Friday, April 6th

I awoke this morning to another request for a TV interview with Sue and me.  We still can’t get over the amount of attention that one interview could generate.  I guess we underestimated the power of the media.

The new website has four new job posts and one of them was ours.  We think we already have found another vet to hire starting the 16th of April.  He spent 6 years in the Navy and we have great hopes for him! Dave has the experience to bring a lot to the company and I’m sure we can talk him into finding ways to hire a few more veterans along the way.

We’re going to take off this weekend and spend some time with our kids and grand kids and then off to the White House next week.  We have no idea what that trip may bring, but we’re hoping it may result in some ideas about finding more jobs for these kids.

Our PR Firm found a law firm in Washington DC that has agreed to do some pro bono work setting up a 501 (c) 3 corporation so we can raise money to setup an employment agency for veterans.  I should know more next week.  Happy Easter and have a blessed Passover.

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Anxious Parents

I received an email this morning from a mother whose son is joining the Marines.

Hello Mike!

After seeing the very touching piece about Charles on Dateline as well as you and your wife’s generosity, I was deeply moved and felt compelled to call and speak with him. What caring and compassionate people you are to help him and his family! Charles and the other soldiers you hired are very lucky to have you!

 One of the reasons I called Charles was to get some advice….

My son Matthew,age 19, is going into the Marines around November and I am scared out of my mind for him! At the same time I am very proud of him. Charles answered a lot of questions that I had about the Marines and he understood all my fears and could relate because his parents felt the same way when he joined. I see why you hired him. He is a very patient and kind man and put my mind at ease.

Charles called me the other day and asked if we were going to have to shoot another segment called “Firing Our Veterans” because his performance has been a little off lately since the piece aired on Dateline.  The phones have lit up with folks wanting to talk with Charles.  It’s no wonder he hasn’t been able to focus too well on buying cars.  As you can read above, Charles is the real deal and as I explained to this mother, if her son returns with the compassion of Charles Weaver, she should count herself as blessed.

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In The Woods

One of the folks who wrote us after the Northwest Herald piece was a fellow named Scott who lives in our area and does some wonderful volunteer work with one of our local churches.  Today he was kind enough to invite me to help him find a Special Forces Vet who showed up in his church a while back asking “for a can of beans”.  Evidently he hadn’t eaten in days.

Scott had an idea about where this Vet was staying and after about 20 minutes of following a couple foot paths through some trees behind a factory, we found his campsite.  The Vet named Steve is living in the woods in our town in a tent.  Right under our noses we have a veteran who is living in the woods and needs to ride his bike to a church in Crystal Lake to ask for a can of beans. Gosh, there must be more we can do for these patriots of ours.

How do we find these people and identify their needs and help fill them?  They have risked their lives for us and we let them sleep in the woods and beg for beans.  We must find a way to help these souls.

Scott and his wife had put together a “care package” for him with a cooler, water and food.  We found his tent, but Steve was nowhere to be found.  Scott said that he would keep coming back until he gets hold of Steve.  We have to find a way to help these people even if it’s one at a time.  maybe that is the only way to do it; one veteran at a time.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to these young men and women.  They certainly stuck it out there for us and still do every day!

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Monday, April 2nd

Sorry, we’re out of pocket today.  Back tomorrow.  We heard about a vet living in a tent here in town and we’re going looking for him tomorrow with the help of a new friend who has had some contact with him already.

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Sunday’s Northwest Herald

We woke up this morning to see the Northwest Herald had written a lovely article about Charles Weaver and the events that led to him working with us at Kelly Car Buyer.  The nice thing about the article is the emails that we have received so far this morning asking for help hiring veterans.  We also received an email from a fellow on disability NOT from the military but he wants to volunteer to help get these kids a job. It really has been heartwarming to hear from so many people wanting to help.  We need to find a way to  embrace all these folks and create a way for them to help when and how they can.

We also got a great email this morning from a gentleman who wants to hire some veterans for one of his companies.  Thank you Mr. G!  Here was his email:

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Costigan,

I saw your segment on Dateline NBC and want to say how very impressed I was about your efforts to hire veterans.  You and your wife were right on target.

