NM State Forestry Division’s Returning Heroes program puts veterans to work on forest projects that help protect watersheds, including the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed.
The Returning Heroes program began in 2013 as a pilot program. It was so successful that Gov. Susana Martinez sought state funding to expand it.
Now in its first full year, the program has 25 veterans trained and certified to work on forest-thinning projects, prescribed fires and wildfires. The crews learn to handle chain saws, fell trees correctly and to work within the structured incident command system used across the United States to respond to disasters ranging from wildfires to hurricanes.
Gov. Martinez and lawmakers approved more than $1.8 million in funding to maintain the program for two years.
The state says it is seeking other partnerships to find work for 4,000 unemployed veterans.
I am always glad to see our veterans get jobs when they return home and our discharged.