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Marine who served in Iraq now fights to get Virginia veterans jobs

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country.

“My dad always told me if you’re going to join the military then join the best service. So I joined the United States Marine Corps,” Andrew says. “It was ingrained into your head that you are training for combat.”

The California native joined the United States Marines in 2000 and said he lives to serve.

“I really fell in love with the idea of teamwork and camaraderie,” says Andrew. “So, I planned on making it a career.”

After fighting on the front lines in 2005 in Iraq Andrew eyed a career as a Marine officer.

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

“We had incoming rounds coming into our base on a frequent basis,” says Andrew.

But a medical injury derailed his plans. Andrew did not relish the thought of transitioning into the workforce.

“It was very challenging,” says Andrew. “There is a huge culture gap between military culture and civilian culture.”

“Oh, yes. I am a firm believer in divine providence.”

But a door opened up at V3; that’s Virginia Values Veterans, part of the Department of Veterans Services Program that helps employers recruit, hire and retain veterans.

“Companies are looking for good workers,” says Andrew.

As V3’s program manager, Andrew says companies benefit when military men and women join the staff.

“The level of work ethic that they have,” he says, “their commitment to showing up for work on time; their leadership skills.”

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

In four years, Andrew says nearly 700 employers like Dominion Virginia Power have hired nearly 20,000 veterans through his and V3’s efforts.

“He has so much experience to offer the program,” says Andrew’s colleague and fellow veteran, Fernandez Scott, who sees firsthand the impact Andrew is having on those who gave so much.

“It is very exciting to be working for such a dynamic person who understands people that has a great big heart,” Scott says.

“It is great that these veterans are getting these jobs with these companies," he says. "But it is great these companies are getting great employees that are contributing to their bottom line.”

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

Andrew Schwartz is an Iraq War veteran who never stopped serving his country

“You can take the man out of the Marine Corp, but you can’t take the Marine Corp out of the man," says Scott.

The Iraq War veteran calls his new mission, helping his military brothers and sisters, one of the most gratifying accomplishments in his life.

“We do owe it some sense not that we just give them opportunities,” says Andrew. “But we are fully aware of how much potential they have to a positive contribution to society.”

V3 is holding a Veteran Hiring Event next month. It is all part of the Dominion Charity Classic. Several companies looking to hire veterans will be attending the November 1 event.

The event will take place at The James River Course at the Country Club of Virginia and runs from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

If you are a veteran and are interested in registering “click here.”

If you would like to nominate someone for my “Heroes Among Us” segment email CBS 6 Reporter Greg McQuade.