Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Shaw Air Force Base held its annual job fair Friday afternoon, and for many of the veterans seeking jobs, there were lessons learned as well.
It was also about a way to feed their families, but if you took a closer look, you'd discover that many more there, were finding another chance at life after their military service.
"I never thought I would be a corrections officer," said Lamarr Tellis, a veteran of the U.S. Marines. Tellis was at Friday's job fair working as a recruiter for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, his current employer.
He had a smile on his face much of the afternoon. That's because his life looked a whole lot different before joining the Marines, he said.
"I wanted to see the world. I wanted to actually turn more into a man. My dad - he helped turn me into a man but I wanted to venture out and do things for myself," said Tellis.
He credits his father and a family friend for helping to keep him on the straight-and-narrow as he grew up in 1970's Detroit. He admitted that he found himself lured by the fast-money of certain illegal activities, and even observed friends he grew up with participating in some of them.
His military serve, he says, is what also helped him pull away from those lures.
One thing Tellis said that troubled him, though, was the fact that he has observed some of the very same people he served with on the wrong side of the law.
"I had a couple people that was [sic] on the same base as I was," Tellis said. "They remembered what unit I worked in, but they actually got caught up in the wrong area."
In January, military veterans found themselves unemployed at a rate of 11.7%. By June, that number had decreased to 7.2%.
Army veteran Robert Martin, himself serving over 26 years, was at Friday's job fair representing automotive school WyoTech, and felt his efforts were making a difference.
"A lot of times when you retire from the military, your job don't [sic] translate," Martin said. "So with this job, you go into the transportation industry. It's not going away."
Soon-to-be retired Airman Sean Haynes spoke about opportunities at WyoTech with Martin. He said the fact that people such as Martin, and organizations such as WyoTech, were contributing to the job fair made a difference in their own right.
"It tells us not only does the community care enough to come on base and find out what we want," Haynes said, but the Air Force cares enough to reach out to the people and help us find out what we need."