This Veterans Day, as Americans pause to honor our Veterans in countless ceremonies across the United States, we remember the sacrifices of Veterans who have gone before us, thank those Veterans still in our midst, and exhort each other and our young to live up to their example of selfless service for the common good.
These Veterans served and then left the military: some served during wartime; some served until retirement; some have been home for decades; others are just coming home. We lose more and more of the heroes from World War II and the Korean War every day. Our patriots from Iraq and Afghanistan will carry the burden of this conflict with them for years to come.
John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
In Texas, there are many ways Texans can live by the words, "thank you for your service." Help Veterans find all the programs and services for which they might qualify at texas.gov/veterans. Pledge to hire Veterans at your business. Donate to the Fund for Veterans' Assistance when you renew your vehicle registration. You can express thanks and truly make a difference in the lives of those Veterans who are part of your everyday life: family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
With your help and the help of our elected officials, we will appreciate and honor those who have served and continue to serve.
A Veteran is a fellow citizen, a man or woman who at one significant point in his or her life, made out a blank check payable to the United States of America for any amount up to and including life itself.
I want to personally thank all Veterans for their service to our country and remind Texans that our Veterans deserve nothing less than to be honored on this day and all year.
Top Texas Veteran employers recognized by the Texas Veterans Commission
In anticipation of Veterans Day, the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) recognizes four businesses as leaders in hiring Texas Veterans with the 2013 TVC Veterans Employer of the Year Awards. The awards fall into four categories: Large Employer (251+ employees), Medium Employer (51-250 employees), Small Employer (50 or fewer employees) and Employer of Disabled Veterans.
"Hiring Veterans is just good business for both the Veterans and our company," said Mel Rodriguez, Personnel Manager for Locke Protective Services, the recipient of the Large Employer Award. "Our Veterans consistently display the qualities we are looking for such as leadership, accountability, loyalty, and teamwork. After their service to our country it is our honor to invite them into our family."
These companies seek a competitive edge by capitalizing on the unique skills, training and leadership experience of Texas Veterans, and Veteran-friendly employers are the key to Texas' success in getting our nation's heroes back into the workforce.
Large Employer (250+ Employees): Locke Protective Services
Medium Employer (51-250 Employees): Lackland Holdings, LLC
Small Employer (50 or fewer employees): Stewart & Stevenson LLC
Employer of Disabled Veterans: M1 Support Services
"These employers see Veterans as critical to their business's success," says Thomas Palladino, Executive Director of the Texas Veterans Commission. "The awards recognize those businesses' outstanding commitment to Veterans who have served our country with courage and honor."
TVC is currently helping Veterans prepare for the Second Annual Hiring Red, White & You! campaign by conducting workshops across the state. These workshops are designed to assist Veterans with applications, resume assistance, interviewing techniques, as well as one-on-one counseling services. The Hiring Red, White & You! job fairs will be hosted by 28 local workforce development board areas across Texas on November 14. For more information on this event, follow this link: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/vetsvcs/hiring-red-white-you.html
Austin nonprofit awarded for innovative Veterans program
On October 28, the Texas Veterans Commission presented the 3rd Annual Community Partnership Award to Hope for Heroes, a program at Samaritan Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling, at their 14th Annual Samaritan Golf Classic benefiting mental health programs for individuals and Veterans in Central Texas.
Through Hope for Heroes, Samaritan Center provides integrative mental health treatment to Texas Veterans in Central Texas, as well as hope and an opportunity for healing. The program, supported by a grant from the Fund for Veterans' Assistance (FVA), provides mental health treatment, integrative medicine and other supportive services like nontraditional therapies to address the emotional wounds of war for Veterans and military family members. These groundbreaking therapies include acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, and medical massage.
"Afraid of the impact it will have on their military career, Veterans fear the stigma associated with seeking services for mental health issues," says Nancy Blaich, CEO of Samaritan Center. "Hope for Heroes offers immediate help in a secure, confidential environment."
Since 2011, the Community Partnership Award has been awarded annually to recognize a FVA grantee for their meaningful contributions to the surrounding Texas Veteran community. These contributions are achieved through three program objectives: Service – the program has a unique solution to address an existing problem Veterans face; Community Partnerships – the organization is committed to working with others to benefit the surrounding Veteran community; and Impact – the program has successfully inspired and motivated others to act and support the surrounding Veteran community.
"We understand FVA grantees, like Samaritan Center, play an important role in making a significant difference in the lives of Texas Veterans," said Kathy Wood, FVA Director. "The Community Partnership Award is our way of acknowledging local programs that go above and beyond serving Texas Veterans."
The FVA supports Veteran-specific, community programs, like Hope for Heroes, throughout the state by providing over $29.9 million in assistance through 145 grants to 100 local government and non-profit organizations. With these funds, FVA grantees have served over 150,000 Texas Veterans and family members. Other programs funded by the FVA include housing assistance for homeless Veterans, short-term financial assistance, legal assistance, and family and child services.
Individuals can help continue the support of Texas Veterans programs by making a donation on their Texas Department of Motor Vehicles registration form by specifying an amount at the bottom right corner of the form. The FVA also receives funding from the proceeds of the $2 scratch-off lottery game, Veterans Cash, individual donations and the State Employee Charitable Campaign. Donations to the FVA are tax deductible under the provisions of Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
TVC wants you to stay informed! Follow these links to find up-to-date information about Veterans in Texas.
Did you know that you can show your support for the state's 1.6 million Veterans by purchasing the Texas Lottery's newest Veterans Cash scratch-off game? The proceeds benefit the Fund for Veterans' Assistance, which provides grants to local non-profit organizations and local governments that provide direct services to Texas Veterans and their families. Read more here. (Facebook) (Twitter)
Support Texas Veterans
Texas.gov, TVC and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) are making it easier than ever for Texans to support Texas Veterans. Learn more here. (Twitter)
Finding Work for Veterans
Texas has THREE cities out of the top five listed on the 2013 "Best Places for Veterans: Jobs" USAA report. Houston is number one, and Dallas is number two! See the full list here. (Facebook) (Twitter)
About the Texas Veterans Commission
The Texas Veterans Commission is a state agency committed to ensuring all Veterans within the state of Texas receive the maximum benefits earned as a result of their service to their country. We provide superior service to Veterans in the areas of claims assistance, employment services, education benefits and reimbursement grants that significantly improve the quality of life of Texas Veterans and their families.