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Treat Our Veterans Right

Posted on   November 11, 2014 2:44 pm by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

VA Van Image“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive how the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

This quote has been attributed to George Washington. The Mt Vernon Library cannot confirm this. Too bad. It’s an outstanding, thoughtful and forward-looking statement about valuing those who have served.

I saw this quote one day while sitting in traffic in West Chester. It was printed on the back of a shuttle bus from Coatesville VA Medical Center, our local VA hospital.

The saying grabbed my attention. It spoke to me, and I hope to all who read it, about what it means to honor fully those who were willing to fight for us…and how we act says about us as a country and a people. And what it says about our willingness to serve in the future.

At Transwall we are lucky. We are close to the Coatesville VA Medical Center. Many years ago our HR Director made a strong connection there. We are fortunate to continue to count the outstanding vets and staff as good friends.

Our business is project-oriented so level-loading our manufacturing facility is no easy task. We adapt and adjust based on volume, product mix, and lead-time requirements.
Finding high quality individuals who can flex according to the needs of Transwall and our clients had been tough.

Then we met the folks at the VA.

Since 2003 we have employed dozens and dozens of recovering vets on a flexible basis in our manufacturing facility. Mostly they’re working through the final stages of their rehabilitation program.

It has been an outstanding and rewarding experience for all of us. Our vets came with experience ranging from tank mechanics to NASA/Air Force scientist (yes, rocket scientists) As you surely suspect, they bring with them a bundle of talents and experiences combined with a desire to get back on their feet and into the workforce.

The goal of the VA program is to provide a transition from residency at the hospital to independent living. Vets in the program have used the dollars earned here and elsewhere to save up for security deposits on apartments and cars, and for all the other things it takes to resume a normal life.

We have been fortunate enough to be able to bring some of them on board in a full-time capacity. They’re valuable additions to our team, for both their skills and the energy they bring.

I was pleased as I watched the VA’s new Secretary, Robert McDonald, being interviewed on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. He brings an interesting background to the job: CEO of Proctor and Gamble; Captain, US Army, 82nd Airborne; West Point graduate..

If you saw that interview, I hope you came away with the same impression I was left with: there is finally someone in that seat who gives a damn and has the character, experience, and training to truly shake things up. I expect McDonald to fix the VA problems we’ve all heard about and enable us to fulfill the statement of President Washington, or whomever made the statement; valuing our veterans with exceptional treatment and appreciation.

It is long overdue.

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