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Special Report: Drilling Company Helps Veterans Move Forward

CanElson Drilling (US) Inc. on why they seek out veterans for employment
Midland -- Veterans Day is right around the corner. For those who have served, one of the hardest things many had to face was getting called overseas. For some, returning home is even harder. But one local drilling company is trying to make things a little easier.
       
The name of the company is CanElson Drilling (US) Inc. Although the guys that run the company are from Canada, they're proud to be operating in the U.S. and hiring our nation's veterans is one way they're giving back. But come to find out, it's a win-win for everyone involved.

CanElson Drilling started with one rig in 2008. It's since grown to over 35, many of which are located right here in the Permian Basin. "We currently have 10 rigs in the Basin. We just started our tenth rig up on the 13th of this month, and we'll have 11 by the end of January," said Ryan Hawkings, vice president of operations.

It's a company that's growing fast, in constant need of employees that will have what it takes to work long hours in harsh conditions. Someone that knows what it takes to keep themselves and those around them safe at all times. A job description that's second nature to those who've fought for our country. "If they can keep everybody else in their platoon safe then they can probably keep themselves safe on a drilling rig," said Hawkings.
   
While hiring vets is a clear benefit for CanElson, the true intent of hiring them has far more purpose. "The overriding factor is really to help the veterans," said Hawkings. "We've seen a lot of guys come back and they kind of say... what are we gonna do next?"
   
It's a scenario veteran Jeremy Roberts knows all too well. "I was in the Marine Corps. I went to Iraq in 2007. Spent 7 months there in Iraq. Came home. When I was getting out of the military probably applied to like 25 different jobs. Couldn't find one," said Roberts.
   
He eventually got a job working for the Texas Workforce Commission, which led him to CanElson who was actively seeking veterans for employment. Roberts was a perfect fit for more reason than just working on a rig.

"We enticed him to come work for us and help us to do a better job tracking guys down and find good candidates," recalled Hawkings.
   
To date, CanElson has hired roughly 40 vets.
 
For Roberts, it's a job with more benefits than a paycheck. "You see the Vietnam era. That's their whole life. But that was only a small portion of their life, but it impacted their life tremendously," said Roberts. "For myself, that's a small chapter of my book. I've got a larger story to tell."
   
Now he wants to help others move on as well.  "If I can help someone else get over that portion of their life, to move on and not be stuck at 24-years-old... now they're 40-years-old and still living in the military, then I'm all for that because books need to be written and we don't need to be stuck on one chapter."

Coming up in next week's Energy Report, we'll meet a few veterans that have returned from fighting overseas and see how working for CanElson has helped them, as Roberts would say, move on to the next chapter in their life.
   
For more energy news, follow Mycah Glover on Facebook and Twitter.
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