WVU CED Employment Services Veterans Day Worker Spotlight

Veteran resources, statistics, and a spotlight on disabled veteran Dave Burgess

Thursday, November 9, 2023

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” – George Washington

The WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVU CED) would like to thank and honor those who have served and sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.

While we value their service in protecting the nation, we must also remember the value of our veterans, with or without disabilities, who continue to strengthen our country and its economy as essential members of the workforce.

Learn more about how the WVU CED’s Employment Services can help West Virginians with disabilities find employment: https://cedwvu.org/employment-services/


“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our Heroes and She-roes!” – Maya Angelou

Veterans are “Good for Business”

Veterans tend to bring a strong and unique set of skills to their jobs, including:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Diversity
  • Time management
  • Adherence to safety standards
  • Planning and organizing
  • Stress management
  • Ability to adapt
  • Respect for policies and procedures
  • Loyalty
  • Technical knowledge


“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” – José Narosky

Disabled American Veterans Facts:

  • There are over 21 million veterans living in the United States. Over 6 million have a disability (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • West Virginia has a veteran population of 159,448, with 39,489 reporting a disability. Approximately 99,000 West Virginia veterans served during the Vietnam War or the Gulf War (USAFacts.org).
  • In 2022, data showed that 8.5% of West Virginia’s adult population were veterans, which is significantly higher than the national average of 6.8% (Housing Assistance Council).
  • The West Virginia counties of Monroe, Ritchie, Wirt, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Taylor, Hancock and Lewis have the highest percentage of veterans living in the state, with 8.80 – 9.62% of the adult population identifying as veterans (Housing Assistance Council).
  • Two federal laws vital to veterans in the workplace are the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Related Links and Sources:


“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan

November Worker Spotlight: Dave Burgess

A middle-aged man wearing a blue hat and dark-colored clothes smiles at the camera.

In honor of Veterans Day, CED Employment Services is beginning our new Worker Spotlight series by featuring West Virginia veteran Technical Sergeant (retired) Dave Burgess.

Hailing from Saint Albans, West Virginia, Dave served for over twenty years in the U.S. Air Force. Dave’s time in the Air Force included deployments and service in Italy, Turkey, Germany and England. With a hearty chuckle, Dave states that his favorite memories of being stationed in England include medieval-themed banquets with jousting and food fights.

Dave’s duties included responsibilities in Bosnia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Northern Watch, and Operation Provide Comfort (all phases), an effort to defend Kurdish refugees in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

After retiring from the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Burgess continued his commitment to the armed forces by serving as an Air Force recruiter and as a Local Veteran Employment Representative for the state of West Virginia.

Dave says he had a strong desire to continue to help his country and be productive after retiring from the military. The short period of time spent between his retirement and beginning work in the civilian world taught Dave that he “couldn’t stand the feeling of not being useful. Maybe I’m old-fashioned,” he continued, “but I need to work. I need to contribute.”

To other veterans with disabilities seeking employment, Dave offers this advice: “Don’t give up. There is a job out there for you. Don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons and be open to jobs you may have never thought about.”

Mr. Burgess continues to serve his country in his current position at a U.S. federal agency. He resides in Morgantown, West Virginia with his wife and son.