In recent years, the name of New Jersey Legionnaire Bob Looby has become synonymous with employment efforts for veterans in and around his state. Looby and his department’s Veterans Employment & Education Committee have helped coordinate dozens of hiring fairs for veterans fresh off deployment, connecting hundreds of job-seekers with prospective employers.
“I started learning about all the employment issues facing veterans, and (the hiring fairs) seemed like the way to go,” Looby says. “Most of the returning (veterans) ... are right out of high school (with) no résumé-writing training, no interview skills. It’s just the right thing to do. It’s an American thing, and it’s a veteran thing.”
The scope of the hiring fairs has been expanded to include mental health and a housing component, as well as forums focusing on the unique needs of women veterans. Seeing veterans leave the fairs having received help, in the form of employment or through other means, is the payoff for Looby.
“It’s like, ‘You did your job,’” he says. “You’ve collected your bonus, and that bonus is gratification.”
Branch of Service Army (1963-1966)
American Legion Post Post 12, Somerville, N.J.
Years in the legion 39
- Post commander (1995-1997, 2004-2007)
- Post adjutant (1991-1992, 1999-2004, 2005-2010)
- Department commander (2010-2011)
- Department Employment & Education chairman (2012-present)