Everybody who works for a living deserves to make a living wage.
But the words of Derrell Odom, a Marine and veteran of two tours in Iraq, bring it home even more when he talks about life at minimum wage.
"I don't want my son to look at me like I'm something less because I have to work for $7.25 and I bust my butt every day and I take pride in what I do … we have a voice and we want it to be heard."
Don't we owe it to people like Derrell that good jobs with benefits and a decent paycheck are part of the deal when they come back home?
I'll say it again: Good jobs with benefits and a decent paycheck should be part of the deal of living here.
On Veterans Day, rather than only posting well wishes to vets on Facebook, how about getting the word out that there are people like Derrell who came back from the bowels of hell to make $7.25 an hour?
It's a national disgrace that needs to change.
I came across some interesting things when I started researching this, and I'd like to pass them along.
1. An estimated 1 million veterans would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10.
2. Some employers shy away from hiring veterans because they're worried about PTSD.
3. In fact, some veterans even hide their experience in the service because they're worried about their employer judging them, or their coworkers begin concerned about their mental health status.
What often results when people live like this? Depression, a worsening of already-existing PTSD, a downward spiral that can lead to homelessness and poverty, and more.
Approximately 57,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
That's almost 12% of the total adult homeless population.
But even worse? Suicide, related to these issues and many others.
Studies have shown that suicide rates among veterans are 50% higher than among civilians.
Some companies, like Starbucks, get it. It was just announced that Starbucks will be offering free tuition to Arizona State University to a family member of the veterans who work for the company. It already offers tuition assistance to employees working toward an undergraduate degree at ASU, but this is icing on the cake for veterans who work there.
Meanwhile, here's Derrell with one and a half minutes of YES.
That sound of desperation in his voice? It's very real for veterans of all kinds, as well as anybody working at $7.25 an hour or close to it.