. Lambert proceeded to interview Murphy about his experiences, interests, and needs, helping Murphy identify his obstacles to employment along the way.
"At some point in the interview, Dennis asked in a very tactful manner if my fiancé and I had adequate groceries. By then, I was comfortable enough from speaking with him that I could disclose we were almost completely out of funds, and we worried about having enough groceries to sustain us while I [searched for] employment," said Murphy.
Lambert took Murphy and Dana to MVRC's Chillicothe office and gave them a three-day supply of food. In addition, Lambert offered to meet with Murphy the next day to help him work on his resume and match job openings with his qualifications.
Within four days, the VA helped Murphy acquire temporary housing assistance in Pickaway County, and within a week of working with Lambert, Murphy was offered part-time employment at KimCo, where he does janitorial work for local retailers.
In the following weeks, Lambert continued to check in with Murphy, who said it was the "little stuff" Lambert did that helped the most. He helped Murphy prepare for other job interviews, helped Murphy find furniture and appliances for his new home, and provided transportation assistance when Murphy's van broke down.
Now, three months later, Murphy works for KimCo full-time, he's acquired permanent housing in Ross County, and Murphy and Dana are finalizing their move from Pomeroy to Chillicothe.
"Ever since I met Dennis, I check in with him every other day and now consider him a great friend," said Murphy. "There was more to [my situation] than just finding a job. Dennis was there for me through every step."