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Veterans returning home, unable to find work

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Tyler (KYTX) -- For those who have made the sacrifice of serving our country, the return home isn't always easy. In fact, the unemployment rate for veterans is actually higher than non-veterans.

After high school, Ralph Sanders fulfilled his dream and joined the Navy.

"It was a big change for me. It makes a man out of you," Sanders said.

He sailed around the world 3 years before returning home to Tyler.

"When I first got out it was kind of rough, being that I had surgery right before I got out," Sanders said. That surgery only made it harder for him to land a job.

"It wasn't easy at all because I couldn't really lift anything. Right when I got out, I couldn't bend over things like that," Sanders said.

He was out of work nearly 6 months before he found employment at Prestige Estates.

"I love cooking so I went back cooking, and that's where I am now," Sanders said.

According to the Labor Department-- the U.S. unemployment rate of recently discharged veterans is 6.8 percent. The country's overall average unemployment rate is 6.3 percent.

On a surprise Memorial Day trip to Afghanistan, President Obama assured troops of help when they transition back to civilian life.

"We want to make sure you can live the American dream that you helped defend," Obama said.

The East Texas Veterans Alliance exists to do things like educate employers how to receive benefits from hiring a veteran. Those with the alliance say one of the biggest challenges has been breaking down the stigma associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- or PTSD.

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