Growing up, I had a different concept of “veterans.” I took it to mean a group of men and women who fought in one of America’s wars and were now back home. To me, these were men and women whose only job was to fight valiantly on the battlefields, and I didn’t consider what came next for them. Little did I know that I too would one day proudly wear the badge of “American Veteran.” And certainly, I never dreamed that “what came next” for me would be a career in the water utility industry.
Along with the rest of the country, Veterans Day is a time for me to be grateful for the commitments and sacrifices made by my peers who came before me, served with me, and continue to serve to protect the opportunities, rights and freedoms that define our lives as Americans. But it is also a time for me to reflect on the many ways veterans continue to serve our country after retiring from the military. These men and women are hard at work every day repairing our infrastructure, engineering the latest technologies, curing illnesses, educating our youth, leading our communities—and fulfilling countless other roles vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of our country.
In fact, if you look at most employers, I’m sure you’ll find at least one veteran in the ranks. Having the experience myself, I’ve always had a special appreciation for the values, skills, team focus and work ethic that come with being a member of the military. So, you can imagine how enthusiastically I support American Water’s robust programs to employ vets, as well as active members of the Guard and Reserve.
As an “insider” on the veterans’ scene, I can tell you unequivocally that the military teaches us about the values of teamwork, trust, and integrity in performance, as well as the importance of leadership, rewards and recognition, and so much more. There is no greater honor than serving your country, and I am so proud to work alongside others, both military and civilian, who share those values and have a passion to keep life flowing for the customers we serve now.
I appreciate your positive comments about ex military employees, but as a retired Missouri American employee, I still struggle with my time being deployed counting against my retirement seniority.