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Air Force Veteran's Career Is Taking Off

Air Force veteran David Laughrey already feels at home working at VA Butler Healthcare.

“I love coming to work. I love my job,” he said.

DavidDavid retired from the Air Force Reserve in March 2014 after 28 years of military service. Since January 2013, he had also been working as an assistant department service officer with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a job he continued until becoming unemployed in April 2015. Accepting the position with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs marked the end of a one-year unemployment period for David. 

He sought employment assistance through the PA CareerLink in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. There, David was mentored and assisted by disabled veterans outreach program specialist Ryan Paglia. Ryan helped David develop an individual development plan that focused on positions in the social services field. He also helped him build a resume, find employment opportunities, sharpen his interview skills, and apply for federal and state level jobs. When David’s unemployment compensation benefits were exhausted, Ryan referred him to veteran emergency assistance programs, and provided counseling and encouragement when job prospects fell through.

“I leaned on Ryan more than anybody during that time,” David said.

With Ryan's support and his own persistence, David landed the VA Butler Healthcare position. He was hired in a temporary position in April 2016 as a medical support assistant at the facility in Butler, Pennsylvania. In January 2017, he was thrilled when his temporary position became permanent.

“I was very grateful to have any kind of work,” said David. “It’s all forward from here.”

Do you need job and training resources? Find local help at More information about career services available for veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses is available at

Amy Dennis is a public affairs intern with the department’s Office of Public Affairs in Philadelphia.

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