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INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of Indiana veterans took advantage of a unique opportunity Wednesday, as they participated in a special job fair called Operation Hire a Hoosier Veteran.

Held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the event gave veterans up-close to access to hundreds of potential employers.

“It’s paramount to our country’s success that we hire our vets,” said Marine veteran Mary Beth Schaffer. “I’ve found some employers that I’m very excited about, and I’m hopeful I’ve found some employers that will want to hire me… I’m tired of being a poor student, I’m looking for a job!”

For some veterans, it’s no laughing matter.

Just ask Leroy DeJournett. He’s been out of work for nearly a year, so a job fair like this brings new hope.

“I’m just grateful that the opportunity is here,” he said. “Us veterans, we didn’t know what we were getting into when we got into the military. For this opportunity to be here is very important.”

“We have so many veterans that are returning from combat, we have veterans coming off of active duty and their greatest need is employment, so they can get their lives re-started,” said Roger Peterman, a transition assistance supervisor.

Columbus-based Cummins was just one of the many companies seeking Indiana veterans at Wednesday’s job fair.

“Our veterans are very important to us,” said Cummins recruiter Beth Habenicht. “They support us, so we want to be able to reach back out and support them as much as we can.”

“I think it’s great,” said DeJournett. “A lot of veterans are struggling to get employment and for this to come along is just a great opportunity for us to take advantage.”

“They reminded me who I am, what I’ve done and that I’m still viable and re-instilled in me that, yes, I’m a Marine and I’m really qualified and I am a great candidate,” said Schaffer.