HOUSTON — An out-of-work Army veteran desperate for a hospital job begged for an opportunity by holding a sign outside Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.
Staff Sergeant Lajon Elliott wants work.
“I’m more than qualified,” he said.
The Army certified, registered and trained the reservist for 17 years to be a respiratory therapist.
However, hospitals looking for such therapists overlook Elliott. In three years, he’s had one interview and no job offers. He suffered a stroke last February.
“I’m not sure what’s happening but I would like to know,” SSgt. Elliott said.
So he wore fatigues and boots and stood outside the hospital that saved his life. Elliott stayed there for hours hoping to be seen and perhaps hired.
“I’ve kept coming back and coming back and this is the last straw,” SSgt. Elliott said.
Two places Elliott applied sent statements to KHOU 11 News.
A spokesperson for MD Anderson said hospital employees cannot comment on employment actions specific to Elliott or any other person.
“However, recruiting and retaining veterans is important to MD Anderson, as U.S. service members have valuable attributes, such as leadership, dependability, teamwork and problem-solving skills,” the spokesperson said. “We currently employ nearly 500 individuals who have identified themselves as veterans, active duty service members, National Guard members or reservists. MD Anderson has earned a reputation as a welcoming workplace for veterans, and we continue to improve efforts to become a veterans’ employer of choice in health care.”
A Memorial Hermann spokesperson also said she could not talk specifically about Elliott’s status.
“Memorial Hermann Health System provides equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, U.S. military service, or any other characteristic protected by law,” the spokesperson said.
“Memorial Hermann currently employs many U.S. military veterans. In a three-year period, from 2012 to 2015, we hired nearly 1,000 veterans, and the System is proud to celebrate our employees' service to our country. In fact, the current installation in Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center’s Rick Smith Gallery, “A Call to Serve,” features portraits and testimonials of Memorial Hermann employees who have also served in the U.S. military. The installation was also recently highlighted in an Everyday Well blog.”
Elliott only hopes some hospital finds room on its staff for him. He told KHOU 11 News he’s prepared to stand outside the hospital everyday until it happens.