EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - They are blazing a path to employment for veterans. A local ministry, started up by a veteran himself, is on a mission to help vets returning from war transition and find work here in East Texas.
Army Specialist Matt Schrader doesn't mind the labor on this holiday. In fact, he welcomes it.
"As much hours as I can as well as being a full time student at night," said Schrader.
Like so many servicemen and women, Schrader struggled to find a decent paying job after returning from Iraq. Then he met Marine Sergeant Mark Holmes with Blazing Trails Ministry. He's helped dozens of vets find work in East Texans' yards.
"I made the same transition they did and I know how difficult it is socially and in today's times especially with how the economics are," said Holmes. "It really makes it hard on these young men coming home and just finding a job is tough."
"Mark Holmes was here to help me out and then not just that, you get to work with somebody who has gone through the same stuff with you," says Schrader.
Support for fellow veterans and a way you can show appreciation; having your yard mowed with military precision. Bonnie Whitehead is one of 50 clients who now depend on their service.
"I feel like I could call them anytime and tell them my situation and they would be here," said Whitehead.
Employees she can trust and is happy to give back to.
"Just help somebody like me that's going to school get a little cash in their pocket," said Schrader.
But the mission doesn't end there. Through a new micro loan program, Mark says veterans can apply for $15,000 at no or little interest.
"Going to a bank and getting a business loan is a pretty difficult task for them so we want to make it easier for them to start a small business," said Holmes.
Helping provide the financial means and jobs for those who've risked everything for us.
"They're just what the Lord wanted me to have at this time in my life," said Whitehead.