Local organization welcomes back servicemen

December 27, 2010 11:47:57 PM PST
We are always mindful, but especially during the holidays, of what the men and women of our armed forces do for the country, but what can be done for them when they return home? A Bay Area organization worked to create opportunities for the veterans when their service is done.

Applause, plaques and proclamations were given to 10 Bay Area servicemen home for the holidays. servicemen like Ian Jump.

"I'm at Camp Pendleton right now, so it's nice to know the town thinks about you," says Pfc. Ian Jump, from the Marines.

Sentinels Of Freedom -- a non-profit organization made up and supported primarily by community and business leaders -- put on the ceremony. The group also helps the severely wounded and assists service men and women receive all of their benefits coming to them.

The Sentinels Of Freedom take it a step further, allowing these young men to network with local movers and shakers. So if and when they end their armed services career, they'll have a leg up on starting a new career.

Joel Prentiss has been in the Navy for two-and-a-half years, but isn't certain if he'll make a career of it. He wonders about his future.

"Yes, I do, quite often actually. Just haven't really decided whether or not, military or not is going to be the choice, and what am I going to do when I get out and would I continue to do the same thing that I learned in the military, or go back to school," says Joel Prentiss from the U.S. Navy.

The chairman of Sentinels Of Freedom says his group initiates the introductions.

"So they have an immediate network, and this is where we really start to network, by getting to them face to face. We know your name, we know your face, we want you to come and talk to us," says Mike Conklin from Sentinels Of Freedom.

"It's good to know that people are there for you and that they appreciate what you're doing and stuff and they want to give back," says Pfc. Erik Smith from the U.S. Marines.

Medals and ribbons are great honors, but will they get these young men a job when they hang up their uniforms? Maybe, especially with a little help from some not-so-secret admirers.

The communities of San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk and Dublin are now all involved in Sentinels of Freedom. They are helping Conklin make sure these warriors contributions and sacrifices are rewarded and not forgotten.

ABC7's Tomas Roman contributed to this report.


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