In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, photo, a sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y.(AP Photo/Mike Groll)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knoxville Convention Center was full of hope for veterans Tuesday as thousands went booth to booth in search of a job.
It was the third annual Tennessee Veterans Business Association's job fair.
Nearly 200 companies showed up, some veterans themselves.
"If we don't take care of our people that we fought beside and was as close as family, then who will," said Randall Mitchell.
Mitchell created and runs Smoky Mountain Cheese. He recreates and sells the same cheese spread he made for his platoon when he was in the service. Now he exclusively hires vets, many disabled.
"We bring in more veterans, disabled veterans, give them an opportunity back in the civilian workforce. The same opportunity they all deserve," said Mitchell.
Giving people like army veteran Joshua Brown a new chance.
"It is hard to find a job. I mean, you get all of your education benefits, but a lot of the people who served after 9-11 didn't really get a chance to go to school at the end because we were deployed. So it does make it hard coming back," said Brown.
Organizers expect nearly 200 hires to be made from Tuesday's fair.