07/20/05 — ESC's Billy Patterson wins national award

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ESC's Billy Patterson wins national award

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 20, 2005 1:45 PM

Billy Patterson of the Employment Security Commission in Goldsboro has received a national award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for his efforts at helping veterans find jobs.

The Goldsboro office was rated the third-best employment office for helping veterans in the nation by the organization.

The James C. Gates Distinguished Service Award is given each year in recognition of service to those who have contributed to employment for veterans. The award gives particular attention to people involved in outreach to homeless, disabled or long-term unemployed veterans.

Billy Patterson

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Billy Patterson in Employment Security Commission office on William Street.

Patterson is the Veterans Employment Consultant Supervisor in the Goldsboro office, which includes the Mount Olive branch, managed by Susan Walton.

Goldsboro VFW Commander Jeff Pierce and Mount Olive VFW Commander Hugh Martin sent letters of recommendation with the nominations for the state and national honors. Patterson compiled the nomination package with photographs showing what the office has accomplished and sent it to the state office.

His first-place state award and the Goldsboro office's first-place state award qualified them for consideration for the national awards. Patterson will formally receive the Gates award and a prize of $1,000 in August at the national VFW convention in Salt Lake City.

Bill Pate, the manager of the Goldsboro office, thanked the VFW for "recognizing the good work they're doing in our office."

The veterans service unit is placing more emphasis on people who have recently left the military, he said. But the office has a long history of receiving awards, he said. The office was ranked No. 1 in the nation three years ago.

Patterson has had someone helping him since he started working with veterans in the Goldsboro office more than 20 years ago. Today, he has two people assisting him.

Willie Walker has been the veterans employment consultant since 1993. He helps veterans prepare resumes and applications and teaches interviewing skills, along with making direct job referrals.

Increased demand for services for veterans led the state to add a new position in the office in 1997. Debra Best serves as the disabled veterans employment consultant and does case management for veterans who are homeless, recently separated from the military or who need more personal assistance. She stays in close contact with the Wayne County veterans service office and the homeless shelters and other veteran service organizations. She is a member of the Disabled American Veterans and makes sure those who need to go to the Veterans Administration Hospital get there. If a veteran doesn't qualify to ride the DAV van, she has a church connection that takes them to the hospital.

Patterson, Walker and Ms. Best are all veterans and meet with airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to help them in their transition to civilian life. They have developed a three-day program, in which each of them spends a day with the airmen.

Patterson explains to veterans what they can expect the veterans service office to do for them.

Walker explains how to deal with rejection and how to send out thank you notes.

Ms. Best talks about job search techniques, researching companies, networking and making "cold calls."

The office saw 1,315 veterans in 2004 and helped 627 find jobs.