TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — Military men and women in Mississippi have been called into duty on any number of occasions in recent years.
Often they are away from their homes and jobs for one or two years, maybe even more.
When they return, it can be tough at times to keep or find a job.
That’s according to one local veteran who is the director of North Mississippi Support of the Guard and Reserve.
“Well, it’s tough times, no doubt about it,” says Larry Mims, commander of the North Mississippi American Legion. “We try to make sure that they get at least the job they had when they left. It’s as if they never left.”
“Anything we can do to help our veterans and our spouses when they get home, [we do it, because] they need a helping hand. And I’m delighted the governor has taken this position,” Mims said.
That’s one reason why Gov. Phil Bryant and the State Legislature have created a bill to make life easier for the vets when they come home or move to Mississippi on active duty.
The measure would give veterans a leg up in acquiring licenses to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses and even insurance agents.
The bill also allows people with military training to count their experience toward requirements for job licenses, certifications and registrations.
Earlier this year, Bryant proclaimed 2013 the year to hire Mississippi heroes.
For Mims, this points to what he calls a patriotic atmosphere in the state.
“Mississippi is very patriotic to the military. We have more patriotism right now than any time we’ve ever had, except at the end of World War II,” Mims said.
In fact, he says the passage of this bill by the Legislature is something very similar to what happened after World War II.
“If you were applying for any kind of federal job, if you had a wound, you were given an extra point. Depending on the nature and how severe your wound was,” said the legion commander.
Under the same measure, state licensing boards can now grant either a temporary or permanent occupational license to military spouses who may be licensed in another state that has similar requirements.
The bill also provides for those who receive a temporary license in Mississippi to begin working in a particular job as they work towards a permanent license.