SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Just in time for San Francisco’s Fleet Week celebrations, more than 250 members of the military attended the first ever job fair hosted by the nation’s largest nonprofit organization for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday’s event at the San Francisco War Memorial Building was the first of five similar events scheduled across the country over the next year.

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The job fair was hosted by IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a 125,000-member organization founded by Paul Reikoff after he returned from a tour of duty as an Army rifle platoon leader in Iraq in 2004.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

He said it was a no-brainer that San Francisco was the place to kick off IAVA’s “Combat to Career” job fair series.

“I think it’s significant because one in nine veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are from California. So, it’s absolutely critical that the Bay Area play a leadership role in caring for veterans coming home,” Reikoff reasoned.

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“What better time than Fleet Week?” Reikoff added about the timing of the career fair.

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The fair was well-received by participants.

“I would consider myself underemployed, just looking for something with good benefits that I can make a career out of before I start growing too many more gray hairs,” explained Army vet Ron Serini. He returned from Iraq seven years ago and had limited success in construction because of the housing bubble’s burst. He provided resumes to representatives from Bechtel and Tesla at the career fair.

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