Bremerton company creates new job opportunities for disabled veterans

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, veteran Josh Rupert now has a new career outside of the military. He helps manage all of the equipment and gear at a warehouse facility. When he left the army two years ago, he didn’t realize he would end up back on a military base.

“For my generation, guys that have been in for 10-15 years or so, it’s really hard to transition and start over,” said Rupert.

He works for Skookum Contract Services. The Bremerton company helps connect disabled veterans with jobs. President and CEO Jeff Dolven says the company has contracts with military bases across the country. At JBLM, Skookum employs just over two dozen vets.

“I think we as a society owe it to these people to create a job,” said Dolven. “I think so often there is a little reticence on the part of businesses to go out and hire people who may have had an injury or a challenge. My take away is get over it, give them a chance, and you will be so much richer for it.”

For many of the veterans, the jobs make it easier to transition out of the military. Dena Creekmore served 20 years in the army and deployed several times to Iraq. Since she retired, Creekmore has worked for Skookum at JBLM.

“There are so many vets out there right now that are looking for jobs and to find their place back in society,” said Creekmore.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the company works with veterans to accommodate any physical or mental disabilities. About a third of its 1,024 employees are veterans.

“They care about the individual, each individual person’s needs, and that’s real important to today’s veterans and people with disabilities,” said Rupert.