By Guest Blogger, Greg Jenkins
There are more than 21 million military veterans in the U.S. What is it that propelled these men and women to serve in our uniformed military services? Many have been deployed around the world to stand guard or fight for us, our allies and our freedoms. Make no mistake; it is no small decision or obligation to sign up for what can be a life-altering experience; in fact, it’s a commitment like no other. What does it take to make this sacrifice?
It has been said:
“A military veteran is someone who, upon volunteering to serve, writes a blank check payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an unknown amount, but up to, and including, his or her life.” — Unknown
It takes great courage and selflessness to leave behind one’s family, loved ones and friends to deploy to a distant place under dangerous conditions to perform extraordinarily hard work, all the while offering up one’s health, wellbeing and possibly, one’s life, for another service member or citizen. But so many of our veterans have done just that.
A Diverse Military
Our military comprises amazing and brave people from all walks of life. They are our family members, neighbors down the street or from across town. They come from our counties, parishes, states, U.S. territories and from around the world. They are a diverse bunch from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, from education and socioeconomic levels to gender, race, geographical location, sexual orientation, color, ability, national origin, religion and many other dimensions of diversity.
Veterans Achieve Great Success
And yet, amazingly, they come together to serve on, and lead, successful, sustainable, high-performing diverse and inclusive teams. They are in many ways the embodiment of what it means to be an American. These men and women are unique in their willingness to serve something bigger than themselves. They work and live by high standards of excellence. Words like value, commitment, honor, duty, selfless service and loyalty have deep meaning for our veterans in ways many of us may never fully appreciate.
Veterans also have attained some of the highest positions our nation offers. Veterans can be found at all levels of success and achievement within our society throughout history.
You may even know some well-known Americans who you may not have realized were veterans:
- John F. Kennedy, 35thPresident of the USA, U.S. Navy
- George H. W. Bush, 41stPresident of the USA, U.S. Navy
- George Carlin, Comedian, U.S. Air Force
- Bea Arthur, Actress, U.S. Marine Corps
- Drew Carey, Comedian and game show host, U.S. Marine Corps
- Ann Dunwoody, First female four-star General, U.S. Army
- Ice-T, Rapper and actor, U.S. Army
- Eileen Collins, First women to command a space shuttle mission, U.S. Air Force
- Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist and political activist, Union Army Soldier
- Tony Bennett, Singer and performer, U.S. Army
- Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Senator, U.S. Army
And many, many more . . .
Each year, more than 200,000 veterans honorably complete their military service obligation and as citizens continue to serve in meaningful ways that benefit our communities and nation. They return to the workforce, run for political office, serve as community volunteers and leaders, start their own businesses, return to school to advance their education, and beyond. They are a well-trained, disciplined and motivated group of American professionals, but sometimes they can use our help as well, and here is where we have an opportunity to serve them.
Serving Those Who Served Us
We have a chance to serve veterans in a unique and positive way. We can invite veterans into our communities, schools, workforces, organizations and teams. We can help them learn our organizational culture, our methods of business and show them how we perform our tasks and support and live our organizational values. We can provide mentoring and coaching to veterans who are working hard to join our teams, and if we do those things well we’ll have helped to make our organizations better and will have enhanced the successful transition of many veterans.
The good news is you don’t have to be a veteran to serve as a veteran mentor, in fact, your civilian expertise, experiences and perspectives can help many veterans in the midst of their transition from military to civilian life.
For more information or to become a mentor to veterans, contact Greg at 573.205.2859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some additional on-line veteran mentoring programs you can sign up for to serve as a veteran mentor, all of them free to you, the veteran and their family members:
eMentor Program – https://www.ementorprogram.org/
American Corporate Partners – https://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program
Veterati – https://www.veterati.com/
I’m proud of all our veterans, and I’m forever grateful to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Their service and sacrifice allow us to enjoy our loved ones and our way of life. Thank you.
Guest Blogger, Greg Jenkins is a diversity and inclusion consultant, leader, facilitator, coach, mentor and small business owner dedicated to helping people and teams achieve higher levels of inclusive performance. Greg completed a successful 28+ year U.S. Army career that ranged from overseas duties in Germany, South Korea and combat duty in Iraq to include several stateside assignments culminating at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Greg is a life-long learner and passionate volunteer who actively mentors and coaches several U.S. military service members and veterans.