There are 68-thousand veterans in the Rochester area. A growing number are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these younger vets struggle to find work and pay the bills. They've got a guardian angel in Ralph Presciutti. The Commander of the American Legion Post in Greece is being honored as a veteran helping veterans.
Ralph Presciutti makes house calls. He's a match-maker. Presciutti connects veterans like Jared Gooze to the services they've earned and need. Ralph has to find them, because many vets don't ask for help.
"If you look at the military slogans: Army Strong, The Few, the Proud, the Marines. I mean that's what they're taught. You know we're strong, we're the few. You know we don't need help."
Jared served in the Marines and Army. He's an Information Technology Specialist and did a tour in Afghanistan. Despite that experience, Jared can't find a job because most require a college degree. He's married with two kids and the bills are piling up. "We've used up all the money in the savings account, we've got nothing in the checking account."
"So you gather the resources" Ralph says. "You put it all together and you find what's going to work in each individual situation."
Jared says Ralph has been doing a lot of things. "I've been getting phone calls non-stop since I've met him."
That's what happens when Ralph Presciutti is on your team. His sense of honor was born in the US Army in the 1980's. "It was a brotherhood like none other."
Ralph believes the line in the Soldier's Creed about never leaving a comrade behind applies to the volunteer work he does with veterans. "I do it as a veteran because I've been in the position of needing help myself."
Tom Targtaglia is Program Development Manager, Warrior Salute. "Ralph is one of those quiet champions for the veterans community who just does a ton of work. Nobody ever sees what he does behind the scenes and he does some incredible things."
Presciutti says it's very humbling. "So I've just made it my goal I will always give back. And I give back in a greater degree than that which I have received."
Jared is now enrolled at RIT. The job leads are picking up. And thanks to Ralph, Jared and his family have hope things are going to be OK.
Ralph Presciutti will be honored wednesday at the CDS Monarch Warrior Salute "Serve. Honor. Support." symposium. On that day our community will have an honest discussion about military sexual trauma and how we can help women and men locally.