My father was a paratrooper who made perilous jumps behind enemy lines in Korea. This is something he rarely discussed—except to correct my history book’s description of his service as “police action”. He and many others served with little public recognition. My father buried this slight and got busy working in Akron’s then thriving rubber industry when he returned from war. Economic opportunities gave him a clear path to create a life that, close to his death, he proudly lived “without regrets”.
I often think about my father’s experience and how a job made all of the difference for him (and eventually our family). This is why I am so proud of our members’ commitment to employing veterans and in some cases, helping with their transition back to civilian life after service.
Hiring veterans makes good business sense. Our member companies recognize that returning veterans have skills that translate domestically from driving delivery trucks to supervising warehouse operations. Military training builds leadership skills that are essential in fast paced work environments which demand quick thinking, problem-solving and team building.
In seeking out veterans to fill key positions, companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper Snapple find that these new hires have a strong “mission focus” and are natural collaborators. Skillset and mindset make veterans natural leaders. They are always looking for ways to hire more vets.
Aside from job opportunities, Dr Pepper Snapple has a unique partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) on a transition back to civilian life program. The “True Heroes” program gives away mortgage free homes to military families, including a recipient in Marysville, Ohio. Talk about a meaningful Welcome Home gift!
Another program turns cans into cash. PepsiCo has recycling programs throughout the country and some of the proceeds from recycling cans and bottles fund the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV). The program, featuring world-class business instructors, trains disabled vets for small business launches.
Recognizing talent and grit, the Coca-Cola Foundation works with the National Recreation and Park Association to employ vets as fitness instructors in parks and recreation centers. This program leverages military training for community fitness.
Recognizing our returning troops, putting their talents and training to work and connecting them to community benefits all of us. My dad always said his secret to success was “show up on time, work hard and always do more than is expected of you”. The Army taught him that. Thanks Dad and thanks to all of our veterans for your service and incredible work ethic.