• Following the loss of his young daughter to cancer, Operation New Uniform helps vet find a career

    By: Beth Rousseau , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A close look at Greg Pierce’s cubicle reveals clues to a challenging past.

    The 26-year Air Force veteran retired in Alaska until his 12-year-old daughter’s cancer diagnosis brought him back to Florida.

    “She was vibrant, in school activities, and then that hits and it just takes everything away,” Pierce said of his daughter, Miranda.

    He focused solely on her treatment for years, until December 2016.

    Miranda lost her battle with the disease just days after Christmas.

    “I don’t even know how to put it into words, it just breaks you down,” Pierce said.

    He was already struggling to find a career in Jacksonville. His daughter’s death sent him spiraling.

    Then Pierce discovered Operation New Uniform, a local organization aimed at transitioning veterans into new careers.

    The organization’s co-founder, Justin Justice, tells Action News Jax, “Many veterans are unemployed or underemployed for extended periods of time after the service."

    Operation New Uniform trained its first class of veterans in 2014.

    Class size and demand grew quickly.

    Today, the organizations has helped nearly 200 veterans find job success.

    “They’ve been able to obtain careers about $20,000 higher than the national average within four months of graduating our program,” Justice said.

    Pierce, who now works at Veterans Healthcare Supplies Solution, is part of the one-month program’s 97 percent success rate.

    He’s said he’s forever grateful for the organization and takes comfort knowing his work is something Miranda would be proud of.

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