Local Veteran Shares His Journey Through Unemployment

By: Stephen Johnson
By: Stephen Johnson

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Through 31 months of unemployment, Navy veteran Ron Torrisi knows the difficulties that come along with searching for a job in today's economy.

“It's hard to describe, but mainly to me it's incredibly frustrating. It's just unbelievable”, says Torrisi.

An operations specialist on the U.S.S. John F Kennedy, Torrisi wanted a change of pace in his duties, a decision that resulted in him leaving the Navy.

Torrisi says, "There were just a lot of technicalities as to why they didn't want me to change over. They wanted me to reenlist but they wouldn't let me change jobs so I chose to go my own way."

Although he found steady work after leaving the navy, he fell on hard times after being let go from his job in 2009. That's when Torrisi moved into an apartment complex that helps veterans get back on their feet and find employment.

Torrisi says he doesn't know where he would be without the help he's received since moving in.

"A lot of the guys here have either become displaced by homelessness or no job or they're disabled, but they've done incredible things for the people in this building”, says Torrisi.

Spending hours each day searching for work and sending out resumes, Torrisi says he's had only four interviews in the last 31 months. Despite not hearing back from many employers, he's staying motivated, with help from his eight-year-old son.

"My son is very aware of the situation. I've explained it to him. He even encourages me to keep trying or he's asking me when I'm going to have an interview. But it's difficult."

More than 200,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are unemployed nationwide. The unemployment rate for veterans is about 3 percent higher than the national average.

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