I too have several businesses, one of which I am preparing to hire and could use a similar workforce.  I am launching an over 50 magazine shortly and have openings in several areas.  How would I go about engaging local veterans?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

We all need to give back to the great men & women of our county for protecting us from harm’s way.


Glenn M. G



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Admiral Mike Mullen and Robin Hood

We got an invitation Friday from Admiral Mullen that started off like this:

On Monday, May 7, Robin Hood—the leading poverty fighting group in New York City—will host a full-day conference aboard the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan, dedicated to addressing the unprecedented challenges that face today’s returning veterans. We will address the fact that 18 veterans commit suicide every day, and our youngest veterans have an unemployment rate that soars above 29%. We are committed to finding the solutions that will provide meaningful jobs and the highest quality health care for our returning servicemen and women. They deserve no less.

Eighteen suicides a day?  My God that is a lot!  Sue and I will be going to find out if there is anything we can do, but more importantly this should bring to light that a lot of these veterans have feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and despair.  I’m sure there are a myriad of causes but there has to be a way to ease the rate of Vets killing themselves.

We’ll go to work to see how we can find some more of these returning veterans a job.  We are open to any comments or suggestions.  Please help.

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Friday Morning; March 30th

Sue and I have now answered almost all of the 700 plus emails we received.  I have eight left as of this writing. Here are a few:

Dear Mrs. Costigan,

I am a recently separated veteran from the U.S. Army where I spent 7 years and two combat tours to Iraq. Like Mr. Weaver I was a Staff Sergeant and like Mr. Weaver I found myself on a roller coaster ride when it came to the transition from the Army to the civilian workforce. I am 34 years old, I live in Burlington, KY, near Cincinnati, OH and I have a fiance and a 5 year old boy. Basically I just wanted to contact you and your husband because I saw that you were able to find opportunities within your company; Kelly Car Buyer for other vets and wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and send my resume for your review. After hearing your story I just feel like I would love to join your team and feel like I could be an excellent asset to your company.

Ever since I got out of the Army we have been struggling….


Hello Mike, I emailed you a few days ago and was wondering if you got my email? Do you think we could talk and see if I could maybe have a chance to be one of your employees or a vender? Please get back to me.  This fellow wasn’t a veteran as far as I can tell from his previous email but he’s looking.


Hi Mike,

I am inquiring as to how to join your organization to purchase cars for you. I am a veteran and retired. I am looking for a good internet business to work around the Columbus, Ohio area.  This man was a Viet Nam Veteran ,  We’ve had about 20 to 30 of these vets still struggling to make ends meet at this late in life.


It’s not a surprise to us that the country is hurting, but it is a little overwhelming when you find yourself wanting to help and not knowing where to start.  Sue and I spoke to Justin Balding yesterday about the idea of opening up a kind of employment agency just for veterans and run by veterans.  We’ve had a boatload of vets who really need to work at home for any number of reasons ranging from: “I’ve moved back home to care for my elderly parents” to “I lost my left leg and don’t have a prosthetic yet” to “I feel more comfortable working from home.” My guess is that the last vet may have some PTSD issues.

We’re trying to work through the issues of forming this kind of service and how much money we’d need to invest and raise to be able to hire a few vets to start dialing for jobs from small businesses.  I think NBC and the Chamber is doing a heck of a job talking to the larger corporations, but we think there is great potential targeting small companies who can be talked into helping some of these veterans.  We’re also talking about creating a sign that can be displayed that says:  “We Hired a Veteran” or “We’re Hiring Veterans”.  It may not be much but it is one way to tell your community that you have hired veterans and support their plight.  More to come…


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Wednesday Slowed Down a Bit

Yesterday we finally caught our breath and could catch up with all the emails and requests for interviews and offers to join several other folks out there doing some wonderful things for veterans and totally unsolicited.  We heard from Dave Ferguson who, along with a few friends raised $30,000 last year from a golf outing and donated it for the treatment of PTSD.

Sue spoke to a lady that takes soldiers out on boat rides to lift their spirits.  Jamie Dimon was interviewed and said that JPM was hiring about 10 veterans a day.  Comcast and NBC Universal committed to hiring 1000 veterans over the next three years.  NBC has really spent a lot of time and money on raising awareness for these veterans. I know I sound like I’ve drank the Kool Aid but you have to take your hats of to them for their efforts!   The Chamber of Commerce has a goal of hiring 500,000 veterans by 2014.  Hopefully, we can keep this issue alive.

