DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - David Padilla, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Iraqi war and a business student at Mercy College, visited the White House last week and was introduced to President Barack Obama.
Padilla, a graduate student (2012 and 2015) supported by the G.I. Bill, made the appearance at an event announcing hiring commitments to veterans and their spouses. The program is part of Obama’s challenge to American companies to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by 2013.
"My time in the Navy taught me invaluable skills, but when I came home applied to countless jobs, but nothing ever materialized," Padilla said in his introductory remarks. "With the help of the G.I. Bill enrolled Mercy College and earned a (bachelor's degree) in finance."
Padilla, who lives in the Bronx, was unemployed for more than two years until he received an opportunity from United Parcel Service and assistance from the Paralyzed Veterans of America and its Paving Access for Veterans Employment program. The Navy veteran now supervises 75 drivers and deliveries at UPS.
Padilla served in the U.S. Navy as an operations specialist second-class petty officer in two deployment as a database manager in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and later as an air controller and watch supervisor on an AFRICOM partnership for countries such as Kenya and the Congo.
After noting his education at Mercy, Obama thanked Padilla for his service.
“David, thank you so much for your introduction and sharing your story, but most importantly, thanks for your extraordinary service to our nation," Obama said. "We are very, very proud of you.”
Padilla is pursuing his Masters of Business Administration and is expected to graduate in 2015. He is scheduled to address Mercy College’s annual Trustees’ Scholarship Dinner on Thursday.
View the White House video of Padilla's visit and scroll to 13:07 on the timeline to see Padilla's remarks.
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