This Veterans Day, Goodwill NY-NJ is doing more than thanking our Vets for their service. In addition to providing free outfits to wear on job interviews and work, we are giving you an opportunity to listen to the life story of two of them: Anny and Jonny. We invite you to listen to what veterans have to say.

For this project, we partnered with StoryCorps to record the conversation of six veterans and their partners. We served these Vets this year through our Operation: GoodJobs program. We were eager to hear about their experience in the military and how they managed to get back to a civilian life after returning home. The partners were spouses, siblings, roommates, friends, and anybody who had a significant relation with the Vet.

We were warned that veterans tend to share about this phase of their lives only with other veterans and prefer not to discuss it openly. We were lucky! We “recruited” a Vet who brought her daughter, another who brought her roommate, yet another who brought his half-sister, two male Vets brought their best friend, a female and a male, and Anny brought her former husband, Jonny.

Anny and Jonny, who are in their late twenties, are currently receiving services from Goodwill’s Operation: GoodJobs. They were married and had two children. Jonny deployed when Anny was pregnant with their second child. That caused resentment. The hardships of serving in the military and returning home to a civilian life took a toll in their personal lives too. They divorced when Jonny came back from Afghanistan affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They parted as good friends, but were unable to keep their marriage together. Today, they are mending their lives. Placed by Goodwill, Anny works for a bank to support herself and her children, and Jonny is going back to school. It was not easy, listen to their conversation here. Read the text version of Anny‘s story here.

In the four days of Veterans Day weekend 2013, we gave away clothing to 956 Vets at a retail value of $52,172. The tally for the first three days this year is very close to these figures and we are still giving away outfits to Vets today. We’ll report the final figure!

We are grateful to all who donated clothing to support Goodwill Suits Vets.

The employees of Crystal & Company held a collection drive at their downtown Manhattan office among friends and family. They collected 120 outfits for the Vets! See some pictures of the merchandise they donated to Goodwill below.

Crystal Co donations Crystal Co donationsLast January, we launched Operation: GoodJobs to provide a holistic integration of career services with family and financial strengthening services for United States veterans and family Members, including post-9/11 U.S. veterans, female veterans, 18-26 year-old veterans, National Guard and Reservists.

For more information about Operation: GoodJobs, please contact Martha Jackson at the number below or email OGJ@goodwillnynj.org.

Operation: GoodJobs                    
All New York City boroughs and Northern New Jersey
(718) 361-5415

These interviews were recorded as part of the Military Voices Initiative with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. Excerpts were selected and produced by Cristina Kim. Music provided by Chris Zabriskie.

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