I’ll try to catch up on work today because tomorrow may get busy again.  We’re hearing that The Northwest Herald is going to publish something about NBC’s story and Tom Brokaw’s visit to Crystal Lake sometime over the weekend.


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Tuesday Morning And It Hasn’t Stopped

We figured out why the stream of emails and calls haven’t stopped.  Tom went on Morning Joe and talked about Charles and us again along with NBC’s kickoff of Hiring Our Heroes Week.  Sue and I started answering the emails and thought about how many people can we possibly hire?  Can we expand the company enough to make a difference?  We can maybe hire a few more.  How do we get them into Chicago for training?

We decided to work through the day and meet tonight over dinner and try to make a plan and implement it.  Then at about 11AM our emails presented us with an invitation to the White House.  We knew is was spam because they needed so much information. They asked for our social security numbers, gender, full name; first middle and last, date of birth, city of residence and the only thing they didn’t ask for was our American Express.

While she and I are going back and forth with what a dirty trick this was, the doorbell rings and it’s a reporter for the Northwest Herald asking for an interview.  We asked her what she thought and she said we might want to call the White House.  Sure, let’s call the White House.  They will know.  Well folks, we did call and the woman on the other end said: “yes, Mrs Costigan you and your husband have been invited by Michelle Obama and Dr Jill Biden to attend the one year anniversary of Joining Forces on the White House lawn.”

On a personal note, after we picked ourselves up off the floor and called our daughter, she informed me that this was going to cost “an entire outfit for mom; dress, shoes and purse”. I then starting to call all our credit cards to see which one had the best sense of adventure and wanted to take a chance on this shopping spree!

Anyway, here we are with a reporter in the house, emails and calls still coming in at a pretty good clip, some TV station in New York wants to know if they can interview us, trying to borrow money for a trip to the White House and all we wanted to do is to hire a soldier that needed a job.  To think I used to like Brokaw. 😉

All kidding aside, we were the ones that got lucky by hiring Charles and his subsequent comrades and all this was happening because of that?  We’re not complaining; quite the contrary, but maybe these things are happening for a reason.  Maybe it’s our chance to do something special on a much larger scale.  I’ll get back to you pretty soon when we have it figured out or at least have a plan.

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5AM Monday, March 26th

I didn’t sleep very well last night thinking about the plight of these new found Vets who poured their hearts out to us the night before. I’ve just opened my email to find another 200 emails and I can watch them come into my account every 5 or 10 minutes.  By 8AM they are coming in faster than I can read them, let alone answer.

Here are a few:

My name is XXX. I am a highly decorated disabled special operations gulf war veteran. I served a total of 8 years,  6 active 2 inactive with an Honorable Discharge. Previous I worked as an Aircraft Repairer for XXX International working on the same helicopters that I worked on when I was in service,  those were for  Fco. 1-160th S.O.A.R.  We are known primarily through the block buster movie “Black Hawk Down”. Sir the reason I am writing is that in 1996 after being Honorably discharged,  found that my Unit during the Desert Storm campaign was one of the few subjected to nerve agent poisoning and came home with a heart defect, which in 2004 caused me to have a stroke.

I just watched Dateline.  You and your wife are two more reasons to be proud to be Americans.  God bless you, your families and the troops who make our lives so wonderful.   go U.S.A!

Thank you for your service!  My nephew Cpl. Jacob XXX also served and was stationed at Ft Stewart.  Unfortunately, Jacob was KIA 19Apr2005.  He too was 3/7.  I just wanted to let you know I just watched you on Dateline and wanted to thank you & your family.

How pround I am of the Costigans. Thank you from a mother of three soldiers. You made me believe again that there are truly good people left in this world. God Bless all you do!

There are hundreds of these and we are trying to figure out what to do about all these folks looking for a job and can we leverage all the good wishes with a request to network or suggest someone who may be hiring?  We built a website the other night:  it’s barely going yet but we may be able to match people up with jobs.

We are at a place now that we need to think about how to take advantage of this time to make a difference.  Maybe we are at the right place, at the right time to raise some awareness and get some more kids hired.

More to come.

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